Increasing polarization over immigration

According to the most recent Gallup poll, Democrats’ views of immigrants’ effect on the country have grown increasingly positive, while Republicans’ have soured further. There are some constants over the past decades, that Americans overall think immigration is good. Today 68% of Americans say immigration is good for the country today but 41% want it decreased.  Most think that immigration worsens crime and drugs.

When you look at perceptions of different attributes of immigration, there is discord ripe for political polarization. 71% of Democrats say that immigration is good for food, music and the arts; a slim majority of Republicans think it is bad. 47% overall say that immigration worsens the drug problem, or 31% of Democrats and 80% of Republicans.

Whereas the party groups were similarly split from 2001 through 2004 over whether immigrants made the economy better or worse, 62% Democrats now say better versus 17% worse, while Republicans say 14% better and 64% worse.

Currently, 73% of Republicans want immigration decreased, while 10% want it increased, meaning their net preference for more immigration is -63. By contrast, 40% of Democrats want it increased, while just 18% want it decreased — a +22 net preference score. Independents still tilt negative, with 27% wanting it increased and 39% decreased, or -12.


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