Poll: 62% Believe U.S. on ‘Wrong Track’ on Immigration

If you’re unhappy about what’s happening at the border, you’re not alone

By Andrew R. Arthur on May 27, 2022

The most recent poll by UK journal The Economist and opinion firm YouGov found that 62 percent of respondents believe the country is on the “wrong track” when it comes to immigration, with only 18 percent stating we are “generally headed in the right direction” on the issue (20 percent weren’t sure). That’s a higher wrong-track rating than the parlous U.S. economy received (60 percent), so if you are unhappy with what’s happening at the border, you aren’t alone.

Internal Statistics. That poll was conducted of 1,500 U.S. citizens (1,332 of whom were registered voters) between May 21 and 24. While right direction/wrong track polling is common, this is the first one that I have seen that is immigration-specific. Given the fact that the Biden administration has adopted a “no border/no enforcement” stance, one can assume that respondents didn’t conclude there was not enough immigration happening.

Both genders were consistent when it came to the wrong-track conclusion on immigration, as that 62 percent assessment held true for both men and women. Curiously, however, men were much more likely than women to believe that immigration in this country was headed in the right direction when it comes to immigration, by a 21 percent to 15 percent margin.

That said, Biden 2020 voters may be feeling some buyer’s remorse if immigration was their deciding issue in the last presidential election. A plurality of those who voted for the president (47 percent) believed that the United States was on the wrong track on immigration, compared to 27 percent who felt things were headed in the right direction.

Most ominously for the president’s fellow Democrats, Independents — critical swing voters in midterm elections like those that will be held this November — are more sour when it comes to the subject: 68 percent of the uncommitted fall into the wrong-track group, while a mere 13 percent believe that we are headed generally in the right direction when it comes to immigration.

If the president’s immigration policies are intended to curry the favor of Hispanic voters, he may want to try a different tack. A plurality of respondents in this cohort (48 percent) believe that the United States is on the wrong track when it comes to immigration, compared to 25 percent who think the country is headed in the right direction.

Bright Spot for the White House. The one bright spot for those White House advisors who are crafting the president’s border policies is that fewer respondents are identifying immigration as the “most important” issue to them: Just 8 percent identified it as such, trailing “jobs and the economy” (18 percent), “health care” (15 percent), “climate change and the environment” (11 percent), and “taxes and government spending” and “abortion” (tied at 9 percent).

That’s a two-point drop in the importance of immigration from just a month before in the same poll, and the May 2 leak of a Supreme Court draft abortion opinion likely has played a role in the shift: Abortion was the most important issue for just 4 percent of respondents in that earlier poll, and as noted gained five points in the interim.

Judge Summerhays to the Rescue. Of course, the open-borders crowd at the White House should likely thank Judge Robert R. Summerhays of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, too.

On May 20, he issued a preliminary injunction blocking the Biden administration’s attempts to end CDC orders issued under Title 42 of the U.S. Code in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, which have directed the expulsion of illegal migrants since late March 2020.

DHS estimates that up to 18,000 illegal migrants per day will cross the Southwest border once Title 42 ends, and that human tsunami will produce images of chaos that even the White House and a largely compliant press will have a hard time ignoring.

The longer that the president can keep the true scope of the disaster hidden, the better for him and his fellow Democrats, and Judge Summerhays is likely incidentally protecting progressives from themselves. That said, he likely can’t keep Title 42 in place forever, and my colleague Mark Krikorian questions whether Republicans should be cheering for its continuation.

If you are unhappy with the current state of immigration in the United States — and you should be, given the fact that it is in its worst shape ever — you are in good company: More than six out of 10 of your fellow Americans feel the same way. And you should expect to be joined by a crowd of others, soon.