Gallup: Record Percentage Say Immigration Top Problem for USA

Terence P. Jeffrey | July 19, 2018 | 12:33pm EDT
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(U.S. Border Patrol photo)

( - A record 22 percent of Americans said this month that they believe “immigration/illegal aliens” is the most important problem facing the United States, according to Gallup polling numbers released on Wednesday.

“The 22 percent of Americans in July who say immigration is the top problem is up from 14 percent in June and is the highest percentage naming that issue in Gallup's history of asking the ‘most important problem’ question,” Gallup Editor in Chief Frank Newport said in an analysis of the survey.

“The previous high had been 19%,” Newport said.

From July 1 to July 11, Gallup asked a random sample of 1,033 adults living in the United States this open-ended question: “What do you think is the most important problem facing this country today?”

Fifteen categories of responses were offered by at least 2 percent of respondents. These were: “Immigration/illegal aliens” (22 percent); “Dissatisfaction with government/Poor leadership” (19 percent); “Race relations/Racism” (7 percent); “Unifying the country” (6 percent); “Lack of respect for each other (6 percent); “Economy in general (4 percent); “Ethics/moral/religious/family decline (3 percent); “Healthcare” (3 percent); “Poverty/Hunger/Homelessness (2 percent); “Guns/Gun control” (2 percent); “Education” (2 percent); “Judicial system/Courts/Laws” (2 percent); “Environment/Pollution” (2 percent); Unemployment/Jobs (2 percent); “Federal Budget deficit/Federal debt” (2 percent).

Newport noted in his analysis that the previous high of 19 percent citing immigration as the most important problem occurred in 2006 when Congress was debating a major immigration bill.

“Immigration reached 19 percent of mentions as the top problem facing the nation in April 2006, as Congress was wrestling with the effort to pass a comprehensive immigration bill and as immigration protests in cities across the country dominated news coverage,” Newport said.

In April 2004, according to Gallup, only 2 percent had considered “immigration/illegal aliens” the nation’s most important problem. That month, the top response for most important problem was the “situation in Iraq/Fear of war,” which was named by 26 percent of respondents.

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