Fox News Poll: Immigration, economy top list of voter concerns

Immigration is a top priority for Republicans, but there are divisions within the party on some recent policy proposals. For example, Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says President Trump’s idea of closing the southern border to pressure Mexico to stop the flow of migrants would have a “potentially catastrophic economic impact” on the country.  Yet the latest Fox News Poll finds 75 percent of Republicans think shutting the border is a good idea.

Overall, by a 12-point margin, voters say closing the border is a bad idea (41 good vs. 53 bad), and by a 24-point spread they believe immigration helps rather than hurts the country (48-24 percent).

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When asked the most important issue facing the country, 21 percent of voters cite immigration and 10 percent the economy.  Those are the only issues garnering double-digit mentions.  Health care (9 percent), climate change (6 percent) and race relations (5 percent) round out the top five.

Republicans’ views are pushing immigration to the top spot, as 38 percent say it is the most important problem, followed by the economy at 10 percent.  Only 7 percent of Democrats prioritize immigration, as their top issues are health care (13 percent) and climate change (11 percent).

A third of voters (33 percent) have a favorable view of sanctuary cities, while nearly half, 45 percent, view them negatively.

The president says he is considering putting illegal immigrants in sanctuary cities.

On the administration’s treatment of illegal immigrants, 41 percent say it is being “too tough,” while 25 percent say “not tough enough,” and 27 percent say it is “about right.”

The largest portion of voters, 43 percent, believes the administration is “too tough” in dealing with migrants seeking asylum, while 17 percent say it is “not tough enough” and 32 percent say “about right.”

Republicans, though, feel differently: almost half feel Trump is “not tough enough” on illegal immigrants (46 percent) and striking the right balance with asylum seekers (55 percent).

On voters’ second priority, the economy, 44 percent say it is in excellent or good shape.  That’s up 11 points from 33 percent at the 100-day mark of the Trump administration (April 2017).

Still, there is work to do.  A majority, 54 percent, thinks the economy is in negative condition.

“There are massive rifts with certain groups feeling much better about the economy than others,” says Democratic Pollster Chris Anderson, who conducts the Fox News Poll with Republican Daron Shaw.

“Men, whites, high-income voters and, most notably, Republicans, are very positive on the economy, while on the other side, women, non-whites, lower-income households, Democrats, and independents are negative.”

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In addition, a growing number are dissatisfied with how things are going in the country:  58 percent are unhappy, up from 55 percent last April and 53 percent two years ago (April 2017).

About equal numbers think the economy will get better (27 percent) during the next year as expect it will get worse (25 percent).  The highest share, 42 percent, think it will stay the same.

Conducted April 14-16, 2019 under the joint direction of Beacon Research (D) and Shaw & Company (R), this Fox News Poll includes interviews with 1,005 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide who spoke with live interviewers on both landlines and cellphones.  The poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points for all registered voters.