Posted on May 2, 2024

Immigration Named Top U.S. Problem for Third Straight Month

Megan Brenan, Gallup, April 30, 2024

A steady 27% of Americans say the most important problem facing the U.S. is immigration, topping Gallup’s open-ended trend for the third consecutive month, the longest stretch for this particular issue in the past 24 years.

The latest results are based on an April 1-22 Gallup survey, as elevated numbers of migrants continued to seek entry at the U.S. southern border. Immigration tied with the government as the top issue in December 2023, when the number of migrant encounters at the southern border set a record for a single month. {snip}

In addition to these recent instances, immigration has topped Gallup’s most important problem list four times since 2000 (either alone or tied with another issue), including at several points in 20142018 and 2019. However, 2024 is the first time that immigration has remained the top issue for multiple successive months.

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Republicans are far more likely than Democrats and independents to name immigration as the most important issue. In the latest poll, 48% of Republicans, compared with 8% of Democrats, mention immigration. Independents fall roughly in the middle, at 25%.

Republicans’ mention of the issue has come down from February, when a record-high 57% named it. Fewer Democrats now than in 2019 (when as many as 20% mentioned it) say immigration is the top problem. Meanwhile, independents’ latest mention of immigration is at a new high, although statistically similar readings were recorded in 2019 and in recent months.

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Historically, Republicans have been much more likely than Democrats and independents to mention immigration as the biggest problem facing the U.S. The current 40-percentage-point gap in Republicans’ and Democrats’ mentions of immigration is among the largest party differences on record for this measure. It is identical to last month’s gap and second to February’s 47-point partisan difference on the same issue.

Examining Gallup’s most important problem trends by party shows that immigration is currently a uniquely polarizing issue. The gaps between Republicans and Democrats mentioning it this year are greater than for any other issue in the past 25 years.

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