Mark Binker did a lengthy story on the US Senate race and what impact the immigration issue could have on it over the weekend.
The thrust of it was that it was an issue that would help Elizabeth Dole. And the recent poll we did matching up Dole and state senator Kay Hagan backs that up.
Of those who said immigration was their top issue, 79% said they supported Dole and just 9% said they supported Hagan. When we polled Jim Neal vs. Hagan we didn't ask respondents what their top issue was so I don't have data for that but will try to remember to include it next time.
The thing is, only 10% of the respondents to our poll said immigration was their top issue. In addition to the war in Iraq, other issues out polling immigration as a first choice were economy and jobs, moral and family values, and health care.
Dole had a huge advantage among respondents concerned with taxes, moral and family values, and immigration. Hagan had a large lead from those who listed education and health care as their top issues.
Where the differences in support tightened between Dole and Hagan were on the two issues that respondents said were most important- the war in Iraq and the economy and jobs. Dole had a six point lead on the former issue while Hagan had a nine point lead on the latter issue.
The immigration folks are the loudest and they're probably also the most intractable- respondents stating immigration as their top issue had the lowest level of indecision about who they would support in the Senate race- but the majority of folks doing our last poll said that Iraq or the economy was their top issue. Hagan's best chance will come if she can convince the voters she's the better candidate on those bread and butter issues.