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Gallup Poll Shows Big Jump in Public Concern About Immigration

By Melanie Batley   |   Wednesday, 16 Jul 2014 01:56 PM

In the last month, there has been a massive jump in the percentage of Americans who believe immigration is the country's biggest problem, a new poll has found.

In a Gallup poll conducted July 7-10 of 1,013 adults, 17 percent said immigration is the country's biggest problem, compared to last month when just 5 percent considered it to be so.

"Immigration has clearly captured public attention given the political and humanitarian crisis building at the border with the influx of thousands of children from Central and South America seeking refugee status," Gallup said in a statement.

Immigration now virtually ties "dissatisfaction with government" (16 percent), as the primary issue Americans think of when asked to name the country's top problem. It is also the highest the issue has ranked in the Gallup survey since 2006.

"Each previous spike in mentions of immigration as the nation's top problem was fairly short-lived. But with no solution to the current crisis in sight, and less than four months to go before the midterm elections, it is easy to believe the issue could still be a factor come November."

The issue is of particular concern to Republicans and older Americans, according to the poll.

Twenty-three percent of GOP voters said immigration is the biggest problem, compared with just 11 percent of Democrats, which suggests the findings are fueled primarily by concerns about illegal immigration, the poll noted.

"The recent shifts in what Americans perceive to be the nation's top problem could be important. While the 17 percent of Americans naming immigration as the top problem is not large in absolute terms, the fact that the issue is of particular concern to Republicans and older Americans — both groups that Republicans need to turn out in force in the midterms — could be critical to the outcome," the poll concluded.

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