Americas

Americans Have Become More Negative on Impact of Immigrants

Hispanics remain much more positive than whites or blacks

GALLUP NEWS SERVICE

PRINCETON, NJ -- Americans have become more negative about the impact of immigrants on various dimensions of life in the United States than was the case in the earlier years of this decade. Americans continue to believe that immigrants to the United States have improved food, music, and the arts, although less so than in 2001 and 2002. Americans say that immigrants have had little net impact on taxes either way. On the other hand, Americans believe that immigrants have tended to make crime, the economy, social and moral values, and job opportunities worse rather than better. The perceived impact of immigrants on all of these except job opportunities has become more negative this year.

The more negative views of immigrants may, to a significant degree, reflect the overall mood of Americans this year. Most of Gallup's broad measures, at this point, are very negative -- including ratings of overall satisfaction, ratings of the economy, and ratings of the president and Congress.

The high visibility given to national efforts to reform policies dealing with illegal immigration may also have had an effect on overall attitudes toward immigration.

These results are based on a question asked in Gallup's annual Minority Rights and Relations survey. The poll was conducted June 4-24, 2007, interviewing 2,388 adults nationwide, including 868 non-Hispanic whites, 802 non-Hispanic blacks, and 502 Hispanics. The total sample is weighted to reflect the proper proportions of each group in the U.S. population. About one-quarter of the interviews with Hispanics were conducted in Spanish, with the remainder in English.

The basic results of the question on the impact of immigration are as follows:

For each of the following areas, please say whether immigrants to the United States are making the situation in the country better or worse, or not having much effect. How about -- [RANDOM ORDER]?

 

2007 Jun 4-24
based on "better"
(sorted by "total")

Better

Worse

Not much effect

Net better minus worse

%

%

%

Food, music, and the arts

40

9

46

31

The economy in general

28

46

23

-18

Social and moral values

19

37

41

-18

Job opportunities for you and your family

12

34

52

-22

Taxes

11

55

28

-44

The crime situation

4

58

34

-54

As can be seen, ratings of the impact of the six areas tested vary widely.

In terms of the perceived net impact of immigrants -- the percentage who say things have been made better minus the percentage who say things have been made worse -- the range is from a net plus of 31 points for "food, music, and the arts" to a minus 54 points for "the crime situation."

More generally, only one area is in net positive territory -- food, music, and the arts. The others are all in negative territory.

The trends on most of the dimensions tested have become more negative compared to earlier this decade. The only dimension to show no significant change has been job opportunities. Americans even rate the lone item they see immigrants as changing for the better -- food, music, and the arts -- less positively than they did in 2001.

 

For each of the following areas, please say whether immigrants to the United States are making the situation in the country better or worse, or not having much effect.
Net: % better minus % worse

Crime

Job opportunities

Food, music, and the arts

Economy

Taxes

Social and moral values

Total

2007 Jun 4-24

-54

-22

31

-18

-44

-18

2004 Jun 9-30

-41

-26

34

-19

-33

-9

2002 Jun 3-9

-42

-23

44

-4

-38

-5

2001 Jun 11-17

-43

-20

50

0

-34

1

There are significant differences by race and ethnic groups in these perceptions:

 

For each of the following areas, please say whether immigrants to the United States are making the situation in the country better or worse, or not having much effect.
Net: % better minus % worse

2007 Jun 4-24

Total

Non-Hispanic Whites

Blacks

Hispanics

Food, music, and the arts

31

29

20

60

The economy in general

-18

-25

-30

30

Social and moral values

-18

-26

-13

23

Job opportunities for you and your family

-22

-27

-38

16

Taxes

-44

-54

-44

8

The crime situation

-54

-61

-49

-30

On every dimension, Hispanics are much more positive about the impact of immigrants than are non-Hispanic whites and blacks. The only dimension on which Hispanics have a net negative rating of the impact of immigrants is the crime situation. The more positive views of Hispanics may not be surprising, given that 46% of Hispanics in the sample were themselves not born in the United States.

Blacks are more negative than whites (and Hispanics) about the impact of immigrants on job opportunities, and slightly more negative than whites about the impact of immigrants on the economy. On the other hand, blacks are less negative than whites on each of the other dimensions included in the survey.

Bottom Line

The data make it clear that Americans are more negative about the impact of immigrants on life in the United States than they have been in the previous years of this decade. Americans have become particularly more negative about immigration's impact on food, music, and the arts, social and moral values, and the economy.

There is little doubt that two factors are related to these more negative attitudes. First, there is the intense focus on immigration and its effects brought about by the debate on immigration reform legislation that was in full swing as these interviews were being conducted. Second, Americans are more negative in general these days than they have been -- attitudes that, to a degree, affect many dimensions tested in polling questions.

Hispanics, about half of whom are immigrants themselves (and most of whose parents or grandparents were immigrants), are much more positive about the net impact of immigration than non-Hispanic whites and blacks. Blacks in turn, are more negative than whites about the impact of immigrants on job opportunities, although generally more positive about the other dimensions tested.

Survey Methods

Results are based on telephone interviews with 2,388 adults nationwide, aged 18 and older, conducted June 4-24, 2007, including oversamples of blacks and Hispanics that are weighted to reflect their proportions in the general population. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±5 percentage points.

For results based on sample of 868 non-Hispanic whites, the maximum margin of sampling error is ±7 percentage points.

For results based on sample of 802 blacks, the maximum margin of sampling error is ±6 percentage points.

For results based on sample of 502 Hispanics, the maximum margin of sampling error is ±6 percentage points (138 out of the 502 interviews with Hispanics were conducted in Spanish).

In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

For each of the following areas, please say whether immigrants to the United States are making the situation in the country better or worse, or not having much effect. How about -- [RANDOM ORDER]?

 

2007 Jun 4-24
based on "better"
(sorted by "total")

Total

Non-Hispanic Whites

Blacks

Hispanics

%

%

%

%

Food, music, and the arts

40

37

34

65

The economy in general

28

24

22

55

Social and moral values

19

14

18

42

Job opportunities for you and your family

12

7

11

37

Taxes

11

5

10

42

The crime situation

4

2

3

11

Q.15 Full Results and Trends:

A. The crime situation

 

Better

Worse

Not much effect

No opinion

Total

%

%

%

%

2007 Jun 4-24

4

58

34

4

2004 Jun 9-30

6

47

43

4

2002 Jun 3-9

8

50

37

5

2001 Jun 11-17

7

50

38

5

Non-Hispanic Whites

2007 Jun 4-24

2

63

31

4

2004 Jun 9-30

4

49

45

2

2002 Jun 3-6

6

52

37

5

2001 Jun 11-17

5

54

37

4

Blacks

2007 Jun 4-24

3

52

40

5

2004 Jun 9-30

5

44

45

6

2002 Jun 3-9

9

49

37

5

2001 Jun 11-17

9

44

41

6

Hispanics

2007 Jun 4-24

11

41

41

7

2004 Jun 9-30

12

44

36

8

2002 Jun 3-9

18

41

34

7

2001 Jun 11-17

12

47

33

8

B. Job opportunities for you and your family

 

Better

Worse

Not much effect

No opinion

Total

%

%

%

%

2007 Jun 4-24

12

34

52

2

2004 Jun 9-30

11

37

51

1

2002 Jun 3-9

14

37

46

3

2001 Jun 11-17

15

31

50

4

Non-Hispanic Whites

2007 Jun 4-24

7

34

57

2

2004 Jun 9-30

6

38

55

1

2002 Jun 3-6

10

37

50

3

2001 Jun 11-17

12

32

53

3

Blacks

2007 Jun 4-24

11

49

37

3

2004 Jun 9-30

9

49

39

3

2002 Jun 3-9

14

48

36

2

2001 Jun 11-17

20

38

41

1

Hispanics

2007 Jun 4-24

37

21

39

3

2004 Jun 9-30

34

28

36

2

2002 Jun 3-9

39

25

33

3

2001 Jun 11-17

42

18

37

3

C. Food, music, and the arts

 

Better

Worse

Not much effect

No opinion

Total

%

%

%

%

2007 Jun 4-24

40

9

46

4

2004 Jun 9-30

44

10

42

4

2002 Jun 3-9

54

10

31

5

2001 Jun 11-17

58

8

29

5

Non-Hispanic Whites

2007 Jun 4-24

37

8

51

5

2004 Jun 9-30

42

11

43

4

2002 Jun 3-6

53

10

32

5

2001 Jun 11-17

59

8

28

5

Blacks

2007 Jun 4-24

34

14

46

6

2004 Jun 9-30

29

12

56

3

2002 Jun 3-9

47

11

37

5

2001 Jun 11-17

54

10

33

3

Hispanics

2007 Jun 4-24

65

5

28

1

2004 Jun 9-30

65

5

27

3

2002 Jun 3-9

69

5

21

5

2001 Jun 11-17

72

3

23

2

D. The economy in general

 

Better

Worse

Not much effect

No opinion

Total

%

%

%

%

2007 Jun 4-24

28

46

23

3

2004 Jun 9-30

22

41

34

3

2002 Jun 3-9

32

36

28

4

2001 Jun 11-17

32

32

31

5

Non-Hispanic Whites

2007 Jun 4-24

24

49

24

3

2004 Jun 9-30

18

42

37

3

2002 Jun 3-6

29

37

30

4

2001 Jun 11-17

29

34

32

5

Blacks

2007 Jun 4-24

22

52

21

5

2004 Jun 9-30

16

47

31

6

2002 Jun 3-9

25

47

24

4

2001 Jun 11-17

27

39

31

3

Hispanics

2007 Jun 4-24

55

25

17

3

2004 Jun 9-30

48

29

20

3

2002 Jun 3-9

53

22

23

2

2001 Jun 11-17

42

23

29

6

E. Taxes

 

Better

Worse

Not much effect

No opinion

Total

%

%

%

%

2007 Jun 4-24

11

55

28

6

2004 Jun 9-30

12

45

38

5

2002 Jun 3-9

12

50

31

7

2001 Jun 11-17

12

46

34

8

Non-Hispanic Whites

2007 Jun 4-24

5

59

30

6

2004 Jun 9-30

8

46

42

4

2002 Jun 3-6

9

52

32

7

2001 Jun 11-17

10

48

34

8

Blacks

2007 Jun 4-24

10

54

29

7

2004 Jun 9-30

10

48

34

8

2002 Jun 3-9

14

54

25

7

2001 Jun 11-17

12

50

32

6

Hispanics

2007 Jun 4-24

42

34

19

5

2004 Jun 9-30

34

34

25

7

2002 Jun 3-9

29

31

33

7

2001 Jun 11-17

40

26

25

9

F. Social and moral values

 

Better

Worse

Not much effect

No opinion

Total

%

%

%

%

2007 Jun 4-24

19

37

41

3

2004 Jun 9-30

18

27

50

5

2002 Jun 3-9

25

30

39

6

2001 Jun 11-17

25

26

45

4

Non-Hispanic Whites

2007 Jun 4-24

14

40

42

3

2004 Jun 9-30

14

29

51

6

2002 Jun 3-6

22

32

41

5

2001 Jun 11-17

22

29

45

4

Blacks

2007 Jun 4-24

18

31

46

5

2004 Jun 9-30

16

23

55

6

2002 Jun 3-9

27

31

34

8

2001 Jun 11-17

26

20

50

4

Hispanics

2007 Jun 4-24

42

19

35

4

2004 Jun 9-30

38

21

37

4

2002 Jun 3-9

39

17

37

7

2001 Jun 11-17

45

17

34

4

Gallup http://www.gallup.com/poll/28132/Americans-Become-More-Negative-Impact-Immigrants.aspx Gallup World Headquarters, 901 F Street, Washington, D.C., 20001, U.S.A +1 202.715.3030