Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A new poll on Arizona

My attention was drawn in the UUA Facebook debate on boycotting Phoenix for 2012 to a new poll. The new poll says that support for the new law within Arizona is lower than reported by Rasmussen previously; 52% support overall, 56% of registered voters.

But more importantly, this article gives details the Rasmussen article did not- the actual question asked, and a demographic breakdown. Here is the question: "Next, a new Arizona law may soon go into effect regarding one’s U.S. citizenship status and right to be in the U.S.. The new law would require police officers in Arizona to question anyone about their immigration status if an officer suspects the person may be in the country illegally, including anyone who looks or sounds foreign. Those found to be here illegally could be jailed up to six months and fined $2,500. Do you favor or oppose the governor signing such a law if it is sent to her by the legislature?” Some might say the question is just a tad biased, as the words "including anyone who looks or sounds foreign" not only do not appear in the law, but are explicitly forbidden as the sole determining factors- but leave that aside for the moment. Here are the demographic breakdowns:

-------------------------------Favor --Oppose --Unsure
Overall ----------------------52 %-- 39 % --------9 %
Republicans ---------------76 % --15 % --------9 %
Caucasian ------------------65%---28 % --------7 %
Age 55+ --------------------62 % --31 % --------7 %
Independents -------------60 %---30 % ------10 %
Men -------------------------56 % --40 % --------4 %
All registered voters -----56 % --34 % ------10 %
Age 35 to 54 --------------53 % --41 % --------6 %
Women ---------------------49 % --38 % ------13 %
Age under 35 --------------45 % -43 % ------12 %
Democrats -----------------30 % --58 % ------12 %
Non-Hispanic minorities 29 % --63 % --------8 %
Hispanics -------------------21 % --69 % ------10 %

Note those last two lines- even with what might be called a leading question, more than one in four Non-Hispanic minorities supports the law, and more than one in five Hispanics. That suggests to me an answer to who is right- the Governor of Arizona, who says "In 2009, Phoenix had 316 kidnapping cases, turning the city into the nation's kidnapping capital. Almost all of the people kidnapped were illegal immigrants or linked to the drug trade.", or her critics who say that crime is going down in Arizona. If those crimes are not happening, why would 21% of Arizona Hispanics support the law, with another 10% not sure?

That is not a good argument for an unconstitutional law, but is sure is a good argument for securing the border.


Will Shetterly said...

By "secure the border", do you mean a worker program or more troops or something else?

Joel Monka said...

Both, actually. My position since the Reagan days has been to physically secure the borders to prevent the mass importation of drugs, and to allow any and all workers without criminal records to enter and leave as easily as tourists, without quotas. And by "criminal records", I mean drugs and violence- political crimes are fine by me, given the government they're dissenting against.

As to those already here, well, if we could admit a mistake and walk away from prohibition after all that heartache, we can do the same now, and admit our immigration policy has been mistaken for decades. Give anyone without a US criminal record a green card. But we have got to secure our borders.

Chalicechick said...

The relationship between Immigration and crime is a complicated one.

But I'm not sure what the Hispanic voting is supposed to prove. My position has been all along that with enough fearmongering, people happily hand over their civil liberties.

You think Hispanic people would be immune to that effect?

whose Dad is from El Paso, actually.

Joel Monka said...

CC- There is no relationship between immigration and the types of crimes Governor Brewer and the Justice Dept. are talking about, save for the fact that immigrants are victims. A gangster smuggling drugs is not an immigrant.

As to what the Hispanic voting is supposed to prove, this started several posts ago to demonstrate that it wasn't racism, pure and simple, as many were claiming. Whatever the motive of the Hispanic voter, I doubt it's racism.

As to fearmongering, if there were 316 kidnappings in Phoenix alone in 2009, then it wouldn't take any mongering, the fear would be quite real. Granted, that is down from 370 in 2008, but then it is claimed that twice as many more go unreported for fear of retaliation. The US Justice Dept. agrees: "The number of U.S. kidnapping incidents is most likely underreported because many victims' families are unwilling to report the crime for fear that the victim will be killed, the kidnappers will retaliate against the family, or law enforcement will discover the family's drug trafficking activities or illegal alien status." From the same report: "Assaults against U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) agents increased 46 percent from 752 incidents in FY2006 to 1,097 incidents in FY2008."

The difference between El Paso and the border of AZ can be seen quite clearly in this Justice Dept. county by county map of drug gangs-it's apples and oranges.

Will- Here's some examples, also from the Justice Dept., of why we must gain control of our borders.
Table 1. Drug Seizures Along the Southwest and Northern Borders, in Kilograms,
Southwest Border 17,085
Northern Border 18

Southwest Border 642
Northern Border 28

Southwest Border 1,489,673 (!)
Northern Border 3,423

Southwest Border 54
Northern Border 303

Southwest Border 3,478 (!)
Northern Border 10

Think about it... 1,500 metric tons of pot were seized, and it wasn't even enough to drive the price up. And do you have any idea how many doses 17 tons of coke is? If these were the seizures, can you imagine how much got through? And just as many guns were smuggled the other direction. With borders that open, what else is going- both ways? How many terrorists and revolutionaries are being armed? Have some of our soldiers in Afghanistan been shot with weapons smuggled into Mexico, then sold around the world?

Will Shetterly said...

Joel, that's why I favor legalizing, regulating, and taxing drugs.

Joel Monka said...

And this will help how? Can a legal company that obeys employment laws and OSHA regulations and pays taxes compete with a criminal cartel? Will the regional salesman be able to make a distribution deal when the competition is using murder, kidnapping, and torture to protect their sales routes? Will an addict voluntarily pay more to a legal dealer when he can get it cheaper from the dealers he already knows? As long as the borders are open, the criminal will always beat the legal drug dealer.

Chalicechick said...

Given that the average person is only slightly more likely to get kidnapped in Phoenix than murdered in DC, I still think there's some fear mongering involved. How much press did that one rancher's death get right around the time of the passage of the bill?

We had a public school principal killed here in DC recently. He was a great guy, beloved by everybody and as far as anyone has figured out his death was pretty much senseless violence. But nobody has parlayed his death into evidence that we need more legislation. Well, they haven't yet.

I'm pretty sure the "Arizona legislators did this for racism and only racism and the bill had nothing do to with public fears about crime, legitimate or otherwise or people's worries about the economy or anything else" argument is a straw man. As far as I'm concerned, you can stop trying to disprove it. I haven't seen anyone try to make it here at least.

And yes, I get that drugs are a problem, though not everything that comes through the southern boarder comes through Mexico. But America has had problems with crime before and managed to lower crime rates without handing over civil liberties.

I think we can do it again.


Will Shetterly said...

Joel, are you aware of gangs moving illegal alcohol across the Canadian border? I'm pretty sure ending Prohibition did a lot to stop the violence there.

CC, agreed that the violence in Arizona is exaggerated. The news still plays by "if it bleeds, it leads."

Chalicechick said...


Also, Canada doesn't regulate the chemicals that make meth, so most smugglers smuggle the chemicals instead and just make the meth here. The doesn't show up on these lists.


Chalicechick said...

Also, the news plays by that here, too, it's just that the news doesn't have any one group to blame so it doesn't stoke hatred against any one group.

Phoenix's murder rate is very low by DC standards, about a third of ours, but they do have 80 or so per year. All 80 don't get this much attention.


aspyre said...

As an Hispanic from AZ, I've observed a strong need to define illegals as an otherness outside the community. I think it helps those native-born Hispanics to accept racism from their neighbours if it's just about being here illegally.

Chalicechick said...

Now if you WANT to argue that something isn't mostly motivated by racism with people who disagree with you, I'm game for talking about this new law, which on its face seems more racist than the law we're discussing here.


Joel Monka said...

CC- while no one is making that claim in these comments, I became aware of this poll because of it. Yesterday, in the UUA discussion, the term "white supremacists, pure and simple." was used. When another person and I said it was too popular to be explained that way, this poll was quoted to show that 1070 wasn't anywhere near as popular as Rasmussen said it was. I took the conversation here to avoid hijacking that one.

"Also, Canada doesn't regulate the chemicals that make meth, so most smugglers smuggle the chemicals instead and just make the meth here. The doesn't show up on these lists."

Actually, the DEA does keep track of this, but a tipping point was reached a number of years ago. "Over the last decade, the methamphetamine trafficking and abuse situation in the United States changed dramatically. In 1994, ethnic Mexican drug trafficking organizations operating "super labs" (laboratories capable of producing in excess of 10 pounds of methamphetamine in one 24-hour production cycle) based in Mexico and in California began to take control of the production and distribution of methamphetamine domestically. Independent laboratory operators, including outlaw motorcycle gangs, previously maintained control of methamphetamine production and distribution within the United States, and continue to operate today on a lesser scale. The entry of ethnic Mexican traffickers into the methamphetamine trade in the mid-1990s resulted in a significant increase in the supply of the drug. Mexican criminal organizations, based in Mexico and California, provided high-purity, low-cost methamphetamine originally to cities in the Midwest and West with Mexican populations." They go on to say in another section that domestic production usually doesn't account for much more than personal consumption, and perhaps enough more to sell to friends

"But America has had problems with crime before and managed to lower crime rates without handing over civil liberties.

I think we can do it again."

I agree with half of that. As I said from the first sentence of the first post to the last sentence of this post, 1070 is unconstitutional. But can we do it again? Not without securing the borders, and there is no position with more bipartisan support at the federal level than that we will not defend our borders. Since the issue was first tackled in the 80's, we've had four changes of president and several changes of congress, and no progress.

Yes, that new law does seem much more racist on its face. Had the law been limited to just one of its provisions, "The bill also bans classes that promote the overthrow of the U.S. government." it would be defensible. I know that many believe that the western US is still legally a province of Mexico, Aztlan, and that the US is there by illegal military occupation. If some grade school teachers are teaching that as fact, I totally understand the objection, but I find it hard to believe that they are. I imagine they are discussing it as a theory because they know the kids will hear it outside the school anyway.

Joel Monka said...

Will- "I'm pretty sure ending Prohibition did a lot to stop the violence there."

Yes, for four reasons: 1. the entire booze infrastructure was just sitting there, waiting to be turned on again. Legal coke and meth labs would have to start from scratch, with all the set up costs, establish distribution routes, etc. 2. Most drugs are much easier to make than decent booze. With nothing more than instructions off the internet and some practice, you can turn out high quality meth- but consumers of alcohol are much harder to please. The quality of bathtub beer and gin was only acceptable in the face of the total absence of beer and gin. 3. The raw ingredients of good booze are much more expensive than manufactured drugs, and the process takes much longer, and must be done in clean, sterile surroundings to prevent contaminants that ruin the taste. 4. It's easy to mass manufacture a drug in the garage when the dosage is measured in milligrams; getting the same high from beer would take kilograms.

Will Shetterly said...

A partial response: Making decent beer isn't that tough, and I'm more comfortable legalizing marijuana than meth, simply because I haven't researched it much. I don't think legalizing some or all drugs will solve all problems--nothing will solve all problems, because some people will simply make bad decisions sometimes.

But if drug gangs are the problem, finding a way to regulate them makes more sense than fighting them.

Or if the reason those drugs are popular is because of the despair created in the working class by the effects of capitalism, improve the lot of the working class. By neither addressing the need nor regulating the source, you're simply building a wall that the logic of capitalism says will always be topped, because profit goes where profit can.

Joel Monka said...

I with you on legalizing marijuana- or rather, being one of those 10th-amendment-laboratory-of-democracy types, returning it to the states. I still can't believe that the SCOTUS ruled that the feds can overturn state law on the matter, even in the arena of medicine. Being a crop with little processing required, Archer Daniels Midland could put the criminal gangs out of business overnight as regards marijuana.

Yes, despair is one reason for drug abuse, though it doesn't take capitalism to produce it- Victorian England and Soviet Russia had similar levels of alcoholism. But meth and coke are qualitatively different from alcohol or pot; processed drugs have different and more devastating effects than the natural product.

Will Shetterly said...

I should've said something like "non-democratic hierarchical systems." Victorian England was the great flowering of capitalism, but I agree the USSR's anti-democratic form of communism sucked.

Chalicechick said...

Which UUA discussion was this?

Also, I'm wondering what counts as "promoting the overthrow of the US government" and if the schools that teach about the civil war in a Confederacy-sympathetic manner qualify.


Joel Monka said...

The link in the first sentence. And good question about the civil war.

Chalicechick said...

FWIW, if they were saying that anyone who supported the bill was a white supremacist, they were wrong.

If they were saying that State Sen. Russell Pearce, the guy who wrote the bill, has at least somewhat cozy with white supremacists for a long time and forwards the e-mails he gets from them around, well, they may have a point.

Gawker also caught the state senate's Republican leader following white supremacist groups on twitter.

Again, this doesn't say anything about the people who support the law, but the politicians who were behind the bill have some odd friends.

wondering if you still object to the term "Nazi" when it is applied to actual National Socialists.

Joel Monka said...

It's fine when they really are.

Joel Monka said...

But not so fine when they're really not. From UU A Way Of Life :"These kind of laws mark the beginning of facism in the United States and will lead to our own version of Kristallnacht.

Chalicechick said...

Some months ago, I decided to stop poking at that particular tar baby.

Good luck.


Joel Monka said...

CC- here is the text of that law against teaching that promotes the overthrow of the government.

Chalicechick said...

I know, I read it.

When I was a kid, I was in Virginia history classes that taught all about why the confederacy did what they did*, the implicit message being that I should be proud of my Southern heritage. And this was in one of the more progressive parts of Virginia. I can't imagine how they teach it down where it is sometimes called "the war of the Northern Aggresson" sans irony. But I'm white, so I assume my ethnic pride can be legally encouraged in the schools.

That law is so creepy.


*Other than that slavery stuff. It was all about state's rights, you see.