Rasmussen: Swing Voters Oppose 2:1 the Universities’ OPT Jobs Giveaway

AP Photo/Jeff Chiu
AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

A Rasmussen poll shows two-to-one public opposition among swing voters to the universities’ little known Optional Practical Training (OPT) program, which quietly puts 500,000 foreign graduates into the starter jobs needed by American graduates each year.

Fifty-two percent of likely voters who are neither Republicans nor Democrats oppose the program, while just 28 percent endorse the visa-worker program. Sixty-four percent of Republicans oppose the program, and only 25 percent support the giveaway, says the June-to-July poll of 1,810 likely voters by Rasmussen Reports.

The OPT program is little-known because it gets little coverage from white collar reporters in the established media. It gets little coverage because it annually provides Fortune 500 companies with up to 500,000 cheap, compliant, and legally unprotected white collar workers, many of whom work for Indian-run, gig worker subcontractors.

University executives support the program because it provides them with roughly $40 billion in foreigners’ tuition fees each year. Many left wing academics support the OPT program — and its sister Curricular Practical Training program — while it pushes their diverse American students out of hundreds of thousands of jobs each year.

Rasmussen asked: “Should the federal government continue a program known as O.P.T. that gives tax incentives to hire foreign students who graduate from U.S. schools, or should the government end the program to ensure that the four million Americans graduating from college this year get the first shot at jobs?”

The jobs giveaway program got its strongest support from pro-migration liberals and Democrats. Liberals split 47 percent for vs. 28 percent against, while Democrats split 44 percent for vs. 34 percent against. Yet 25 percent of liberals and 21 percent of Democrats dodged the question by saying, “Not sure.”

College voters oppose the program 47 percent to 35 percent, giving Trump an opportunity to improve his lagging support among college graduates. Blacks with college degrees oppose the program 52 percent to 30 percent. Suburban voters oppose the program 61 percent to 33 percent, while urban voters support the program by 42 percent to 40 percent.

The strongest opposition comes from conservative women in suburbia who oppose the program by 75 percent to 18 percent. Self-described “moderate” women in suburbia oppose the program by 48 percent to 29 percent.

On June 22, President Donald Trump announced he would temporarily block some of the legal pipelines which deliver foreign contract workers straight into Fortune 500 jobs. Trump also directed his agencies to rewrite regulations for several pipelines, including the H-1B pipeline.

Trump suspended plans to overhaul the OPT program amid furious opposition from university groups. “What’s really driving them is the moolah – that’s their big interest,” said Ken Cuccinelli, the acting deputy secretary of homeland defense.

Trump may approve an OPT overhaul, in part, because the unpopular wealth-transfer program was created by White House officials in prior administrations, not by Congress. On July 10, for example, Trump called for an investigation into the universities’ tax-exempt status.

OPT “is another example of our immigration system being used to undermine opportunities for American graduates,” said Kevin Lynn, founder of U.S. Tech Workers. “This is why Trump won in 2016, and what’s gotten him in trouble is that he is not doing what he promised to do in 2016,” he said.

Trump should announce that he will stop awarding OPT work permits in 2021. “It came into being with an executive fiat — and it can go out with an executive fiat,” he said. “He will win broad support in the ballot box if he stops these programs which discriminate against Americans,” Lynn said.

The Rasmussen poll on the OPT pipeline exposed a deep gap between suburban white liberals women and local college graduates. White liberal women support the OPT program by 45 percent to 38 percent, while black college graduates oppose the program by 30 percent to 52 percent. That’s a 15-point gap. But 30 percent of the white liberal women declined to pick a side, suggesting they may oppose the program once they learn more about the loss to the graduates they know.

Liberals support the OPT program by 47 percent to 28 percent — but Hispanics oppose the OPT program by 50 percent to 38 percent, and blacks oppose the program by 46 percent 36 percent.

Rasmussen’s OPT responses should not be a surprise.

Many polls — notably a Washington Post poll — show voters strongly prefer policies that pressure companies to hire Americans, even as they also tell pollsters that they want to welcome migrants. In contrast, business groups fund polls that push people to agree with the Cold War claim that the United States is a “Nation of Immigrants” instead of a nation of Americans.

This apparent inconsistency is perfectly decent. Americans feel pressure to live up to the claim that the United States is a “Nation of Immigrants,” and they generally welcome migrants. Still, the polls that probe deeper show Americans strongly favor politicians who help them and their communities get jobs.

Kellyanne Conway spotted that polling tension in 2014 — and it was the key to Trump’s victory in 2016.

The survey likely understated opposition to the OPT program. For example, the survey did not tell voters any details about the little-known OPT program, which provides 500,000 foreign graduates with work permits each year. The OPT program does the most damage to the young people who lose essential first rung jobs in the Fortune 400 to foreign migrants — yet the survey showed that voters younger than 40 opposed the program by just 42 percent to 40 percent.


Follow Neil Munro on Twitter @NeilMunroDC, or email the author at NMunro@Breitbart.com.



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