The wide divide between Trump, Clinton voters on immigration
A single statement about the reason immigrants come to the United States is shared by voters who otherwise hold opposing views, the USC Dornsife/L.A. Times Presidential Daybreak Poll shows
Supporters of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton believe immigration is beneficial for the United States while Republican Donald Trump’s backers believe immigration has a negative impact, according to results released from the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Presidential Election Daybreak Poll.
From Sept. 5 to 18, the poll asked its panel of eligible voters about immigration issues. The first question asked voters if they thought the 1 million immigration visas that the United States issues annually to people who would like to work in the United States are “too many,” “too few” or about the right number.
Voters who believe that the United States currently issues too many immigration visas back Trump over Clinton by more than two to one, while Clinton holds a similar lead among those who believe that more visas should be granted, the poll showed.
Clinton also had a 10-point lead among voters who endorsed keeping the number of visas issued the same, according to the results.
Over this period, Trump was edging Clinton by 3 points, 46 percent to 43 percent, within the poll’s margin of error.
The national daily probability poll is one of only a few such polls in the country. It aims to provide a best estimate of how Americans plan to vote in the November election. Voters are asked to rate their chances of voting and the candidates’ chances of winning on a scale of 0 to 100. Results are updated nightly at midnight and reflect a rolling seven-day average.
To learn more about what lies behind their likely vote, the poll asks respondents one or two extra questions about their preferences or values.
More than half (54 percent) of those polled said the United States grants the right number of visas or should grant more. Opinion on the topic split along party and socioeconomic lines. Those in the “too many” visas camp included roughly half of Republicans (55 percent), those without college degrees (52 percent) and those with household incomes of less than $75,000 per year (49 percent).
This opinion was also shared by demographic groups who are among Trump’s strongest supporters, including less educated whites (56 percent), men (48 percent) and women who don’t have college degrees (52 percent).
Demographic groups that tend to prefer Clinton were more likely to say that the number of visas was about right or too few, including two-thirds of Democrats, 60 percent who graduated college, 58 percent of women, 61 percent of African-Americans and 60 percent of Hispanics.
Independents, a group that encompasses a wide range of ideologies and socioeconomic statuses, were more divided. Just under half said the United States issues too many work visas to immigrants, and the rest were divided (38 percent to 14) percent over whether the number is just right or too low.
The visas issue divided along age lines as well. Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of those under age 35 said the number of visas was just right (38 percent) or too low (26 percent), compared to more than half (53 percent) of people aged 35 and older who said 1 million visas is too many.
In the second immigration question for the poll, voters were asked to agree or disagree with a series of positive and negative statements about people who are given a visa to immigrate to the United States to work and live. However, only one statement drew a majority of agreement among all eligible voters: Sixty-two percent agreed that people with immigration visas come to the United States “to work,” and among that group, Clinton led Trump by 8 percentage points — 48 percent to 40 percent.
Overall, supporters of negative statements about people on visas appeared more likely to vote for Trump while supporters of positive statements tended to back Clinton:
- 63 percent of the voters who believe people on visas “take jobs away from Americans” plan to vote for Trump while 28 percent are for Clinton
- 58 percent of voters who believe people on visas “provide welcome variety to American life” plan to vote for Clinton vs. 29 percent for Trump
- 58 percent of voters who believe that people on visas “come to the U.S. because they want a handout” plan to vote for Trump vs. 18 percent for Clinton
- 62 percent of voters who agree that people on visas “strengthen economy” plan to vote for Clinton vs. 26 percent for Trump
- 71 percent who agree that people on visas “increase crime in American cities” plan to vote for Trump vs. 20 percent for Clinton
- 62 percent who agree that people on visas “help revitalize American cities” plan to vote for Clinton vs. 26 percent for Trump
- 76 percent who believe that people on visas “harm the American way of life” plan to vote for Trump vs. 16 percent for Clinton
Eight percent said they disagree with all of the statements.
The negative statements that people on visas take jobs from Americans, are seeking a handout, increase crime and harm the American way of life attract greatest support from whites, the least educated, the lowest income earners, those 35 and older, and registered Republicans.
For example, the voters who believe people on visas “take jobs away from Americans” include 55 percent of whites who have no college degree, 49 percent of voters aged 35 to 45, and 42 percent of voters 45 and older. Support also comes from 42 percent of voters earning less than $35,000 a year, an equal percentage of those who earn $35,000 to $74,999 per year, and 38 percent of those who earn $75,000 or more per year. Support broken down by party is 50 percent of registered Republicans, 46 percent of independents and 33 percent of Democrats.
Of the voters who believe people with visas come to the United States “to work,” 79 percent have completed a college degree or more. A breakdown by race shows support from 79 percent of Hispanics, 61 percent of whites and 52 percent of African-Americans. The greatest support for the “to work” statement also comes from 79 percent of voters who have a college degree or more, 59 percent who took some college courses and 49 percent who have a high school diploma or who did not finish high school.
Age-wise, supporters include 66 percent of voters aged 45 and older, 56 percent of voters 35 to 45 and 61 percent of voters 18 to 35.
Based on income, those who agree immigrants come to the United States “to work” statement include 69 percent of voters with incomes $75,000 and over, 61 percent of those who earn $35,000 to $74,999 per year and 53 percent earning $35,000 or less per year. Other supporters: 68 percent of Democrats, 58 percent of Republicans and 57 percent of independents.
Find a detailed breakdown of the poll demographics.
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