The 2016 election has many political and social issues, from big business corruption to illegal immigration — to taxation and amnesty plans.
This is one of the first elections in modern times with immigration at the forefront, primarily due to the campaigning of maverick businessman-turned-politician, Donald Trump.
And while Americans tend to believe that we are the land of golden opportunity, where immigrants flock to both legally and illegally, most of the world sees immigration as a significant problem.
When considering the world at large, a recent Gallup study found that 29% thought immigrants took jobs away from native citizens, while 27% believed immigrants took the jobs native citizens didn’t want. The remainder either answered both as true (18%) or didn’t know (26%).
Americans, however, are more likely (68%) to believe that immigrants take jobs Americans do not want, which which places America in the highest category of acceptance to immigration.
Most of the richer nations have similar views, while poorer nations hold quite the opposite opinions. In general, the poorer the nation, the less receptive to outside immigrants the natives become.
It’s hard not to make implications in the 2016 presidential race with these new figures in hand; especially when considering the fact that the current Republican platform is bucking the polling data.
This is not completely unusual. For instance, President Obama went against overwhelming poll numbers in his veto of the Keystone XL pipeline. Elected officials and candidates don’t always follow the perceived will of the people.
But this is a case where many of the Republican candidates are going against the majority of their own party.
While the Gallup study is on immigration in general, there is also detailed polling solely on the issue of illegal immigration.
Pew Research recently found that 72% of Americans are in favor of some form of amnesty for illegal immigrants currently living in the U.S. — including 56% of Republicans.
Independents overwhelmingly supported some form of amnesty (76%) — and these independents, along with swing voters, are most likely going to decide the 2016 election.
As with any economic polling data, a sharp downturn in the economy could change these numbers by Election Day. But a year out it seems that making a lot of noise about curbing illegal immigration, especially with deportation, is more likely to hurt a candidate in the general election than help them.