Poll: Midwest Has Strongest Opposition to Cheap-Labor Immigration

Donald Trump may be hoping to win the 2016 election by sweeping the Midwest states — and that’s the region which is most worried about losing jobs and wages to cheap-labor immigration, according to a new survey.

Midwest respondents are far more likely to agree with a statement saying that “immigrants today are a burden on our country because they take our jobs, housing and health care” than were respondents in the South, West or Northeast, according to the July survey by Morning Consult and Vox.com.

In fact, lower-income and middle-income women in the Midwest showed the most concern about the inflow of cheap-labor immigration into their communities, contradicting progressives’ expectations about immigration and “angry white men.”

That could be good for Donald Trump as he ramps up his reformist message that blue-collar and white-collar salaries are being forced down by the crony-capitalist alliance of Democrats and business leaders. “Hillary’s Wall Street immigration agenda will keep immigrant communities poor, and unemployed Americans out of work,” Trump said in June. “She can’t claim to care about African-American and Hispanic workers when she wants to bring in millions of new low-wage workers to compete against them.” 

Ironically, Trump’s immigration reform policies have been validated by a recent Wall Street study that tried to dismiss his economic platform. 

The opposition to cheap-labor immigration spiked again when the poll question narrowed down to jobs: “In general, do you think immigrants in the United States help create jobs, take away jobs, or have no impact on jobs?”

Fifty-five percent of Midwestern respondents picked the “take away jobs,” while only 16 percent picked “create jobs.” The 39-point gap — almost a consensus — was much wider than the other regions. Also, an unusually large slice of respondents — 30 percent — said migrants have no impact, or declared they did not know the impact, suggesting that some people did not want to reveal their preference for less immigration. 

That “take jobs” spike echoes work by Kellyanne Conway, who is now one of Trump’s pollsters. In prior polls, she showed 80 percent opposition to immigration once people were asked whether Americans (and resident legal immigrants) or additional immigrants should get first dibs for new jobs.

In general, polls show that Americans want to like immigration, and want to be seen liking immigrants — but they also want to find a socially acceptable way of demanding less immigration. That socially acceptable way is now being provided by Trump’s focus on jobs, security and a border wall. 

Outside the Midwest, opposition to cheap labor immigration was strong, but less politically important.

The score from the Northeast was 47 percent for “take jobs” and 20 percent “create jobs,” creating a 26-point gap. That’s wide, but not likely wide enough to provide Trump with ballot-box wins in these deep-blue states.

In the South, the scores were 53 percent “take” and 18 percent “create.” That’s a 35-point gap, which is of little use for Trump because these states are likely going to vote GOP anyway. 

In the West, the score was 46 “take” and 41 “create,” leaving only an insignificant 5-point gap

The “burden” question showed similar results.

In the Midwest, 54 percent said immigration was a burden, while 29 percent said it was a benefit. That’s a 25-point gap, advantage Trump.

The South had a 21-point gap, because 52 percent said immigrants were a burden, and only 31 percent said they were a benefit. But the Northeast had only a 6-point gap and the West had only a 5-point gap.

The voters’ willingness to express a tougher stance when asked about jobs vs. the vague issue of “burden,” however, was completely missed by the sponsors of the poll, Vox.com. The left-wing website explained the results as showing “concerns about physical security — crime and terrorism — are more important than concerns about jobs and the economy.”

The Vox/Morning Consult poll also shows that non-GOP women consistently showed more worry about cheap immigrant-labor than did men.

Swing-voting men, for example picked the “take jobs” over the “create jobs” by 44 percent to 22 percent, while women took a harder line — splitting 52 percent to 15 percent. That harder line showed women to be 15 points stronger on the question than men.

The same pattern is true among Democrats, who showed a 11-point gender gap on the “take jobs” side, at 45 percent among women and 34 percent among men. On the GOP side, there was no gap because 69 percent of GOP men and of women believe low-wage immigration cuts jobs for Americans.

Upper income people, nationwide, were less strongly opposed to cheap labor immigration.

For example, 59 percent of blue-collar Americans picked the “take jobs,” versus 14 percent who picked “create jobs.” Among white-collar workers, the split was 47 percent “take” and 24 percent “create.”

When examined by income, people earning below $100,000 a year shared similar views, at roughly 53 percent “take jobs” and 17 percent “create jobs.” People earning more than $100,000 per years split 42 percent “take jobs” and 28 percent “create jobs.”

Overall, registered voters split 52 percent “take jobs” to 18 percent “create jobs.”


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