Immigration is rising over voters’ heads ahead of Super Tuesday, polls show

(Gregory Bull/Associated Press)

Immigration is rising over voters’ heads ahead of Super Tuesday, polls show

Elections 2024, Immigration and the border

Believe E. Pinho

February 27, 2024

Many Americans view illegal immigration as a “very serious” problem, and a majority support building a border wall, according to new polls a week before the Super Tuesday primaries.

Republican candidates seeking to portray the Biden administration as weak on immigration have repeatedly come under fire


as a top issue during the 2024 election campaign. A Monmouth University poll released Monday shows their messages are sticking


Eight in 10 Americans see views across partisan lines


illegal immigration as at least a somewhat serious problem. Among Republicans, 91% view illegal immigration as a very serious problem, compared to 58% of independents and 41% of Democrats.

This isn’t the first year we’ve seen this, but this is a moment where it’s gaining momentum, said Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera, a professor of politics and government at George Mason University who studies immigration. The 2024 elections are the driving force for this, and the images support a narrative of fear politics.

A Gallup poll released Tuesday shows that a growing share of Americans think immigration is the most important problem facing the country, surpassing government, the economy, inflation and other social issues. Twenty-eight percent of respondents said immigration is the most important issue, up from 20% in January.

It’s quite unusual for a topic like this to be at the top, as it normally concerns something like the economy or government. Or, you know, after September 11th it was terrorism. In 2020 it was COVID. Usually it’s such a dominant problem, said Gallup Senior Editor Jeff Jones. So it’s quite remarkable that something like immigration overcomes these problems.

Every month for more than two decades, Gallup has asked respondents about the most important issue facing the country. The last time respondents opted for immigration was in July 2019, when border crossing attempts increased, the pollster said.

The Gallup poll interviewed a random sample of 1,016 adults from across the country. The


The survey, which lasted 20 days this month, has a margin of error of four percentage points, according to Gallup.

Twenty-eight percent of Monmouth survey respondents reported feeling that illegal immigrants are taking jobs away from American citizens, while 62% say migrants are filling jobs that Americans don’t want. Those numbers have remained relatively stable, said Patrick Murray, director of Monmouth University polling.

When we started talking about this much more as an issue during the Obama administration … it was the discussion about taking away jobs that led the debate, he said. Now the debate is really only about crime and chaos in society, and the contribution of illegal immigrants to this.

One of the cornerstones of the MAGA movement, according to Correa-Cabrera, is the perception that immigrants bring violence, drugs and insecurity.

to the United States.

Part of the reason, she says, is that many immigrants come to the U.S. to escape violence in their home countries.

Yet research has repeatedly debunked the idea that immigrants are more prone to committing violent crimes than U.S. citizens.

A 2020 study by the U.S. Department of Justice found that immigrants

in the country without permission

crimes committed

in Texas

at much lower rates than US-born citizens.


The Monmouth University survey found that 1 in 3 respondents believe illegal immigrants are at greater risk of committing violent crimes than other Americans.

The argument is more about this sense of fear and the urgency of the attack on our way of life, Murray said. And the fact that this is a specter is a very powerful motivator for the Trump wing, especially the Republican Party.

Fifty-three percent of respondents support building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, up from 48% when the university first asked the question in 2015, amid the heat of the heat.


Trump’s presidential campaign on this issue. Support for the wall fell during his presidency, Monmouth polls showed, to a low of 35%.

Once we literally had a concrete example of what that wall actually meant, what it would look like and what it would do, it didn’t start to get much support, Murray said. From that moment on, this is a big change.”

The poll findings come after a breakdown in bipartisan negotiations over a border bill in Congress. The bill, which a


group of

Democratic and Republican

The legislation, which took several months to draft, failed to emerge from the Senate after Trump expressed opposition to it and House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.)

called it dead on arrival.

The Monmouth poll found that just under half of the public had heard much about the bill negotiations, yet nearly half of respondents said both parties were equally responsible for blocking the bill. It’s pretty hard to look at what happened and not put objective blame on Republicans,” Murray said. “Whether you agree with the decision to block it or not, Republicans in Congress were the ones who blocked it. And yet that is not reflected in the public perception of what happened. And I think that’s kind of the key: the immigration problem is a significantly greater motivating factor when it’s not solved than when it is solved. The

$118 billion package

, which would have tightened and streamlined the asylum-seeking process, was one of the most conservative and comprehensive immigration measures lawmakers have seen in years. Some Democrats, including California Senator Alex Padilla, rejected the bill as detrimental to Republican interests. However, it was Republicans who argued that it did not go far enough to curb illegal immigration, ultimately killing the bill. While they refuse to negotiate on the border bill, Republicans do

dropped off

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas made a historic move, claiming the Biden administration official had failed in his duty to enforce the border. “The real problems of the immigration system will not be addressed this year,” Correa-Cabrera said. Unfortunately, you know, electoral politics gets in the way of improving and fixing the immigration system. It needs to be resolved. It’s a tragedy what’s happening in the United States.


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