According to the results of a new Gallup poll, immigration remains the top priority for US voters in the month of July, with around 27% of the country believing the continued migration issue at the US-Mexico border is the “most important problem.”
With the 2020 election looming overhead, a growing number of US voters appear to believe the border crisis is the most pressing issue America currently faces.
The numbers show a stark contrast from earlier polling in March of 2019, which indicated that only 16% of Americans held such views, indicating a growing concern over the increasing surges of illegal aliens entering the country each month.
Also noteworthy, environment / climate change, often listed as a top priority for 2020 Democrat candidates barely makes the top 5, with only 4% of responders calling it the most important U.S. problem.
After hitting a new high last month, mentions of immigration as the most important problem facing the U.S. increased further to 27% in July. Since Gallup began regularly recording mentions of the issue in 1993, immigration has been cited by an average of 6% of Americans, though it has been higher in recent years. There have been occasional, typically short-lived, spikes when major immigration events were occurring.
The July 1-12 poll was conducted as the U.S. government continues to struggle to handle the large number of Central American immigrants attempting to enter the U.S. via the U.S.-Mexico border. The issue was brought into sharper focus in early July when Democratic congressional leaders and Republican Vice President Mike Pence made separate trips to facilities that are holding the migrants as they await asylum hearings. While Republican and Democratic leaders’ assessments of the situation differed, both acknowledged overcrowded conditions and characterized the situation at the border as a crisis.
Republicans have typically been more likely than Democrats and independents to name immigration as the most important problem, and that is still the case. In the latest survey, 42% of Republicans, 20% of independents and 20% of Democrats mention immigration.
All political groups are more likely to mention immigration now than earlier this year. In March, when a 2019-low 16% of Americans identified immigration as the most important problem, 31% of Republicans, 14% of independents and 6% of Democrats did.
Immigration now sits at the top of the “most important problem” list for just the fourth time in Gallup’s trend, having also done so in July 2014, July 2018 and November 2018. The issue edged out the government, which has been a fixture at or near the top of the list throughout the latter part of the Obama administration and the Trump administration.
Race relations or racism (7%) and healthcare (7%) are the only other two issues to receive as many as 5% of mentions this month.
Consistent with Americans’ positive evaluations of the U.S. economy, only 14% name an economic issue such as the economy in general, unemployment or the gap between the rich and poor. The historical low in mentions of economic issues as the most important problem is 12%, registered in February and in September 2018.
Gallup has asked the “most important problem” question since 1939, and has done so on a monthly basis since March 2001. Over the past 19 years, only five other issues have been mentioned at some point by at least the 27% who named immigration this month. These include the economy in general, unemployment, the situation in Iraq, terrorism and the government.