Two-thirds of registered voters want to send 'more law enforcement and military' to border: poll

Three quarters of Americans believe illegal immigration is bad for country, while exact percentage thinks legal migration is good.

Published: December 26, 2022 4:18pm

Updated: December 26, 2022 11:06pm

Americans overwhelmingly favor immigration — as long as it's legal. And whatever their feelings about COVID-19 policies, they're willing to use pandemic restrictions to keep out illegal immigrants.

Those are among the surprising findings from a survey of 1,200 registered voters by pollster Scott Rasmussen earlier this month, which also found President Joe Biden's disapproval rating stubbornly stuck above 50% a month after midterm elections.

The same percentage of registered voters — 74% — believe legal immigration is "good" for America and illegal immigration is "bad," while 13% each believe immigration regardless of legal status is good or bad. The vast middle (61%) support legal but not illegal immigration.

Sixty-one percent also favor utilizing Title 42, which is intended to keep immigrants from bringing COVID into the U.S., to keep out illegal immigrants regardless of COVID infection. The poll wording says this is one way Title 42 is used "in practice." 

The biggest demographic proportions in the survey are adults 18-34 (24%) and 65-plus (25%), with women (53%) outnumbering men (47%) across ages. Republicans constitute 43% and Democrats 36%, including each party's "leaners," plus 21% choosing "other."

Rasmussen said the sample was "lightly weighted by geography, gender, age, race, education, internet usage, and political party to reasonably reflect the nation’s population of Registered Voters." The margin of error is plus or minus 2.8 percentage points.

Just one in five registered voters (21%) believes the southern border is secure, while a majority (54%) believes it's not. A majority also believes "most Democrats in Congress today" are not "seriously trying to secure the border and reduce illegal immigration" (52%), while a plurality (43%) believes most Republicans are seriously trying.

Nearly three in four (73%) agree that "a significant number of drug traffickers, human traffickers, and other threats to national security" are among the "gotaways" who illegally cross the border and "attempt to evade authorities." Seventy-five percent want to designate drug cartels as terrorists.

The poll claims without attribution that about 75,000 gotaways enter the U.S. each month before asking voters if the U.S. should "send more law enforcement officers and military personnel to the border" to reduce this number. Sixty-eight percent agreed, though a slim majority (52%) disagreed with diverting air marshals to the border.

The good news for President Biden is that his yearlong underwater polling has been steadily declining since July, when his disapproval rating reached a high of 57%.

The net difference between Biden's positive and negative rating was cut in half between polling Dec. 6-8 (-15%) and Dec. 8-9 (-7%), the first time the net negative has dipped under 10 percentage points since June. The last time the gap was that narrow in Rasmussen polling was December 2021 (-8%).

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