Landrieu may take some comfort in a Public Policy Polling survey released in June purporting to show that a majority of Louisiana voters support the Senate immigration bill. However, critics suggest that the poll, and others like it, merely parrot the Gang of Eight’s talking points — gauging support for a bill the poll says “would secure our borders, block employers from hiring undocumented immigrants and make sure that undocumented immigrants already in the U.S. with no criminal record register for legal status,” and ultimately offer citizenship “if a long list of requirements is met over more than a decade.”
In order to win a fourth term, Landrieu will need all the help she can get. Midterm elections generally favor Republicans, particularly when a Democrat is in the White House. President Obama won’t be on the ballot this time to help drive black voter turnout in New Orleans, as he did when Landrieu won in 2008. And approval from Louisiana’s Hispanic population, which makes up less than 5 percent of the state, is unlikely to boost her numbers.
Landrieu’s opponents acknowledge that she is a strong campaigner and has survived close elections before; she has deep roots in the state and belongs to a popular political family (her brother Mitch is currently mayor of New Orleans). If her support for the Gang of Eight knocks even one to two points off of her vote total, though, she could be in trouble against GOP challenger Representative Bill Cassidy, who opposes the Senate bill.
The same is true of Senators Kay Hagan (N.C.), Mark Pryor (Ark.), and Mark Begich (Alaska) — all prime Republican targets in 2014. Supporting the Gang’s bill is unlikely to help them in their respective states, all of which voted for Romney. And if all of them are defeated, then Republicans will have almost certainly retake control of the Senate. And if that happens, Chuck Schumer’s impressive feat — getting every Democrat to support immigration reform — may look like a comprehensive mistake.
— Andrew Stiles is a political reporter for National Review Online.