Immigration ranks as top issue for Americans for longest consecutive monthly stretch in past 24 years: poll


Americans ranked immigration as the most important issue facing the United States for a third consecutive month, according to a new poll released on Tuesday.

An April 1-22 Gallup survey found that 27% of Americans ranked immigration as the most important problem facing the U.S. 

Immigration topped Gallup’s open-ended trend for a third consecutive month. It marked the longest consecutive stretch for the immigration issue in the past 24 years. 

In December 2023, immigration tied with the government as the most important issue for Americans. That was the same month migrant encounters at the southern border hit a record 302,000. 

Immigration then surpassed the government as the most important issue for Gallup respondents in February – the same month a controversial bi-partisan border and foreign aid package tanked in the Senate. 

This year marks the first time immigration has ranked as the most important issue for Americans for several consecutive months since Gallup began updating the most important problem question monthly in March 2001. Immigration has been the top issue four times since 2000 – either alone or tied with another issue – at several points, including in 2014, 2018 and 2019. 

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Migrants in Mexico before crossing into US

Migrants on the bank of the dry riverbed of the Rio Grande at the US-Mexico border in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua state, Mexico, on Wednesday, April 24, 2024.  (Justin Hamel/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

“For the third month in a row, immigration is the problem Americans name more than any other as the most important facing the U.S. While immigration has not ranked as the top problem often in Gallup’s monthly trend, it stands alone as the most politically polarizing issue in the past 25 years of Gallup’s measurement,” Gallup assessed. “The record surge of migrants at the southern U.S. border in December brought even more focus on the issue – and while attempted crossings have eased slightly since then, they are expected to increase as spring continues. President Joe Biden’s approval rating for his handling of immigration has been persistently poor. With the presidential election about six months away and immigration top of mind, the issue remains a significant vulnerability for Biden as he seeks reelection.” 

Gallup respondents have ranked the economy the top issue 101 times over the past 24 years – more times than any other issue has taken the top spot. 

The government has been the most important issue 85 times, while the Iraq War was the top issue 50 times. 

Texas National Guard at the border

Texas National Guard along the US-Mexico border in El Paso, Texas, US, as seen from Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua state, Mexico, on Wednesday, April 24, 2024.  (Justin Hamel/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

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The most recent poll found 48% of Republicans and 25% of Independents mentioned immigration as the most important problem, compared to just 8% of Democrats. 

The percentage of Republicans who cited immigration as the top issue has decreased since February’s record 57% high. 

Migrants after nightfall at the border

Migrants rest on the bank of the dry riverbed of the Rio Grande at the US-Mexico border in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua state, Mexico, on Wednesday, April 24, 2024.  (Justin Hamel/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

In 2019, as many as 20% of Democrats mentioned immigration as the top issue. 

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The latest survey showed independents mentioning immigration at a new high, though statistically similar readings were recorded in 2019 and in recent months, Gallup said. 



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