SURVEY: Voters Want Bipartisan Action from Democrats and Republicans on Immigration Reform to Help Strengthen Our Economy
On behalf of Hospitality is Working, Global Strategy Group and Public Opinion Strategies partnered to conduct public opinion research of 1,014 voters nationwide. This memo reflects the findings from a survey fielded November 14th through November 21st.
Following the 2022 midterms, voters have serious economic concerns and want Congress to focus on inflation and the workforce shortage like voters want them to. Voters are also not happy with the current immigration system: they understand that it is broken and in crisis. Those surveyed agree the immigration system crisis is more severe than the issues of health care, education, and Social Security/ Medicare. An overwhelming number of voters want Congress to focus on bipartisan immigration solutions as opposed to their own political agendas. There is an historic opportunity for bipartisan action that tackles both the economy and immigration.
After messaging, voters recognize the impact workforce shortages have on the economy and inflation and understand how immigration reform can help solve these issues. Emphasizing bipartisan collaboration as well as how these policies can help the workforce shortage are most compelling to voters – Democrats and Republicans alike. Voters are receptive to these arguments, they understand how much the hotel and leisure industry specifically could benefit from increased legal immigration and support the industry advocating for reform.
Immigration policies that tie into the U.S. economy and help to solve economic pain points – particularly inflation – enjoy bipartisan support from the outset.
Immigration policies with economic frames enjoy vast support. In a series of head-to heads, pro-reform stances that include incorporating more immigrants into the American economy are more popular than their anti-reform opposition:
- Two in three voters (67%) overall and 69% of Democrats, 70% of independents, and 64% of Republicans agree more that “in order to build a dependable and efficient economy, we need to fix our immigration system so that immigrants willing to contribute to our economy can do so legally” over supporting a focus on the economy without any focus paid to immigration (33%).
Voters prioritize securing the border and improving the economy. When asked what the best two reasons to reform immigration are, 33% choose “protecting our borders,” 31% choose “bringing capable workers into our workforce, which in turn will help address the country’s worker shortage,” 30% choose “lessening the surges of illegal immigration,” and 27% choose “ our economy.” For Democrats, it’s the worker shortage (43%); for independents, protecting our borders (32%) and helping the economy (31%); and Republicans, protecting our borders (55%).
When testing a range of policies, we saw that proposals that secure the border as well as create expanded working and citizenship opportunities for immigrants were the most broadly supported. When it comes to policies that will help the economy, however, modernizing the immigration system, increasing the number of working permits granted, and providing expanded citizenship opportunities are seen as strongest.
|% will help the economy||% strongly support|
|Developing a more modern, fair, and orderly process for those immigrants seeking asylum in the United States||66||43|
|Increasing the number of working permits for seasonal workers to legally stay and work in the United States||65||32|
|Increasing the number of working permits for high-skilled workers to legally stay and work in the United States||63||32|
|Providing a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who were brought here as children through no fault of their own||62||42|
|Providing a pathway to citizenship for those undocumented immigrants currently in the U.S. who meet certain requirements like passing a background check||60||36|
|Building a more modern immigration system that helps families in mixed immigration status households, including a mix of citizens, non-citizens, and undocumented immigrants, to remain together legally in the United States||56||33|
A range of proposals including legal status/citizenship are popular across party lines. Bipartisan majorities support proposals that would grant expanded citizenship opportunities or permanent legal status to immigrants living in the United States:
- Two in three voters (67%) – including 78% of Democrats, 65% of independents, and 54% of Republicans – support increasing the annual number of H-2B visas.
- Seven in ten voters (71%) – including 86% of Democrats, 60% of independents, and 58% of Republicans – support creating a path to citizenship for immigrants who currently qualify for Temporary Protected Status (TPS).
- Seven in ten voters (69%) – including 80% of Democrats, 63% of independents, and 57% of Republicans – support allowing all J-1 visa holders (visas that allow visitors to be sponsored by American businesses, agencies, and organizations for education) to legally work in the United States.
At present, immigration is a challenge for Biden and Congress: voters don’t see the government taking action and feel the immigration systems is “broken” and “in crisis.”
Biden and Congress have room to improve on immigration. On “immigration,” Biden is underwater by 16 points (39% approve/55% disapprove) and Congress is underwater by 29 (32% approve/61% disapprove); Biden’s approval ratings on “border security” are even more in the negative at net -19 (37% approve/56% disapprove), and Congress’s approval ratings on the issue are at net -26 (33% approve/59% disapprove).
Likewise, three in four voters (76%) say Congress has not done enough on immigration, including 66% of Democrats, 84% of independents, and 86% of Republicans. Seven in ten voters say “immigration” is in crisis in the United States (73%), and 75% say it is “broken,” worse numbers than voters say about education, health care, and Social Security and Medicare on either metric by comparison. These views are also bipartisan: 60% of Democrats, 76% of independents, and 89% of Republicans say immigration is in crisis, and 62% of Democrats, 79% of independents, and 90% of Republicans say it is “broken.”
The strongest messaging on immigration reform focuses on securing our border and improving our economy at the same time, in the broader framework of the parties working together to get things done for the American people.
After messaging, more voters see immigration as an asset to the American economy. To start, 48% of voters say immigration is good for the economy (including 64% of Democrats, 37% of independents, and 31% of Republicans). However, after voters learn more and hear persuasive messaging, 63% overall say it is good for the economy (a 15-point increase), including 79% of Democrats (15-point increase), 54% of independents (17-point increase) and 46% of Republicans (15-point increase).
Voters support the hospitality industry advocating for bipartisan reform. After reading a pro-reform statement (included below), 69% of voters overall, including 82% of Democrats, 64% of independents, and 55% of Republicans, support the hospitality industry advocating for Congress to pass bipartisan solutions to the immigration crisis to meet their workforce needs – as do 81% of those persuaded to say immigration is good for the economy from neutral/negative views. In a highlighting exercise of the same text, voters are most drawn to the figures of annual GDP and taxes the industry contributes to the economy, “bipartisan immigration reform,” “immigrants who meet certain requirements to legally work,” “and “fill vacancies to meet the demands.”
ABOUT THIS SURVEY
Global Strategy Group and Public Opinion Strategies conducted an online survey of 1,014 registered voters nationwide. The survey had a confidence interval of +/- 3.1%. All interviews were conducted via a web-based panel. Care has been taken to ensure the geographic, political, and demographic divisions of the electorate are properly represented.