Americans Say Immigration Is the Most Critical Issue Facing US: Gallup Poll

Jacob Burg
By Jacob Burg
May 1, 2024Politics
Americans Say Immigration Is the Most Critical Issue Facing US: Gallup Poll
Migrants line up to be transferred by Border Patrol after having crossed the Bravo River in El Paso, Texas, as seen from Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua State, Mexico, on April 18, 2024. (Herika Martinez/AFP via Getty Images)

Immigration is the most important problem facing Americans for the third straight month, according to an April 30 Gallup poll.

In the poll, 27 percent of Americans believe immigration is the most critical issue facing the United States, coming out on top of other issues like the government, the economy, and inflation.

This is the longest consecutive window in which immigration has been a top concern for Americans after 28 percent held this view in February and March as well.

The poll does not differentiate between legal and illegal immigration.

The results, derived from an April 1–22 Gallup survey, come as President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump are set for a rematch in November.

With chaos at the southern border engulfing the election, many voters are worried about the impacts.

January Border Patrol data showed a record 249,785 illegal border crossing arrests were made in December 2023, up 31 percent from the previous month.

The number of crossings has dropped, but immigration experts expect it to rise again as the weather gets warmer.

President Trump has blamed President Biden for the border and vowed that closing it would be among his first actions if he wins the election.

Gallup’s polling from Feb. 1–Feb. 20 indicates that President Biden’s disapproval rating on immigration was at 67 percent.

Former President George W. Bush similarly had a 69 percent disapproval rating on immigration in February 2008, the final month in that particular Gallup survey.

President Biden and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced on April 30 that they would move to address the influx of illegal immigrants crossing the southern border with tougher airport, bus, and railway enforcement, and more repatriation flights.

A Harvard/Harris poll, conducted on April 24 and April 25, found that immigration and “price increases/inflation” tied as the “most important issues facing the country today” at 35 percent.

The organization’s March poll had immigration in the top spot at 36 percent.

The Gallup poll found 48 percent of Republicans, compared to 8 percent of Democrats and 25 percent of independents, chose immigration.

However, GOP focus on the issue dropped from February, when a record number of 57 percent of Republicans said it was America’s most critical problem.

Before February, the last time Americans chose immigration as the country’s top issue was in 2019.

February was also when negotiations broke down over the proposed bipartisan border bill in Congress, launching the issue into national discourse.

In the April 30 poll, Americans listed the government as the second most important issue at 18 percent, with the “economy in general” following at 17 percent and inflation in fourth place at 13 percent.

Gallup said immigration has topped the list four times since 2000, including during certain months in 2014, 2018, and 2019.

Still, the recent numbers are the first time the issue has remained at the top for three successive months.

Since 2001, topics such as the economy, government, Iraq War, inflation, COVID-19, unemployment, and terrorism were chosen as the top issue more often than immigration.

They have all held that spot for longer consecutive periods than three months, except for unemployment and inflation.

Over the past 24 years, the economy has been selected as the most important issue for Americans, more than any other topic at 101 mentions.

However, Gallup said the current 40-percent gap between Republican and Democrat interest in immigration is among the largest differences on record for this topic and has stayed consistent since February.

The 2024 gaps between the two parties on immigration are greater than for any other issue within the past 25 years.

Another issue that saw a similar gap in interest between the two parties was the COVID-19 pandemic, when 43 percent of Democrats in February 2021 chose it as the most critical issue, as opposed to only eight percent of Republicans.

There were also large gaps between 20 and 24 percent in interest over the Iraq War and the government in general. During September 2004, for instance, 29 percent of Republicans selected terrorism versus nine percent of Democrats.

However, Gallup said Republicans and Democrats were roughly aligned on terrorism right after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and on the economy during the Great Recession following the 2008 financial crisis.

Gallup’s survey was open-ended and allowed respondents to name whatever three issues mattered most to them.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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