A post-election survey found that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R-VA) support for amnesty legislation influenced a majority of voters who ousted him last week in Virginia’s seventh congressional district primary that blindsided the mainstream media and rocked establishment Washington.
A Silver Bullet survey found that 52% of primary voters said that Cantor’s position on immigration was either the “main reason” they voted for his opponent Rep. David Brat (R-VA) or had a “significant part” in influencing their vote.
In addition, Tea Party voters, who made up 55% of the electorate, powered Dave Brat to the shocking upset. The Silver Bullet survey found that Brat won 71% of Tea Party voters while losing among “those who oppose the Tea Party or who have no opinion about it.”
Many Tea Party and conservative voters, who were also upset with George W. Bush’s expansion of the federal government, do not think of themselves as belonging to a party, and 24% of the electorate said they were “unaffiliated.” Brat got 71% of those voters, while Cantor received 29%. Republicans made up 70% of the electorate, and Cantor received 51% of those voters to Brat’s 49%.
Critics like Jeb Bush adviser Mike Murphy have falsely asserted that immigration did not play a significant role in Cantor’s loss and have even suggested that Democrats may have powered Brat to the victory. The survey proved Murphy wrong. It found that since “Democrats made up just 3% of the electorate… it is not possible that they were a driving factor in the results.”
Furthermore, “26% of voters changed from Cantor to Brat in the final two weeks,” which was when Brat, with the help of conservative talk radio hosts Laura Ingraham and Mark Levin, hammered Cantor for supporting amnesty.
During those two weeks, illegal immigrant children started to flood across the border, and outlets like Breitbart News relentlessly reported on such children who were being warehoused in Texas and sent to other states and military bases. That magnified the issue even more in the race.
According to the poll, 22% of Brat voters said immigration/amnesty was the primary reason they voted for him. Other issues that influenced Brat’s voters included: leadership (20%), government spending (23%), and privacy and government surveillance (2%). Thirty-three percent cited “other.”
As Breitbart News reported, Brat spoke about all of these issues, but he only got traction and started to surge in the race “when he centered his campaign around amnesty” in the final weeks. Brat tied amnesty to Cantor’s crony capitalism, saying that amnesty, as former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has been saying since 2011, represents the greatest divide between Wall Street elitists and Main Street.
During the last week of the campaign, the “We Deserve Better independent PAC launched a 30-second spot that warned voters in Cantor’s district that Cantor would cut a deal with Obama to give ‘amnesty and citizenship’ to illegal immigrants.”
Laura Ingraham, who hammered Cantor over the amnesty issue, campaigned for Brat during the final week of the campaign at a mid-week event which nearly 700 people attended. Breitbart News reporter Michael Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) was there, and he reported that Ingraham told attendees that President Barack Obama and House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) wanted Cantor to win the primary so they could partner with him on amnesty legislation after the primary.
“I have this crazy idea, as does Dave Brat, that coming to our country, respecting our way of life, our laws, is a condition precedent to your becoming an American citizen,” Ingraham said at the event. Cantor made things worse when he told a local television station on the Friday before the election that he would be willing to work with Obama to give citizenship to the children of illegal immigrants, which confirmed the attacks against him from Brat and his allies.
“But I have told the President there are some things that we can work on together,” Cantor said the Friday before the primary. “We can work on the border security bill together. We can work on things like the Kids.”
Brat also blamed Cantor for the border crisis, and emphasized that Cantor supports giving the children of illegal immigrants “amnesty and citizenship because he believes it is one of the ‘founding principles‘ of the country.” Brat called it “one of the most radical pro-amnesty statements ever delivered by a sitting representative.”
“Once you announced that kids are welcome, they’re going to head in,” Brat said on Breitbart News Sunday.
Brat also declared that Cantor’s support for amnesty was the “central policy issue in this race” in a Richmond Times-Dispatch op-ed the week before the primary.
“The central policy issue in this race has become Cantor’s absolute determination to pass an amnesty bill. Cantor is the No. 1 cheerleader in Congress for amnesty,” Brat wrote. “This is not the Republican way to fix our economy and labor markets.”
Brat also said that the primary was the “last chance” to stop amnesty legislation and emphasized that a vote for Cantor was a vote for “open borders.”
Silver Bullet conducted the survey on June 18, eight days after the June 10 primary, and its margin of error is +/- 3.4 percentage points.