Almost half of Americans now say immigrants help rather than hurt economy: Poll

Irshad Salim — Nearly half of Americans think immigrants help the economy rather than hurt it, according to a new survey conducted by Gallup.

The latest poll out Thursday finds 49 percent of American adults now think immigrants mostly help U.S. economy by providing low-cost labor.

Another 40 percent, however, think immigrants hurt the economy by driving down wages.

Pollsters also found that 72 percent of U.S. adults think immigrants take jobs Americans don’t want, compared to just 18 percent who say the opposite.

Sixty percent of Americans don’t think immigration has any effect on their own job. A majority, 54 percent, also thinks immigration doesn’t have any effect on the business or organization in which they work.

Along political divide, pollsters found a majority of Democrats, 59 percent, says immigrants help the economy, but only 28 percent of Republicans agree.

The poll also reveals Americans are more positive now than a decade ago about the effects that immigration has on the U.S. This increase in positivity is seen across six different aspects of life in the U.S., spanning the economy, culture and jobs situation.

These results are a marked departure from 2007 when Americans were more likely to say they preferred a decrease in immigration to the U.S. than an increase.

A majority of Americans now say immigrants have a positive effect on food, music and the arts (57%), while nearly half say immigration benefits the economy in general (45%) — with both of these measures up 17 percentage points from 2007.

The poll was conducted from June 7 to 11 among 1,009 adults.

The poll also show that one in four Americans (25%) say the most important problem facing U.S. is the government, putting it at the top of the list of their concerns for June. This is up from 18% in May.

Only once in Gallup’s nearly 80-year history of asking the “most important problem” question have more than 26% of respondents named government as the most important problem facing the country. That was in October 2013, during the Oct. 1-16 government shutdown, when 33% of Americans said this about the government.

The latest data come from Gallup’s June 7-11 survey, conducted as the Trump administration faces continued controversy over Russian interference in the most recent presidential election and the firing of former FBI Director James Comey.

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