Immigration is second most important issue for Americans

by Ray Clancy on February 21, 2018

American President Donald Trump has taken a hard stand on immigration after just over a year in office and since he was inaugurated more Americans also see immigration as a major issue.

Some 15% of Americans say immigration is the nation’s most important problem, up from 8% at the beginning of the year and there is a marked difference depending on which political party they support.

(Konstantin L/Shutterstock.com)

The latest Gallup poll shows that 25% of Republicans name immigration as the most important issue facing the country compared with 6% of Democrats

It means that overall immigration is the second most important issue with dissatisfaction with the Government coming out on top with 22% of those polled in February naming it as their number one issue.

The poll also shows that the environment is low on the agenda with just 3% saying it is important as is education, the Federal Budget deficit, unemployment and the economy. Even health care does not come high up the list with just 7% rating it as important.

The rise in concerns about immigration is the only major change in the public’s perceptions of problems facing the country in the latest monthly poll from Gallup. The survey was done at a time when immigration was front page news.

The Gallup report says that despite the fact that leaders of both major parties have made immigration a central issue of policy debates, the increase in mentions of immigration as the nation’s top problem is fuelled almost entirely by Republicans and Republican-leaning independents.

The surge in mentions of immigration among Republicans makes it the most frequently named issue for that group, significantly ahead of the 18% who mention dysfunctional Government. No other problem rises to more than 8% among Republicans.

In contrast, immigration is the fifth most frequently mentioned problem among Democrats behind government at 25%, race relations at 12%, healthcare at 10% and the economy at 8%.

On average, 5% of Americans have named immigration as the top problem over the span of Gallup’s surveys conducted each month since January 2001, although the frequency of mentions has varied widely across this period.

Mentions of immigration have reached 15% or higher three times before this month’s survey in April and June 2006 when 19% and 18% respectively, mentioned immigration as the most important problem.

‘Democratic leaders have been focused on the plight of immigrants brought to this country illegally as children. President Donald Trump and Republican leaders have been focused on legislation to address border security and the president’s campaign promise to build a massive wall along the nation’s southern border,’ the report says.

‘While both groups of leaders appear to have strongly held positions on the issue, the salience of immigration and the need for immigration reform as the top problem facing the country is significantly higher among Republicans nationwide than it is among Democrats. This could reflect, in part, Trump’s persistent focus on the issue throughout his presidential campaign and first year in office,’ it explains.

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