The Border Crisis is Front and Center in Battleground States and Even Liberals Have Had Enough

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Despite economic issues dominating voters’ minds this election year, the unprecedented chaos at the southern border is forcing immigration into the spotlight, and nearly two-thirds of voters blame Biden for the border crisis. 

A blistering new Bloomberg News/Morning Consult survey shows the share of voters who say immigration will be the most important issue to them on election day has risen in six of the seven swing states polled.  

According to the survey, 61% of swing state voters say Biden is responsible for the unprecedented number of illegal immigrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, while only 30% blame Trump. 

In addition, voters in battleground states trust Trump over Biden to handle the immigration crisis by 22 percentage points, 52% to 30%.  

A growing majority of swing state voters believe illegal immigration overall hurts the U.S. economy as well. By a margin of 64% to 27% Americans say illegal immigration is a net negative for the economy. 

Biden voters are one of the few groups to insist illegal immigration helps the economy by a modest margin. Those who voted for Biden in 2020 say by a margin of 44% to 42% that illegal immigration helps the economy. This is a very close margin for Biden voters and indicates even left-wing Democrats are beginning to question the porous border’s impact on the economy.  

There has been an incremental decline in the belief that illegal immigration helps the economy between 2016 Clinton voters and 2020 Biden voters. Those who cast their support for Clinton in 2016 say illegal immigration is a net positive 47% to 38%, a few percentage-points more than 2020 Biden voters say so.  

Democratic women are also more likely to be critical of illegal immigration than Democrat men, with Democrat women narrowly saying illegal immigration is a net negative by a margin of 43% to 40%, while Democrat men say illegal immigration is a net positive 47% to 37%.  

Men who consider themselves Independents strongly assert that illegal immigration is a net negative on the economy, saying so by a margin of 57% to 33%. 

Voters who did not support either Trump or Biden in 2020 also strongly assert that illegal immigration is a net negative for the economy, saying so by a margin of 58% to 27%. 

Suburbanites overwhelmingly assert that illegal immigration is a net negative for the economy, saying so by a margin of 65% to 25%. Rural voters say so by an even wider margin – 74% to 18%. Even urbanites agree that illegal immigration is a net negative for the economy by a margin of 54% to 35%. In addition, urban women are more assertive about the negative consequences of illegal immigration than men are. Urban women say illegal immigration overall hurts the economy by a margin of 55% to 32%, while urban men say so by a margin of 53% to 38%. Urban men are six points more likely to say illegal immigration helps the economy than urban women are. 

These figures indicate there are nuanced views on the harmful impact of illegal immigration even among culturally or geographically liberal groups. Overall, the public is increasingly critical of the swell of illegal immigrants entering the country and blame the Biden Administration for it.  

Swing states are focused on immigration, and as we noted a few weeks ago, even those that sit nowhere near the southern border are increasingly determined to curb illegal immigration. Pennsylvanians, for instance, are around 14 points more likely to say the border is in crisis (59%) than the country as whole (45%), according to a recent Quinnipiac poll. Other states are following suit and escalating the border issue this election year.  

Manzanita Miller is an associate analyst at Americans for Limited Government Foundation. 

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