Analysis of U.S. House of Representatives Elections Shows Neutral Effect of Immigration Positions for GOP Candidates

Study on 2014 Competitive Races Demonstrates Republicans Are not Hurt by a Less Restrictive Position, Are not Helped by a More Restrictive Position

November 1, 2016


WASHINGTON, D.C.–The Hispanic Leadership Fund (HLF), a nonpartisan advocacy organization that promotes individual liberty, opportunity, and prosperity, today announced the release of a report that demonstrates that Republicans running for Congress are neither helped by more restrictive immigration positions nor hurt by less restrictive immigration positions.

The report, titled “Fear Not,” offers data to support this finding by focusing on sixty-six U.S. House races during the 2014 midterm elections that were officially rated “competitive” by the Cook Political Report. The analysis catalogued and quantified candidate immigration positions in each of those sixty-six U.S. House races on an eight-point scale that measures restrictiveness of immigration positions taken by the candidates.

“The analysis demonstrates that there are little consequences towards a candidate’s election chances based on their stance on immigration.” said Mario H. Lopez, President of the Hispanic Leadership Fund.  “Despite the shrill voices telling them otherwise, Republicans have no need to fear adopting a reasonable immigration position that actually solves the problem—strong border security, reform of the bureaucratic legal system, and a tough but fair process for dealing with those currently here.”

The report shows the following:

  • In 2014, Republicans won a strong majority of competitive House seats their candidate held a “compromise” position on immigration (43 out of 66 races, 65%).
  • A total of 56 Republican candidates held positions ranging from N1-N5. Of these, 34 won (61%)
  • In several polls taken during the 2014 election (and exit polls after), a majority of voters responded by saying healthcare and the economy were the top issues that would determining their vote while immigration was on the bottom of their priority list.
  • Historically the President’s party loses U.S. House seats during mid-term elections. That trend continued in 2014.

The complete report can be found here (PDF):