POLL: Anti-Immigrant Sentiment Driven by Racism, Not Economic Concerns

By Kenrya Rankin Jul 07, 2016

A new poll from Vox and Morning Consult says that people who push back against immigration to America are more worried about their perceived threat of terrorism than economic strain.

When asked about their biggest concern surrounding immigration, 26 percent of the respondents said that it “hurts national security.” Just 18 percent were wringing their hands about the economy. When they were filtered by financial means, even people with household incomes below $50,000 still said that their fear of terrorism trumps their worries about the nation’s financial health. And fully half of the people surveyed said that immigrants are a “burden on our country,” while just 34 percent felt that they strengthen the nation.

The poll also provided insight into how respondents feel about immigrants from various regions of the world:

Americans’ views about immigration differ substantially according to where the immigrants are from; immigrants from Europe and Asia are viewed much more positively than immigrants from Africa and Latin America, and immigrants from the Middle East are viewed least positively of all. The poll also shows that this dynamic is heavily influenced by the specific views of White Americans—while Black and Hispanic Americans evaluate the impact of European and Latin American immigrants similarly, for example, White Americans are much more enthusiastic about immigration from Europe than from Latin America.


Taken together, the results point to a group of people that worries that Middle Eastern and other immigrants are a threat to America’s safety.

See more of the results here.