No. Quite the contrary.
The results were similar in neighboring South Carolina. Among Republican primary voters in the Palmetto State, 53 percent believe that illegal immigrants should be granted legal status. Just 44 percent believe that they ought to be deported.
In Tennessee, the numbers were 49-44 percent in favor of legal status. In Arkansas it was 47-44 percent. In Texas it was 47-43; in Oklahoma it was 50-47. The only Southern state to break the trend was Alabama, and even there it was 45 percent in favor of legal status, and 50 percent in favor of deportation, which is hardly a monolithic rejection of so-called amnesty.
In northern states, the results were even more lopsided. In New Hampshire, for example, 56 percent of Republican primary voters supported legalization, while 41 percent backed mass deportation.
So how does a position held by a minority of Republican voters even in the most conservative areas of the country become THE litmus test for viability among Republican presidential candidates? How does a minority in one party wield so much influence that it can effectively shut down any progress on an important issue at the national level?
There are many ways to answer such questions, but in the end, it comes down to the unwillingness or inability of Republican leadership to challenge their own extremists, to the detriment of their party and country. And if you give extremists that power over you, you in time become defined by those extremists.