Marc Ambinder at The Atlantic gets Newt Gingrich and immigration half right and half wrong. The idea that Mitt Romney will try to prove his anti-immigrant credentials, which the DNC can then try to use against him makes sense:
If Gingrich and Romney publicly argue over immigration, the DNC and Obama 2012 will do everything they can to reproduce this debate before college-educated white voters in Virginia, North Carolina, the Rust Belt and elsewhere. It's a perfect time, because the national electorate is starting to wake up and pay attention to the race. Now is the time when Mitt Romney, the guy who Chicago expects will be the nominee, is at his most tender, most doughy, and most mold-able.
But I have not seen any evidence that college-educated voters--or very many people in any category--in North Carolina or Virginia will vote based on immigration. I know the media loves that angle, but polls never support it. I cannot see this affecting the race more than marginally in those states. I could be wrong, but my sense is that there are few eligible voters unaware of how the immigration debate is portrayed by both parties. Are there any voters out there who in coming months will say, "I wasn't sure before, but now I realize what Mitt Romney thinks about immigration and I am going to vote accordingly?"
He notes studies of how there will be more non-white eligible voters in these states, but African Americans will not vote based on immigration, and the Latino electorate is currently extremely small in new gateways like North Carolina. So at least for now I see more smoke and less fire.