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As Trump Runs Hard on Xenophobia, Gallup Poll Finds Highest-Ever Support for Immigration As “Good Thing” for America

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Every day brings reminders that the American public is recoiling from Trump’s race-baiting and xenophobia. New immigration polling from Gallup is the latest evidence:

  • By a 77-19% margin, Gallup finds that Americans think immigration is a “good thing” rather than a “bad thing” for the country today. 
  • Democrats (89-9%), Independents (78-17%), and Republicans (62-31%) each express overwhelming support for “good thing” (see party breakdown here)
  • Gallup has asked that question 19 times previously, going back to 2001. The current 77% support for “immigration is a good thing” is the highest ever recorded; the 19% support for “bad thing” is tied for the lowest ever; and the 58-point margin between “good thing” and “bad thing” is the greatest differential Gallup has ever recorded.
  • A separate Gallup question asked whether immigration should be kept at present levels, increased, or decreased. As the poll summary noted, “Thirty-four percent of Americans, up from 27% a year ago, would prefer to see immigration to the U.S. increased. This is the highest support for expanding immigration Gallup has found in its trend since 1965. Meanwhile, the percentage favoring decreased immigration has fallen to a new low of 28%, while 36% think it should stay at the present level. This marks the first time in Gallup’s trend that the percentage wanting increased immigration has exceeded the percentage who want decreased immigration.”

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice: 

Trump’s relentless strategy of divisiveness, race-baiting and xenophobia has always been ugly and morally abhorrent. What’s politically relevant in this moment is that his hardline views on race and immigration are growing more and more unpopular. 

Since the early 1990s, Republicans have wielded immigration as a wedge issue in a cynical effort to mobilize white grievance voters, peel off centrist voters and demoralize some Democrats. Today, as Trump keeps going where few politicians have dared go, he has forced Americans to choose a side. They have. As a result, we may see an election in which Trump’s demonization of immigrants will backfire badly. In fact, it just might turn the Southern Strategy on its head and mobilize progressive voters, peel off centrist voters and demoralize some Republicans.

Leading observers are also citing the role of race-baiting and xenophobia as a major reason Trump’s re-election prospects have weakened, including: