A new study by the group America’s Voice has found that politicians who relied on harsh immigration ads as a campaign strategy lost to candidates who either advocated comprehensive immigration reform or who did not talk about the issue.
The study–titled “Anti-Immigration Ads Don’t Add Up in 2008“–found that the use of immigration as a wedge issue in the 2008 campaign was a failure. The study found that $27.2 million was spent on ads pertaining by immigration in 79 federal races and campaigns in 35 states, including Michigan. This money produced 234 immigration-related ads, of which 84% either advocated “enforcement-only” or harsh anti-immigration positions. Only 5% of ads advocated comprehensive immigration reform.
The report finds that Republicans were largely responsible for the harshest ads–running 85% of them–yet only 21% of those ads were placed by winning Republicans and their allies. The study also finds that Republican infighting over immigration often led to depleted resources for general election campaigns.