Public Opinion Sours on Immigration

Mark Dolliver, Adweek (New York), August 13, 2009

Polling in the past decade has shown Americans subject to mood swings on the topic of immigration, and a new Gallup survey finds the current mood swinging toward the restrictive side. Fifty percent of respondents said the level of immigration should be decreased–up from 39 percent saying the same a year ago. Thirty-two percent said immigration should stay at its present level, and 14 percent said it should be increased.

A majority of respondents to the survey (conducted last month) said they believe that immigration is, on the whole, “a good thing” for the U.S. today. But that number has also dipped since last year, from 64 percent then to 58 percent now. And there has been a corresponding rise in the number saying immigration is on the whole “a bad thing” for the country, from 30 percent then to 36 percent now.

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Though there was a partisan gap in responses to the poll, opinion has been moving in the same direction for Republicans and Democrats alike. Sixty-one percent of the Republicans said the level of immigration should be decreased, up from 46 percent a year ago. Forty-four percent of Democrats subscribed to the pro-decrease position, up from 39 percent last year.

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