Gallup: Far More Americans Want to Decrease Immigration Than Increase It

By Susan Jones | June 27, 2014 | 8:45 AM EDT

(AP File Photo)

( - More Americans think (legal) immigration should be decreased rather than increased, by a nearly two-to-one margin, 41 percent to 22 percent, a new Gallup poll says.

A third of American adults (33 percent) are satisfied with the present immigration level.

Breaking it down by party, Republicans (50 percent) and independents (43 percent) are much more inclined to decrease immigration than Democrats are (32 percent).

Democrats are more inclined to keep immigration at its current level, with 37 percent of them choosing that option, compared with 34 percent of Republicans and 30 percent of independents.

And Only 14 percent of Republicans, 23 percent of independents, and 27 percent of Democrats said they would increase immigration.

But Gallup notes that over time, there has been a steady increase in overall public support for increasing immigration, rising from 10 percent in 1999 to 22 percent today.

Support for increasing immigration has grown significantly more among Americans with college degrees -- those more likely to be aware of the apparent need for importing highly skilled workers -- than it has among those with less formal education.

In response to another question -- "On the whole, do you think immigration is a good thing or a bad thing for this country today?" --  63 percent called it a good thing, down from the high of 72 percent in 2013.

But 33 percent called it a "bad thing," up from 25 percent in 2013.

The bottom line, according to Gallup: "Immigration is central to who Americans are as a people, and what the United States represents, and by and large Americans view immigration as positive for the country. But deciding how many new immigrants to welcome each year can be controversial, particularly when unemployment is high, and seeming competition for good jobs already fierce."

The Gallup poll is based on telephone interviews conducted June 5-8, 2014, on the Gallup Daily tracking survey, with a random sample of 1,027 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

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