While the vast majority of Americans (72%) believe immigration is a “good thing for this country today,” more favor decreasing legal levels rather than increasing them. A new survey by Gallup finds the percentage of Americans favoring decreased immigration ticked up from 34% to 38%, while the those who favor increasing immigration ticked down slightly by the same margin, from 24% to 21%.
Now, the percentage saying they favor immigration levels to be “kept at present level” fell slightly from 40% to 38%, on par with those who say they favor decreasing immigration. Still, the latest survey data indicate a consistent mood post-2012, with Americans being roughly split between keeping the current pace and decreasing. Prior to 2012, and even more so in the years immediately after 9/11, Americans favored decreased immigration by larger margins.
Not surprisingly, Republicans and self-identified conservatives are most likely to favor decreased immigration levels, while Democrats and liberals are least likely to agree. What is surprising is that Whites are only slightly more likely than Hispanics to want immigration decreased, while blacks are the least likely.
Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted June 7-July 1, 2016, with a sample of 3,270 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, who had previously been interviewed in the Gallup Daily tracking poll and agreed to be re-interviewed for a later study. The sample is weighted to be representative of U.S. adults.
Americans’ positive views about immigration dipped to a low point after 9/11 and have fluctuated since then, but the 72% and 73% “good thing” percentages measured in 2013, 2015 and this year are the highest in Gallup’s trend dating back to 2001.
For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. For results based on the sample of 1,320 non-Hispanic whites, the margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. For results based on the sample of 912 non-Hispanic blacks, the margin of sampling error is ±5 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. For results based on the sample of 906 Hispanics, the margin of sampling error is ±6 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.