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America's Immigration Anxiety Amidst A Gloomy Outlook On The Direction Of Country

Immigration takes greater significance.

President Joe Biden tours the renovated White House Situation Room, Tuesday, September 5, 2023, in the West Wing of the White House.(Official White House Photo by Carlos Fyfe)
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  • Over two-thirds express dissatisfaction with the direction of the country
  • Immigration/border security and crime are top concerns
  • Nearly one in two picked the economy as the country's most important issue
  • RELATED: Biden Is Responsible For The Border Mess. Period.

What are Americans' priorities one month into the new year and as they gear up for an election year?

These results are from the latest TIPP Poll, which surveyed 1,402 Americans from January 31 to February 2. The credibility interval for the survey is +/- 2.7 percentage points. The poll asked participants, "What are the top three issues facing the country?"

Nearly four in ten (38%) Americans picked the economy as the country's most important issue, followed by immigration/border security at 36 percent and crime at 19 percent as the other top concerns. Interestingly, the importance of immigration increased sharply from 29% in December to 36% in January and remained at that level in February.

Besides these, one in five respondents (18%) rated gun violence as an issue of concern.

Ten other issues received double-digit scores. National debt/federal government spending (17%), homelessness (17%), trust in government/politicians (16%), climate change (16%), and health care (15%) received 15% or more.

Meanwhile, abortion (14%), home affordability (13%), lack of unity/division (12%), terrorism/national security (11%), and election 2024 (10%) were five other issues that received 10 percent or more.

Mental health (9%), the Israel-Hamas conflict (8%), the Russia/Ukraine situation and global security (8%), and racial justice (6%) fell in the 5% to 10% range.

Coronavirus ranked last with 3%, sharing the bottom two positions with China-U.S. relations (4%).

Only 27% of Americans approve of President Biden's handling of the economy. (Official White House Photo by Oliver Contreras)
Only 19% of Americans approve of President Biden's handling of immigration. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)

Priorities varied along party and ideological lines. However, Democrats, Republicans, and independents share concerns regarding the economy and immigration.

For Democrats, the top issues are:

  • 30% Gun violence/Gun control
  • 28% Economy
  • 24% Climate change
  • 21% Immigration/Border security
  • 20% Abortion
  • 20% Health care

For Republicans, the top priorities are:

  • 55% Immigration/Border security
  • 44% Economy
  • 24% National debt/Federal government spending
  • 22% Crime
  • 20% Trust in government/Politicians

Independents’ priorities:

  • 41% Economy
  • 35% Immigration/Border security
  • 19% National debt/Federal government spending
  • 18% Homelessness
  • 18% Home affordability
  • 18% Trust in government/Politicians

Top Economic Issues

Inflation (49%), food prices (42%), and home affordability (24%) are the top three economic issues facing Americans.

From a list of 21 economy-related issues, the survey respondents picked their top three concerns.

People’s ability to pay their bills (24%), government spending (21%), gasoline prices (20%), recession (15%), tax rates (13%), and rising interest rates (13%) received double-digit responses.

A recent TIPP Poll and Bankrate survey revealed that the majority of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. Their wages have not grown, while stubborn Bidenflation, at 17 percent, has taken a toll on their finances. Only one-third (34%) say they’re better off than four years ago.

President Joe Biden meets with Paul Krugman, economist and OpEd columnist for The New York Times, Monday, August 14, 2023, in the Oval Office of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)

Media, Nobel Laureates, and politicians want to sell the 'economy is milk and honey' narrative in an election year. For example, Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman, a staunch supporter of President Biden, shared his thoughts on inflation in October 2023:

The war on inflation is over. We won, at very little cost

Despite Krugman's erudition and accomplishments, it is crucial not to accept this claim prima facie.

Krugman's claim echoed Mark Twain's famous statement about 'Lies, damned lies, and statistics.' It was based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI), without including food, energy, shelter, and used cars. However, Americans still have to eat, heat their homes, pay for shelter, and buy used cars, especially when affording new cars is challenging in Biden's America.

The chart below illustrates why Americans remain anxious about the economy. The key takeaway here is that Americans continue to experience the impact of inflation and rising food prices. Stay tuned for more lessons in the coming days.

Direction Of Country

Each month, the TIPP Poll probes the general sentiment​ regarding the country’s direction using the survey question, "In general, how satisfied are you with the direction that the country is going in at this time?"

Nearly two-thirds (65%) are dissatisfied with where the country is headed. 37% said they are not at all satisfied, and 28% are not very satisfied. Most Republicans (82%) and independents (71%) expressed dissatisfaction. One-half (53%) of Democrats are satisfied and 42% are dissatisfied.

We also compute a compact index from responses to the question. The index ranges from 0 to 100. A score of 50 or above is positive, below 50 is negative, and 50 is neutral.

Overall, the index entered the negative zone in September 2021 and has remained there for 30 months. The February reading is 34.7.

Democrats have the most optimistic reading, at 53.4. Republicans have the lowest score (20.7), indicating extreme pessimism. Independents are in the middle at 29.2.

Democrats fell 23.9 points from a high of 77.3 in April 2021 to 53.4 this month, a 31% drop.

Republicans' slide began after the elections in November 2020, and they have been posting pessimistic readings (under 50) for 39 months in a row, with a median of 20.4 during Biden's presidency.

Independents’ median during Biden's presidency is 31.4.

The nation is grappling with entrenched core inflation and increasing layoffs. High food prices and stagnant income have left households in dire straits. Government spending has spiraled out of control, resulting in a national debt exceeding $34 trillion.

The U.S. is the most indebted country in the world, as the nation’s debt crossed $34 trillion. The debt clock is racing at $9 billion a day, with Americans paying $1 trillion as interest to service the debt.

Prominent figures such as Ray Dalio, founder of Bridgewater Associates, Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman, and JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon are sounding alarms about this debt spiral. Still, their concerns seem to fall on deaf ears among politicians who advocate for more spending. Meanwhile, uncontrolled immigration and rising crime rates are exacerbating the situation.

Americans’ frustrations make President Biden’s second term look more unlikely than likely, at least for now, as more people miss President Trump than approve of Biden's policies.

Our performance in 2020 for accuracy as rated by Washington Post:

Source: Washington Post