As Rich pointed out, while immigration reform is often presented as an “absolute priority” on K Street and Capitol Hill, most voters don’t see it that way. In fact, according to that Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, voters are far more likely to say that reforming Medicare and Social Security should be an “absolute priority” in 2014 than they are to say that about immigration reform.
A majority of voters, 56 percent, said reforming the big entitlement programs — something typically viewed as a politically treacherous exercise – should be a priority this year, compared to 39 percent for immigration reform (which is slightly ahead of climate change, at 27 percent).
Of course, a major difference between the two issues is that opponents of entitlement reform are backed by an army of deep-pocketed interest groups and lobbyists (AARP et al.), while opponents of comprehensive immigration reform are not. Proponents of comprehensive reform have already spent millions lobbying for a bill, and plan to continue that effort in 2014.
Meanwhile, the media wonders if passing immigration reform will help a “struggling” GOP that has improved six points in congressional polling since the government shutdown in October, and currently holds a two-point edge over Democrats, 43 percent to 41 percent.