Immigration has become one of the most discussed and contentious issues this election season, with Democrats seeking to allow asylum-seekers from the war-torn regions into the United States and the Republicans countering the resettlement proposals by closing their doors on refugees.
The political hullabaloo over the entire situation has apparently affected the public’s opinion on the matter as well. In fact, according to a recent survey, more than half of the Americans actually believe that immigration (even the legal immigration) threatens the country.
Apparently, this concern is highest among baby boomers and lowest among millennials. However, when it comes to education, people with only high school diploma or some college education are worried about immigrants jeopardizing America. Geographically, the belief was the highest in the South, including Texas.
The poll conducted by management consulting firm A.T. Kearney and released to Bloomberg Business also reveals public cynicism over a wide range of issues, including the economy and presidential elections.
Of the 2,590 respondents, about 58 percent said they were not confident in the U.S. economy’s “ability to return to stronger growth,” while 52 percent believed the “U.S. businesses will be increasingly uncompetitive.” Also, 51 percent are of the opinion their vote doesn’t matter because “politics in Washington will never change.”
Meanwhile, 85 percent agreed with the statement “technological progress in a range of sectors will boost U.S. productivity and economic growth.”
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“American public opinion is very much in a state of flux,” stated Paul Laudicina, the head of the Global Business Policy Council. “You can make a case that people are more reasonable and more optimistic than you would be willing to guess based on the nature of the political dialogue.”
The analyst opined the current political climate might also account for the immigration fears.
“Given what's going on in the national discourse and the desperate state of national politics ... it makes people vulnerable to jingoistic sloganeering,” he added.
Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump’s bigoted stance on migrants and refugees — particularly Muslims and Mexicans — may have prompted harsh reactions and criticism, but it has also won him favor of scores of Americans. Therefore, the findings of this survey are not as shocking.
However, what’s worrisome is the fact that respondents showed concern about all kinds of immigration — including legal immigration, which even Trump supports.
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