Idahoans are opposed to taking in more refugees from the Middle East and overwhelmingly supportive of congressional term limits, a recent poll says.
The poll found 78 percent support for 12-year congressional limits, with 18 percent opposed and 4 percent undecided. The poll also found 55 percent of Idahoans oppose accepting more Middle Eastern refugees, with 42 percent in favor and 2 percent undecided. Respondents were more divided on whether they think more restrictive immigration policies of the type supported by President Donald Trump will help or hurt the state's economy — 45 percent said help, 41 percent hurt, 14 percent didn't know.
Salt Lake City-based pollsters Dan Jones and Associates polled 628 Idahoans on behalf of Idaho Politics Weekly between Feb. 16 and 28. The poll has a 4 percent margin of error.
U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador, who represents Idaho's First Congressional District, has introduced a proposal for a constitutional amendment to impose 12-year term limits on Congress. While support for term limits is strongest on the right, the poll found super-majority support in every political demographic. Eighty-one percent of Republicans, 82 percent of independents and 66 percent of Democrats support the idea. By philosophy, 88 percent of people who consider themselves very conservative, 83 percent of the somewhat conservative, 75 percent of moderates, 69 percent of somewhat liberals and 63 percent of very liberals support the idea.
Term limits are a perennially popular idea with voters — other polls in recent years have shown similar levels of support as this one — but they haven't gotten as far with the lawmakers who would be limiting their own careers by approving them.
When the Republicans took control of Congress in 1994 part of the "Contract With America" many of them ran on was 12-year term limits, but the idea never went anywhere once they were in power. Some states tried to term-limit their members of Congress at the same time, but those efforts were voided in court. At the state level, Idaho voters approved term limits for state lawmakers in 1994 and in a few election thereafter, but the state Legislature voted to repeal them in 2002 over then-Gov. Dirk Kempthorne's veto.
Idahoans are much more divided by political philosophy when it comes to immigration-related issues. Seventy-four percent of Republicans oppose taking in more refugees from the Middle East, while 77 percent of Democrats favor taking in more. Fifty-three percent of independents oppose taking in more Middle Eastern refugees while 45 percent favor taking in more. Sixty percent of Republicans say Trump's immigration policies will help Idaho's economy, while 79 percent of Democrats say they will hurt and independents are almost equally split, with 44 percent saying Trump's immigration policies will hurt and 42 percent saying they will help.
Idaho Politics Weekly broke down the results on taking in Middle Eastern refugees by religion as well, and found people who say they aren't religious favor taking them in by 57-42. Born-again Christian oppose taking in any more by 71-27, while Catholics are opposed 62-39 and Mormons 54-42. Mainline Protestants are slightly supportive of taking in more refugees by 51-46.