This may be wishful thinking. Rich Yeselson, recounting Theda Skocpol and Vanessa Williamson's analysis of the Tea Party, notes their finding that immigration is the No. 1 hot-button issue for Tea Partyers, and reminds us:
It remains insufficiently acknowledged that Rick Perry’s decline in the polls began not as a result of his inept debate performances, per se, but when he told a debate audience that “it did not have a heart” for opposing his bill to give the children of illegal immigrants a tuition break at Texas state universities. According to a Washington Post/ABC poll soon after this remark, his support among tea party supporters declined from 45% to 10%!Now, in the same debate, Romney took Perry apart with regard to his over-the-top denigrations of Social Security, while Perry botched a counterattack on Romney's healthcare stance. But still, that Tea Party collapse was probably dispositive, and probably triggered mainly by the immigration positioning.
In the same vein, Ive absorbed the meme that Hurricane Katrina was George W. Bush's...Katrina. But Yeselson implies that it ain't necessarily so:
Recall that Jeb’s big brother, W, saw his GOP base support collapse after his failed attempt to pass immigration reform. Only then did his polls decline into the 20s.And indeed, reviewing the tape, it does appear that Katrina didn't have much effect on Bush's approval rating.