CORONAVIRUS

Poll: A Pandemic Hasn't Done Much To Change Americans' Views On Immigration

The public continues to see immigration as a boon to the U.S., but most also see restrictions as at least somewhat effective in controlling the COVID-19 outbreak.
An 83% majority of Americans currently say social distancing is at least somewhat effective in helping to control the nation&
An 83% majority of Americans currently say social distancing is at least somewhat effective in helping to control the nation’s coronavirus outbreak, compared to 55% who say the same of limiting immigration.

By a more than two-to-one margin, Americans see immigration into the U.S. as mostly a good thing for the country, a new HuffPost/YouGov survey finds.

The poll was taken after President Donald Trump announced he would suspend some immigration into the U.S. for 60 days. The Wednesday order, which will temporarily halt the issuing of green cards to immigrants who are currently outside the U.S., includes broad exceptions and is likely to face legal challenges.

Although the White House has cited health concerns to justify its previous immigration limits, the president cast this week’s order primarily as an economic decision.

“By pausing immigration, we’ll help put unemployed Americans first in line for jobs as America reopens,” Trump said Tuesday. “We must first take care of the American worker.”

Public attitudes on immigration, however, don’t appear to have been substantially affected by the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Americans say, 54% to 21%, that immigration into the U.S. is a good thing for the country. Just 15% say immigration has a negative effect on them personally, with one-quarter seeing a positive personal effect and the rest unaffected or unsure.

Roughly three-quarters say they believe the U.S. is a nation of immigrants, and a 58% majority support providing a legal way for undocumented immigrants already in the United States to become citizens. 

All those results are broadly similar to a November 2019 HuffPost/YouGov survey in which Americans said, 56% to 20%, that immigration to the country was, on the whole, a good thing.

An 83% majority of Americans currently say social distancing is at least somewhat effective in helping to control the nation’s coronavirus outbreak, compared to 55% who say the same of limiting immigration. Forty-six percent say social distancing is very effective, with 29% saying the same of immigration restrictions.

Use the widget below to further explore the results of the HuffPost/YouGov survey, using the menu at the top to select survey questions and the buttons at the bottom to filter the data by subgroups:

The HuffPost/YouGov poll consisted of 1,000 completed interviews conducted April 22-24 among U.S. adults, using a sample selected from YouGov’s opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population.

HuffPost has teamed up with YouGov to conduct daily opinion polls. You can learn more about this project and take part in YouGov’s nationally representative opinion polling. More details on the polls’ methodology are available here.

Most surveys report a margin of error that represents some but not all potential survey errors. YouGov’s reports include a model-based margin of error, which rests on a specific set of statistical assumptions about the selected sample rather than the standard methodology for random probability sampling. If these assumptions are wrong, the model-based margin of error may also be inaccurate.

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