Zuckerberg Hires ‘Gang of Eight’ Pollsters To Skew DACA Amnesty Polls

AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

Mark Zuckerberg’s deputies have rehired the pollsters behind the 2014 “Gang of Eight” electoral disaster to help persuade politicians that support for the 2017 DACA amnesty will not be a career-ending decision.

The pollsters’ “optimized messaging” advice proved catastrophic to many politicians in 2014, including five defeated Democratic Senators plus the GOP’s House Majority Leader, Rep. Eric Cantor, who lost his Virginia primary. The amnesty-boosting advice was also catastrophic for Sen. Marco Rubio, and for Sen. Chuck Schumer, who lost the five Democrats and four more open seats held by retiring Democrats. That loss of nine seats cost Schumer the opportunity to be the Senate’s Majority leader for President Barack Obama’s last two years and President Donald Trump’s first two years.

Because of the 2014 amnesty fiasco, many politicians — and a New York real-estate developer — realized that most Americans want to like immigrants but they also strongly oppose big uncontrolled amnesties which allow companies to unfairly hire cheap labor and to sideline Americans and their growing children. Pollster Kellyanne Conway recognized the combination of decency and anger, and she used that knowledge to help Donald Trump bulldoze the GOP and Democratic establishments in 2016.

This year, the pollsters have only persuaded credulous liberal reporters who are eager to believe that Americans welcome more crime and civic conflict,  lower wages, fewer college slots, and fewer taxpayer dollars.

Politicians, however, face elections next November. So far, while some are repeating the poll-tested words, few politicians in contested districts say they’ll vote for the “DACA” amnesty which is quickly ballooning to include at least 3.3 million mostly unskilled ‘dreamers’ at the cost of at least $115 billion.

Neil Newhouse at Public Opinion Strategies was part of that 2014 disaster, and he is back with new polls which claim that 78 percent of GOP voters want an amnesty. He’s also arguing that Trump can persuade his voters to flip-flop on their most emotional issue, and to support a 2017 amnesty when they furiously opposed and defeated the 2014 amnesty.

That pro-amnesty message has been quietly delivered to Trump, who declared September 14, the day after Democrats claimed he agreed to endorse a no-wall amnesty for millions of younger illegals.  “We all feel, look, 92 percent of the people agree on DACA, but what we want is very, very powerful border security,” Trump said in an impromptu press conference in Florida.

But there is no bet-your-career evidence that the public will accept an amnesty from Trump, especially a record-sized amnesty, especially if the author of “The Art of the Deal” does not get bipartisan, court-approved and in-place protections against the next wave of wage-cutting legal and legal immigrants.

Newhouse’s client is FWD.us, which was formed by Zuckerberg and other billionaires to petition their government for the right to import more foreign workers whenever Americans ask for higher wages. In 2014, Newhouse was one of 10 pollsters hired by Mark Zuckerberg to promote the “Gang of Eight” amnesty-and-cheap-labor bill. Zuckerberg and his allies pushed the bill, in part, because it allowed universities to sell an unlimited number of green cards to foreign white-collar professionals, thus greatly increasing their supply of cheap college-graduates.

Zuckerberg’s lobby group, FWD.us, paid Newhouse and the other pollsters to execute a 2014 poll which was drafted to maximize the apparent public supported for the amnesty, and then paid the pollsters to tout the poll at a June 11 press conference.

That ill-timed date turned out to be the morning after Cantor’s shocking primary defeat by amnesty opponents.

Still, Newhouse and the other pollsters did their best to tout Zuckerberg’s poll, which loaded up the amnesty question with positive terms — pay back taxes, pass a background check, get to the back of the line, learn English, etc. — and it did get apparent majority approval.

When reporters asked the pollsters to explain how the Zuckerberg poll could be true given Cantor’s shock defeat, two of the pollsters suggested that their employer skewed the questions to ensure an apparent endorsement from the public.

“Given the information in the proposal we had to take a look at, this is the response we got from the American people,” admitted Dave Winston, president of The Winston Group.

“The way it is written … people think that’s not amnesty,” acknowledged Newhouse, who served as Gov. Mitt Romney’s pollster in 2012.

Newhouse stuck to the establishment script, saying Romney’s 2012 support from only “29 percent of the Hispanic vote just doesn’t cut it anymore, and if we expect to be able to win presidential elections at the national level, we have to make end goals with the Hispanics. This [amnesty] is the first step to opening the Hispanics up to the Republican message.”

Whit Ayres, president of North Star Opinion Research, was one of Zuckerberg’s pollsters, and he promised that he would share the good news about the amnesty’s apparent popularity with his other GOP clients. “Yes, I certainly am,” he said. One of those clients was Sen. Marco Rubio, who suffered a near-political-death experience at Trump’s hands in 2016 because he listened to Ayres and other pro-amnesty voices.

Zuckerberg’s deputy, and former GOP aide, Rob Jesmer, shrugged off Canter’s shocking defeat, claiming “the political vulnerability [for GOP candidates] is minimal if you go explain [the amnesty] to people.” In 2016, Jesmer worked for pro-immigration Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who was an early victim of Trump’s bulldozer.

The next day, June 12, FWD.us and its pollsters went back out on the streets, insisting that Cantor’s defeat was not caused by immigration.

With amnesty again being pushed by Democrats, Newhouse and FWD.us are back. On September 4, Newhouse tweeted an image from an “optimized messaging” survey in which he tested the best words to persuade Americans that a big, expensive amnesty is neither big nor expensive nor an amnesty.

The “optimized messaging” survey was apparently funded by FWD.us, according to a letter dated June 12 and released by FWD.us. The key, claim, according to the letter, is that:

Americans across the board support a pathway to citizenship. There is majority support, across party lines for an immigration proposal that allows undocumented immigrants who have passed a background check to earn legal status and eventually citizenship over a number of years. This proposal wins two-thirds support from Republicans.

The letter included a few pages of the surveys and revealed the loaded question, which did not provide numbers of migrants, their lack of skills and their average age of roughly 24.

The Newhouse pitch has repeatedly been tweeted by Todd Schulte, the head of Zuckerberg’s FWD.us advocacy group. Echoing Jesmer’s post-Cantor claim from 2014, Schulte tweeted:

The Newhouse survey was also supported by the Emerson Collection, an advocacy group founded by Steve Jobs’ widow. In a posting on the site, she writes that Americans just cannot do the job of being Americans anymore:

The United States has always relied upon immigration to refresh its prosperity and its politics – upon the energies and spirits and skills of the resilient and idealistic people who flock to these shores … [the DACA] children are among our greatest assets.

One of the other pollsters hired by Zuckerberg and Jobs is Kristen Soltis Anderson, a co-founder of Echelon Insights, which boasts of its expertise in “optimized messaging”:

Test engineer your messaging and discover the best way to engage your audience with Optimized Messaging. With our message testing and survey technology our clients get the scale and certainty of survey data with the texture and detail of a focus group.

In 2013, Anderson described the process as helping politicians learn how to sell the unpopular Gang of Eight legislation to voters at home. Politicians, she said, are “selling a product” to their own voters.

That ‘optimized message” survey is backed up by various push-polls from media sources. For example, Politico and Morning Consult conducted a September 2017 poll in which they asked 1976 registered voters:

When it comes to legislation regarding Dreamers, which of the following would you most like Congress to pass?

Legislation that allows Dreamers to stay and become citizens if they meet certain requirements?

Legislation that allows Dreamers to stay and become legal residents, but NOT citizens, if they meet certain requirements?

Legislation that removes or deports Dreamers from the United States?

Don’t Know / No Opinion

Fifty-four percent of all registered voters picked Option A, 19 percent picked Option B, 12 percent picked Option C and 15 percent declined to comment.

Those are good numbers for amnesty boosters, but the poll is skewed in several ways. It describes the younger illegals as “dreamers,” and it does not describe their numbers or costs. It gives respondents little opportunity to express their ambivalence, and no chance to combine an amnesty with other policy options, such as a border wall, employer sanctions or reduced legal immigration rates. It is also sharply different from polls taken when voters are willing to share their hidden preferences amid the normal social pressure to welcome migrants.

These revealing polls include:

In 2006 and 2007, before the economic crash, and during an economic boom and an improving war during which GOP partisans likely would have supported President George W. Bush, his poll ratings were stuck in low 30s in 2007 as he tried to revive his amnesty push.

President Barack Obama’s poll ratings crashed when his loose policies caused a rush for the border by Central American migrants. A July 2014 poll by Associated Press and GfK Public Affairs showed his strong support on immigration fell from 22 percent in May, to only 18 percent in July, while strong disapproval climbed from 43 percent to 57 percent.

In July 2014, as Obama’s lax enforcement prompted a flood of Central American youths and families to rush across the Texas border, a Fox News poll reported that 45 percent of registered voters said the “children” should be sent home “as soon as possible.” That 45 percent included 52 percent of independents, 63 percent of Republicans and 36 percent of Hispanics.

A September 2016 poll by Ipsos, during the heat of Trump’s election campaign, showed that Trump’s promise to start “immediately deporting” illegals who have committed crimes got 75 percent “strong” and “somewhat” support, and only 7 percent strong opposition. Sixty-two percent supported and 13 percent strongly opposed “detaining or immediately deporting all people who enter the U.S. illegally.” The poll showed that only 12 percent strongly opposed plans to “change the legal immigration system to limit legal immigration.” Four times as many, or 57 percent, back reductions in legal immigration, while 13 percent did not take a position.

Kellyanne Conway’s polls succeeded because they ask people to weigh the relative importance of two good things – a welcome for migrants or jobs for Americans. Here’s the key result from an August 2014 survey where Conway explored Americans’ views about immigration, jobs, and fairness: “Overall, 77 percent of Conway’s likely-voter respondents said Americans should be favored [in job hiring decisions] over immigrants. That opinion was shared by 88 percent of Republicans, 79 percent of independents and 78 percent of moderates … 92 percent of Republicans, 81 percent of independents, 63 percent of Hispanics and 53 percent of liberals say the government has not done enough enforcement.”

The same two-good-things technique is being used by an immigration reform group, NumbersUSA, to gauge public support for the merit-immigration RAISE Act, which has been supported by Trump. The fairness polling data from several critical states matched the data from Michigan, which showed 61 percent of people “strongly” support “setting up rules to ensure that businesses give first preference for jobs to American workers and legal immigrants before asking for new immigrant workers.” Only 10 percent of respondents “somewhat” or “strongly” opposed that proposed rule. The Michigan poll also showed that 74 percent of people say “business should be required to try harder to recruit and train from groups with the highest unemployment,” while only 11 percent said, “government should continue to bring in new immigrants to compete for jobs.”

Good polls are easily available, but they are often ignored by company-funded pollsters, by party managers and are sometimes simply rejected by reporters.

Polls also show that many Americans are unwilling to reveal their true opinions. For example, a survey of 1,000 adults in mid-August by Rasmussen Reports showed that 80 percent of Republicans, 52 percent of Democrats and 68 percent of independents agreed “They have to be careful not to say something politically incorrect to avoid getting in trouble.”

Two careful academic surveys showed that 60 percent of whites quietly oppose all immigration.

In contrast, the various “optimized messaging” polls funded by Zuckerberg and Jobs are less predictive than push polls because they are designed to give politicians the language needed to fob off angry voters and to help advocates and journalists intimidate ambivalent ordinary voters into acceptance of the huge dream amnesty.

This voter ambivalence was highlighted in a recent article retweeted by Schulte.

The report, in a Canadian newspaper, the Toronto Star, described the response from pro-Trump voters to the news about Trump’s possible DACA amnesty-for-no-wall agreement with Democrats:

“I can live with it either way, to be perfectly honest with you,” said Carl Hobson, 78, who for months displayed a large Trump sign at his gas station in Maryland.

Hobson thinks Trump should be “damn tough” on illegal immigration, and he complains about tax money going toward services for illegal immigrants. But he said protecting the Dreamers is “the right thing to do.”

But the reporter grossly understated the size and cost of the deal, saying would provide work-permits for 690,000 “dreamers.” In fact, the amnesty could welcome 3.3 million illegals, bring in several million additional migrants via chain migration, and also cost Americans at least $115 billion over ten years in Obamacare grants.

So Breitbart News called Hobson, who quickly said he favors some political trade before granting green cards to the illegals. Trump “has got to make the best deal he can … I’d like to see a good tax deal passed, maybe on healthcare.” he said. But once the scale and cost of the amnesty were described to him, Hobson shifted towards opposition, saying:

I’m not for that … They should not have any welfare programs or anything that is compensatory … If [Democrats] want all these other fringe benefits to go along with immigration, I would say no … illegal immigration has to be halted, no matter what. You can’t have people coming in the country, a lot of drugs coming into the country.

Hobson added that he “definitely” supports the border wall.

Schulte also touted a recent article in the Los Angeles Times, headlined “Dealing with Democrats? Protecting ‘Dreamers’? Here in Arizona, that’s just fine with these Trump supporters.”

The article quoted a locksmith in Chandler, Arizona, saying:

To Steve Feld, it makes no sense to deport young immigrants smuggled into the U.S. by their parents. ”You can’t send them back if they grew up here,” the 60-year-old locksmith said on his way to buy a birthday gift for his grandson at a Target [store] in Mesa. “That’s not fair.”

But Feld protested the quote in a conversation with Breitbart News, saying:

No, I’m all for sending everyone back who is actually from another country, if it safe for them to be there and to help spread our way of life … We’ve got plenty of problems with overcrowding and dividing culture.

When talking with the Los Angeles Times reporter, Feld said the two did not talk about costs or even the number of migrants who could get amnesty. “We never did establish what groups are part of DACA … I’d say 350,000 or more.” In fact, the Democrats’ “dreamer” amnesty would cover at least 3.6 million migrants, not counting any subsequent family chain-migration.

Back in June 2014, when pollster Newhouse was trying to sell the Zuckerberg’s pro-Gang-of-Eight poll, he was put on the spot by a reporter who asked him how his poll could be compatible with the actual results of Eric Cantor’s career-ending primary the previous evening.  The lesson, Newhouse admitted, is that politicians should be “going home and listening to what the voters have to say.”

But this time is different, say Newhouse and Schulte.

“Trump’s voters are not going to leave him … I’ve never seen voters so loyal to a guy,” Newhouse told Breitbart News. 

Schulte declined to release Newhouse’s full survey, and argued that the defeat of amnesty supporters in 2014 “was not a referendum one way or the other on immigration.” He told Breitbart News:

Very few voters are interested in deporting a majority or as many as possible of the 11 million [illegal immigrants]. Today, our polling shows that 71 percent of Trump voters and 71 percent of Republicans support giving ‘Dreamers’ … the ability to stay and earn citizenship …

[The question of] should companies have to try to hire Americans first is a totally different question.

Business executives want the amnesty, the new customers, and the cheap workers, and really don’t want Congress to pass the popular, merit-immigration RAISE Act, so they have one message for GOP politicians:

Four million Americans turn 18 each year and begin looking for good jobs. However, the government imports roughly 1 million legal immigrants to compete against Americans for jobs.

The government also hands out almost 3 million short-term work permits to foreign workers. These permits include roughly 330,000 one-year OPT permits for foreign graduates of U.S. colleges, roughly 200,000 three-year H-1B visas for foreign white-collar professionals, and 400,000 two-year permits to DACA illegals.

That Washington-imposed policy of mass-immigration floods the market with foreign laborspikes profits and Wall Street values by cutting salaries for manual and skilled labor offered by blue-collar and white-collar employees. It also drives up real estate priceswidens wealth-gaps, reduces high-tech investment, increases state and local tax burdens, hurts kids’ schools and college education, pushes Americans away from high-tech careers, and sidelines at least 5 million marginalized Americans and their families, including many who are now struggling with opioid addictions.

Amid the huge inflow of new workers, wages for men have remained flat since 1973, and the percentage of working Americans has declined steadily for the last few decades:





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