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Prri American Values Essay

I. Executive Summary

Current Controversies: Sexual Harassment, the National Anthem, Confederate Monuments, and Bias in the Media

Seven in ten (70%) Americans say that recent stories about women being sexually harassed and assaulted in the workplace are part of a broader pattern of how women are often treated, while about one-quarter (24%) say that they are isolated incidents.
• Nearly eight in ten (78%) women, and more than six in ten (63%) men, say that recent reports of sexual harassment and assault are not isolated incidents.
• More than seven in ten Democrats (77%) and independents (73%) say these stories reflect a broader pattern. Roughly six in ten (59%) Republicans agree.

There is a vast partisan divide in views of many current controversies:
• More than eight in ten (86%) Republicans say that athletes should be required to stand during the national anthem, while fewer than one-third (32%) of Democrats agree.
• More than eight in ten (84%) Republicans believe Confederate monuments are symbols of Southern pride rather than racism, a view shared by only 40% of Democrats.
• Roughly eight in ten (79%) Republicans believe most reporters have a personal or political agenda, compared to only 31% of Democrats.

Evaluations of Trump’s Presidency and Support for Impeachment

A majority (53%) of the public does not believe Trump is looking out for their interests, while close to half (46%) say he is doing this at least somewhat well.
• A majority (54%) of white Americans and four in ten (40%) Hispanics believe Trump is looking out for them at least somewhat well, but only 11% of black Americans agree.

Donald Trump gets low marks from the public on his job performance as president. About four in ten (41%) Americans approve of the job he is doing, while a majority (54%) disapprove.
• Among those who approve of Trump’s job performance, nearly four in ten (37%) say there is almost nothing the president could do to lose their approval.
• Among those who disapprove of Trump’s job performance, approximately six in ten (61%) say there is almost nothing the president could do to win their approval.

Four in ten (40%) Americans say that, based on what they have heard or read, President Trump should be impeached and removed from office. A majority (56%) of the public disagrees. Support for impeachment has been stable since the summer, when an identical number of Americans (40%) expressed the view that Trump should be impeached.
• Women express greater support for impeachment than men. Women are evenly divided over whether Trump should be impeached (48% favor, 48% oppose), while fewer than one in three (31%) men favor this action. Close to two-thirds (65%) of men say Trump should not be impeached.
• More than seven in ten (72%) black Americans and a majority (52%) of Hispanic Americans say the president should be impeached. Fewer than one-third (31%) of white Americans favor impeachment.

Trump and the Republican Party

More than six in ten (63%) Republicans say they would prefer Trump be the Republican Party’s nominee for the 2020 election, compared to approximately one-third (31%) who say they would prefer another Republican candidate.

Republicans have more confidence in Trump’s policies than those of the GOP overall. Two-thirds (67%) of Republicans say Trump’s policies are moving the country in the right direction, while only 55% of Republicans say the same about the Republican Party.

Trump is well-regarded among Republicans, but he fares particularly well among those who have a strong attachment to the GOP. More than nine in ten (91%) “strong” Republicans approve of the job Trump is doing as president, including 67% who strongly approve.

Despite his low approval ratings, Trump retains considerable support among those who identify with or lean towards the Republican Party:
• 18% are Never Trump, neither supporting him in the 2016 GOP primary nor for 2020;
• 23% are leaning away from Trump, having supported him in the 2016 GOP primary but not for 2020;
• 19% are leaning toward Trump, not having supported him in the 2016 GOP primary but now supporting him for 2020; and
• 40% are Always Trump, supporting him both in the 2016 GOP primary and for 2020.

A few notable traits stand out among these Republican subgroups:
• The Never Trump group is significantly more likely than other Republican subgroups to identify as Mormon (11%).
• The Always Trump group is made up mostly of those who are most strongly committed to the Republican Party. A majority (55%) of those who are Always Trump identify as strong Republicans, compared to only 38% of those leaning towards Trump, 22% of those leaning away from Trump, and 22% of those in the Never Trump group.
• Republicans leaning away from Trump are disproportionately likely to be nonwhite — only 59% are white. About four in ten are black (6%), Hispanic (21%), or identify as other or mixed race (14%). Conversely, 85% of the Always Trump group are white, non-Hispanic.

Negative Partisanship and the 2018 Midterm Elections

Democratic candidates currently have a notable advantage over Republican candidates running for Congress in 2018 among registered voters. Forty-four percent of voters say if the 2018 elections were being held today they would support the Democratic candidate, while 37% say they would support the Republican candidate in their district. Six percent say they would opt for a third-party candidate, and 14% offer no opinion.
• More than half (51%) of women voters express a preference for the Democratic candidate, while only 31% say they would cast their vote for the Republican candidate in their district.
• Men are more likely to favor the Republican candidate than the Democratic candidate, but by a much narrower margin (43% vs. 36%, respectively).

There is a striking near equivalence in how Republicans and Democrats view the policies of the other party.
Republicans say the following about the policies of the Democratic Party:
• Five percent: Are moving the country in the right direction
• 39%: Misguided but not necessarily dangerous
• 52%: Policies are so misguided they pose a threat to the country
Likewise, Democrats say the following about the policies of the Republican Party:
• Five percent: Are moving the country in the right direction
• 38%: Misguided but not necessarily dangerous
• 54%: Policies are so misguided they pose a threat to the country

Nearly half (46%) of Americans say Trump’s policies are so misguided they constitute a serious threat to the country. Twenty-two percent say they are simply misguided, not dangerous. Only 29% say they move the country in the right direction.
• Two-thirds (67%) of Republicans say Trump’s policies are moving the country in the right direction, compared to 19% who say they are misguided but not dangerous and 10% who say they pose a threat to the country.
• By contrast, only seven percent of Democrats believe Trump’s policies move the country in the right direction. Nearly one in five (18%) Democrats believe Trump’s policies are misguided but not dangerous, while fully three-quarters (75%) believe Trump’s policies constitute a serious threat to the country.

Policies: Taxes, Health Care, the Budget Deficit, and Immigration

Few Americans believe that the president’s tax proposal will help them or their family financially. Only 15% say the proposed policy will help them a lot, while 30% say it will help a little. Nearly half (48%) of the public say Trump’s tax policy will not be of any benefit to them at all.

Nearly six in ten (59%) Americans agree that the government should guarantee health insurance for all of its citizens, even if it means raising taxes, while four in ten (40%) disagree.
• More than three-quarters (78%) of Democrats agree that the government should guarantee health insurance for all citizens, even if it means raising taxes, compared to only about one-third (32%) of Republicans.
• Notably, Republican opposition to government-guaranteed health insurance has declined nine percentage points since 2013, from 75% to 66%.

No issue is considered a more important priority by the public than reducing health care costs. Close to half (46%) of the public, including 41% of Republicans and 51% of Democrats, say this should be the highest priority for President Trump and Congress next year.
• Half (50%) of Americans now say they are somewhat or very worried that they or someone in their family will lose health insurance coverage in the next year. Nearly half (48%) say they are not too worried or not at all worried about this happening.

Concern about the budget deficit has fallen precipitously over the past few years, primarily due to its dramatic decline in priority among Republicans. In 2013, more than seven in ten (71%) Republicans said this issue should be the top priority. Only 37% say this today.

On immigration issues, there is bipartisan support for the basic policy provisions of DACA, but deep partisan divides over other immigration-related policies that have been put forward by Trump:
• More than seven in ten (72%) Americans — including 63% of Republicans and 81% of Democrats — favor allowing illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children to gain legal resident status if they join the military or go to college. Support for this policy has increased substantially from 57% in 2011.
• Nearly two-thirds (66%) of Republicans favor temporarily preventing people from some majority Muslim countries from entering the country, a view shared by 23% of Democrats. More than seven in ten (72%) Democrats, as well as 55% of Americans overall, oppose this policy.
• A majority (56%) of Republicans favor preventing refugees from entering the country, compared to only 25% of Democrats. More than seven in ten (72%) Democrats, as well as 59% of the public, oppose this policy.

II. Current Controversies: The National Anthem, Confederate Monuments, Sexual Harassment, and Trust in the Media

Protests during the National Anthem

Most (55%) Americans believe that professional athletes should be required to stand during the national anthem at sporting events. About four in ten (42%) Americans say that professional athletes should not be required to stand during the national anthem.

However, views vary dramatically by race, ethnicity, and education. About six in ten white (61%) and Hispanic Americans (60%) say professional athletes should be required to stand during the national anthem, but only about one-quarter (23%) of black Americans say the same.1 Three-quarters (75%) of black Americans do not believe athletes should be required to stand for the national anthem. There are sizable differences among whites by education. Nearly seven in ten (69%) whites without a college degree say that professional athletes should be required to stand for the national anthem, while fewer than half (47%) of whites with a college degree agree. A slim majority (51%) of college-educated whites say that standing during the anthem should not be compulsory for athletes.

Partisan differences of opinion are vast. Close to nine in ten (86%) Republicans say that athletes should have to stand during the national anthem, while fewer than one-third (32%) of Democrats agree. Roughly two-thirds (64%) of Democrats say athletes should not be required to stand while the national anthem is played at sporting events. The views of independents roughly mirror those of the general population.

Older Americans are more likely than younger Americans to say that athletes should be required to stand during the national anthem. While more than two-thirds (68%) of seniors (age 65 or older) say that professional athletes should be required to stand for the national anthem, fewer than half (43%) of young adults (age 18-29) say the same. A majority (55%) of young adults do not believe athletes should be required to stand.

Confederate Monuments

Nearly six in ten (58%) Americans say that monuments to Confederate soldiers are symbols of Southern pride, compared to three in ten (30%) who say that they are symbols of racism.

Views of Confederate monuments, however, vary starkly by race and ethnicity. More than two-thirds (68%) of white Americans and a majority (54%) of Hispanic Americans agree that Confederate monuments are symbols of Southern pride, while fewer than three in ten (29%) black Americans say the same. More than six in ten (63%) black Americans believe that monuments to Confederate soldiers are symbols of racism.

Views of monuments to Confederate soldiers also differ greatly by political affiliation. More than eight in ten (84%) Republicans believe Confederate monuments are symbols of Southern pride, a view shared by only 40% of Democrats. Notably, white Democrats are more divided. Nearly half (49%) of white Democrats say Confederate monuments are more about celebrating the South, compared to 40% who say they are symbols of racism. Independents mirror the opinions of the general population.

Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

Seven in ten (70%) Americans say that recent stories about women being sexually harassed and assaulted in the workplace are part of a broader pattern of how women are often treated, while about one-quarter (24%) say that they are isolated incidents.

More than seven in ten Democrats (77%) and independents (73%) say that recent stories of women being sexually harassed and assaulted in the workplace are part of a broader pattern. Roughly six in ten (59%) Republicans agree, but nearly four in ten (37%) say these stories are isolated incidents.

Across racial and ethnic groups there is agreement that recent stories about sexual harassment in the workplace are evidence of a broader societal problem. Nearly three-quarters of white Americans (73%) and roughly two-thirds of Hispanic (64%) and black (67%) Americans say they are part of a broader pattern.

Women are more likely than men to view recent stories of sexual harassment as part of a broader pattern, although majorities of both agree. Nearly eight in ten (78%) women, and more than six in ten (63%) men, say that these events are not isolated incidents. Three in ten (30%) men, and fewer than one in five (18%) women, say that they are just isolated incidents.

Do Reporters Have Political or Personal Agendas?

Americans are generally distrusting of reporters’ motives and agendas. A majority (53%) of Americans think most reporters have a personal or political agenda, although more than four in ten (43%) believe that most reporters try to report the news fairly and accurately.

White Americans are more likely than nonwhite Americans to believe that reporters are motivated by personal and political biases. While nearly six in ten (57%) white Americans say that most reporters have a personal or political agenda, only about four in ten Hispanic (40%) and black (38%) Americans say the same.

There is a stark partisan gap in perceptions of reporter’s motivations. Nearly two-thirds (66%) of Democrats say that most reporters try to report the news fairly and accurately, while only 17% of Republicans agree. Roughly eight in ten (79%) Republicans believe reporters are influenced by their personal or political agendas.

Americans are divided by gender on this question. Six in ten (60%) men say that most reporters have a personal or political agenda, compared to fewer than half (46%) of women who say the same. Half (50%) of women say that most reporters try to report the news fairly.

There are clear generational divides on trust in the media, with Americans under the age of 50 less confident that reporters aim to be objective. Close to six in ten 18-29 year-olds (57%) and 30-49 year-olds (59%) believe that most reporters have a personal agenda. By contrast, both 50-64 year-olds (47% personal agenda, 49% fair reporting) and seniors (46% personal agenda, 50% fair reporting) are more evenly divided.

III. Priorities for the President and Congress

No issue is viewed as more important than reducing health care costs. Close to half (46%) of the public say this should be the highest priority for America’s political leaders. Four in ten (40%) say reducing health care costs should be a high priority but not the highest, while 12% say it should be a lower priority. Americans are as likely to rate health care as the highest priority today as they were in 2014, when 45% said it should be the country’s highest priority.

Roughly four in ten white (44%) and Hispanic (46%) Americans say lowering health care costs should be a priority for elected leaders, while 53% of black Americans say the same. There is an education gap among whites. Whites without a four-year college degree are more likely than college-educated whites to say this should be the highest priority of members of Congress and the President (47% vs. 38%, respectively).

Notably, while Republicans are significantly less likely than Democrats to say reducing health care costs should be the highest priority (41% vs. 51%, respectively), nearly half (49%) of Republicans nonetheless say it should be a high priority, even if not the highest. Only nine percent of Republicans say it should be a lower priority.

Reducing the budget deficit is the highest priority for about one in three (32%) Americans. Close to half (46%) say it should be a high priority but not the highest, while 19% say it should be a lower priority. Concern about the budget deficit has fallen precipitously over the past few years. In 2013, a majority (56%) of Americans said reducing the deficit should be highest priority of members of Congress and the President.

Partisan differences are muted on this issue. Relatively few Republicans (37%) and Democrats (31%) say the budget deficit should be the country’s top priority today; in 2013, it was the highest priority for more than seven in ten (71%) Republicans and close to half (46%) of Democrats.

Fewer than one-third (31%) of the public say that making the tax system more equitable should be government’s highest priority. About half (48%) say it should be an important priority, but not the most important. The public is slightly less likely to prioritize fairness in the tax system today than a few years ago. In 2013, 37% of Americans said modifying the tax system to make it more fair should be the nation’s highest priority.

Notably, Republicans today are more likely than Democrats to say fairness in the tax system should be the top priority for Congress and the President. Forty percent of Republicans, compared to only about one-quarter (26%) of Democrats, say this should be the highest priority. In 2013, views were reversed, with Democrats significantly more likely than Republicans to prioritize restructuring the tax system (42% vs. 29%, respectively).

Only about one in four (26%) Americans say enacting stricter gun control laws should be the country’s highest priority. Twenty-nine percent say this should be a high priority but not the highest, while 42% say it should be a lower priority. Americans are not any more likely to prioritize gun control today than they were in 2013, when an identical number (26%) said gun control should be the top priority for elected leaders.

Immigration also continues to be a top priority for a minority of Americans. Only 25% of the public say reforming the nation’s immigration system should be the most important priority for the country. About one-third (35%) say it should be a high priority but not the highest, while 36% say it should be a lower priority.

Compared to 2013, the only issue that more Americans believe should be a priority today is climate change. Twenty-six percent of the public say enacting legislation to address climate change should be the country’s highest priority. One-third (33%) say it should be a high priority but not the highest, while 39% say it should be a lower priority. In 2013, only 16% said climate change was the most important issue for the nation’s leaders to address, while 31% said it was a concern but not the top concern. A majority (51%) said it was a lower priority.

Partisan differences in concerns about climate change are stark. Democrats are about four times more likely than Republicans to say climate change legislation should be the top priority for Congress and the President (40% vs. 11%, respectively). Democrats today are much more likely to say enacting climate change legislation is a top priority than four years earlier, when only 21% mentioned it as the country’s most pressing concern.

IV. Reactions to Trump’s Presidency: Who Feels Represented?

Personal Favorability

Public views of Donald Trump remain at historic lows for a first-term president and have changed little over the past year. About four in ten (41%) Americans have a positive opinion of Trump, while a majority (55%) have an unfavorable view of him. In January, 43% of the public expressed a favorable opinion of Trump, while 52% viewed him negatively. Personal feelings about Trump closely track views of his job performance.2

Feelings about the Trump Presidency

Americans are more likely to express negative than positive feelings about the Trump presidency at this stage. A majority say they feel disappointed (22%), worried (29%), or angry (11%). Only about one-third say they are satisfied (25%) or excited (9%).

Women express less enthusiasm for Trump’s presidency than men. About four in ten (41%) men feel positively about the Trump presidency — either satisfied or excited — compared to 28% of women. Notably, the gender gap among whites without a college degree is even wider. A majority (57%) of white men without a college degree feel satisfied or excited about Trump’s presidency, compared to only 37% of white women without a degree. Fewer than four in ten white men (39%) and white women (27%) with a college education feel positively about Trump’s presidency.

In 2011, the public felt similarly negative about Barack Obama’s presidency. A majority said they felt disappointed (29%), worried (26%), or angry (10%). Only about one in three Americans said they were satisfied (28%) or excited (5%). Notably, Republicans feel more positively about Trump’s presidency so far than Democrats felt about Obama’s presidency at the three-year mark. About three-quarters of Republicans say they feel satisfied (50%) or excited (24%) about Trump’s presidency. About six in ten Democrats said they felt satisfied (48%) or excited (11%) about the Obama presidency.

Strong Republicans express greater satisfaction and excitement about Trump’s presidency than other Republicans.3 More than eight in ten strong Republicans say they are satisfied (54%) or excited (30%). Far fewer weak Republicans report being satisfied (43%) or excited (14%) about the Trump presidency so far.

Who Does Trump Represent: The Wealthy, the Working Class, or the Middle Class?

Americans overwhelmingly believe that Trump is looking out for the interests of wealthy people. Nearly nine in ten say he is representing the interests of wealthy Americans somewhat (30%) or very well (59%). Americans are divided over how well Trump is looking out for the working class — 50% say somewhat or very well, while 48% say not too well or not at all well. Similarly, the public disagrees over whether Trump is looking out for the middle class. Half (50%) say he is representing their interests, while nearly as many (48%) say he is not.

The belief that Trump represents the interests of the wealthy crosses lines of race, ethnicity, and education. More than eight in ten Hispanic (84%), black (85%), and white Americans (91%), including equal numbers of whites with (92%) and without (92%) a college degree, say Trump looks out for the interests of wealthy Americans.

There are large differences across lines of race and ethnicity on the question of how well Trump is representing the interests of working class Americans. A majority (55%) of white Americans and half (50%) of Hispanics say Trump is looking out for working class Americans, while only 24% of black Americans say the same.

Whites without a college degree are significantly more likely than those with a degree to believe Trump is representing the interests of working class Americans (60% vs. 46%, respectively). But a gender gap is evident among whites without a college degree: Men in this group are considerably more likely than women to say Trump is looking out for the working class (69% vs. 52%, respectively).

These opinion patterns are nearly identical to perceptions of how well Trump represents the interests of middle class Americans.

Is Trump Looking Out for You?

A majority (53%) of the public does not believe Trump is looking out for their interests, while close to half (46%) say he is doing this at least somewhat well.

Perceptions vary substantially by race and ethnic background. A majority (54%) of white Americans, and four in ten (40%) Hispanics, believe Trump is looking out for them. Only 11% of black Americans believe Trump is representing them well. Nearly nine in ten (88%) black Americans say he is not looking out for their interests well, including 71% who say he is not looking out for them at all.

An educational divide is evident among whites. White Americans without a four-year college degree are somewhat more likely to believe Trump is looking out for them than whites who completed college (57% vs. 48%, respectively).

The gender divide in views about Trump is significant. A majority of men (53%) say Trump is looking out for them, while fewer than four in ten (39%) women agree. Six in ten (60%) women say that Trump is not representing their interests.

V. Negative Partisanship in the Trump Era

Do Democratic and Republican Policies Threaten the Country?

The public has little confidence that the policies of either political party are moving the country in the right direction. About three in ten (29%) Americans say the policies promoted by the Democratic Party are moving the country in the right direction. Approximately four in ten (38%) say Democratic policies are misguided but not dangerous, while 27% say they pose a serious threat to the country. Even fewer Americans (23%) say Republican policies are moving the country in the right direction, while more than four in ten (41%) say they are misguided but not dangerous, and 30% say they pose a serious threat to the country.

Republicans and Democrats have equally negative views of the other party. Only five percent of Republicans say the policies of the Democratic Party are moving the country in the right direction. Roughly four in ten (39%) Republicans say Democrats are pursuing actions that are misguided but not necessarily dangerous. Notably, a majority (52%) of Republicans say Democratic policies are so misguided they present a threat to the country. Similarly, only five percent of Democrats believe the policies of the Republican Party are moving the country in the right direction. About four in ten Democrats (38%) say GOP policies are misguided but not dangerous, and a majority (54%) say the policies of the Republican Party are so misguided they threaten the country’s wellbeing.

Democrats express greater confidence in their party’s policies than Republicans do in GOP policies. Roughly two-thirds (64%) of Democrats say the party’s policies are moving the country forward, while about one in four (24%) say they are misguided; nine percent say they constitute a threat to the country. A majority (55%) of Republicans say their party’s policies are moving the country in the right direction, while 35% say they are misguided and seven percent say they are a threat.

Trump’s Policies: More Polarizing than Those of Either Party

Americans as a whole think Trump’s policies are more dangerous than the policies of either political party. Nearly half (46%) of Americans say Trump’s policies are so misguided they constitute a serious threat to the country. Twenty-two percent say they are simply misguided. Only 29% say they move the country in the right direction.

Republicans have more confidence in Trump’s policies than in those of the GOP, while Democrats express less confidence in Trump’s policies than those of the GOP. Two-thirds (67%) of Republicans say Trump’s policies are moving the country in the right direction, compared to 19% who say they are misguided but not dangerous, and 10% who say they pose a threat to the country. By contrast, only seven percent of Democrats believe Trump’s policies move the country in the right direction. Nearly one in five (18%) Democrats believe Trump’s policies are misguided but not dangerous, while fully three-quarters (75%) believe Trump’s policies constitute a serious threat to the country. Independents closely track the public overall.

Trump’s Tax Proposal

Few Americans believe that the President’s tax proposal would significantly help them or their family. Only 15% say the proposed policy would help them a lot, while 30% say it would help them a little. Nearly half (48%) of the public say Trump’s tax policy would not be of any benefit to them at all.

Close to half of white (48%) and Hispanic Americans (46%) believe the tax proposal would help them at least a little, but only 24% of black Americans agree. There is no significant difference in the views of whites by educational attainment.

Views are fractured along partisan lines. Nearly three-quarters (73%) of Republicans believe they or their family would get at least a little help from Trump’s tax proposal, although fewer than one-third (32%) believe they would be substantially helped. Only 26% of Democrats say that Trump’s tax policy would benefit them personally. Seven in ten (70%) say it would not help them at all. The perceptions of political independents generally align with the public overall.

Women remain more skeptical than men about the potential benefits of Trump’s tax proposal. A slim majority (51%) of men say the policy would benefit them at least a little, while only 39% of women agree. A majority (54%) of women say the policy would not be of any help to them or their family.

The 2020 Republican Nomination

More than six in ten (63%) Republicans say they would prefer Trump to be the Republican Party’s nominee for the 2020 election, compared to approximately one-third (31%) who say they would prefer another Republican candidate. Strong Republicans are solidly behind Trump: More than three-quarters (76%) say they would prefer him to be the 2020 nominee, a view shared by only 42% of weak Republicans. About half (48%) of weak Republicans say they would prefer an alternative to Trump, and 10% do not express an opinion.

Despite the solid support Trump has among Republicans overall, he has not solidified support among the approximately one-quarter of Republicans who favored other candidates in the 2016 GOP primary. Only 34% of Republicans who supported Trump’s opponents in the Republican primary say they would want Trump to be the party’s nominee for the 2020 election. Six in ten (60%) say they would prefer someone else to be the party’s nominee.

Impeachment

Four in ten (40%) Americans say that, based on what they have heard or read, Trump should be impeached and removed from office. A majority (56%) of the public disagrees. Support for impeachment has been stable since the summer, when an identical number of Americans (40%) expressed the view that Trump should be impeached.4 The issue of impeachment divides Americans by race, ethnicity, gender, age, and political affiliation.

Support for impeachment is strong among nonwhite Americans. More than seven in ten (72%) black Americans and a majority (52%) of Hispanic Americans say the president should be impeached and removed from office. Fewer than one-third (31%) of white Americans favor impeachment; roughly two-thirds (66%) oppose it. Educational differences among whites are modest: Relatively few whites with (36%) or without (28%) a college degree support impeachment.

Nearly seven in ten (69%) Democrats say Trump should be impeached and removed from office, while more than one-quarter (27%) disagree. Republicans are nearly unanimous in their opposition to impeachment — 91% say Trump should not be impeached. Independents resemble the public overall.

There is an enduring gender divide on this issue.5 Women are split over impeachment, with equal numbers supporting (48%) and opposing (48%) it. Fewer than one in three (31%) men favor this action, while close to two-thirds (65%) of men say Trump should not be impeached.

Young adults (age 18-29) are more likely than seniors (age 65 or over) to express support for impeaching Trump (45% vs. 35%, respectively). Half (50%) of young adults, however, do not support this action.

The 2018 Election

At this early stage, Democratic candidates have a significant advantage over Republican candidates running for Congress in 2018 among registered voters. Forty-four percent of voters say that, if the 2018 election were being held today, they would support the Democratic candidate, while 37% say they would support the Republican candidate. Six percent say they would opt to support a third-party candidate, and 14% offer no opinion.

There is a sizable gender gap in candidate preference. More than half (51%) of female voters express a preference for the Democratic candidate, while only 31% say they would vote Republican. Men are more likely to favor the Republican than Democratic candidate, but by a much narrower margin (43% vs. 36%, respectively).

VI. Immigration Policy in 2017

Support for DACA

Americans are generally supportive of the policies behind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. More than seven in ten (72%) Americans favor granting legal resident status to immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children, provided they join the military or go to college. One-quarter (25%) of Americans oppose such a policy. Public support for this policy has grown over the past few years. In 2011, only 57% of the public supported it.

Support for the policies behind DACA is relatively consistent across racial and ethnic lines. Close to eight in ten (79%) Hispanic Americans, along with about seven in ten white (73%) and black Americans (69%), favor giving these immigrants an opportunity to gain legal resident status.

The policy also garners support across the partisan divide. More than six in ten (63%) Republicans favor it, as do more than eight in ten (81%) Democrats. The views of independents mirror those of the general population.

Temporary Ban on People from Majority Muslim Countries

A majority (55%) of Americans oppose a policy that would temporarily prevent people from some majority Muslim countries from entering the U.S. Four in ten (40%) Americans support this type of travel restriction.

Attitudes diverge significantly by race and ethnicity. Three-quarters (75%) of black Americans and a majority (55%) of Hispanic Americans oppose a policy that would prevent travel to the U.S. from some predominantly Muslim countries. White Americans are more divided (44% favor, 51% oppose).

Nearly two-thirds (66%) of Republicans favor temporarily preventing people from some majority Muslim countries from entering the country, a view shared by 37% of independents and 23% of Democrats. Nearly six in ten (58%) independents and more than seven in ten (72%) Democrats oppose this policy.

White evangelical Protestants are unique among religious groups in their support overall for a temporary travel ban. More than six in ten (61%) white evangelical Protestants favor a policy that would prevent people from some majority Muslim countries from entering the country. White Catholics are evenly split (48% favor, 48% oppose). Fewer white mainline Protestants (42%), Hispanic Catholics (37%), religiously unaffiliated Americans (31%), and black Protestants (24%) express support for the ban.

Women express less support for a temporary travel ban than men. Only about one-third (35%) of women favor temporarily preventing people from some majority Muslim countries from entering the U.S., while close to half (46%) of men support the idea.

A Ban on Refugees

Nearly six in ten (59%) Americans oppose the passage of a law that prevents refugees from entering the U.S., while more than one-third (36%) favor this type of restriction.

Opposition to a refugee ban spans racial and ethnic categories. A majority of white (57%), Hispanic (57%), and black Americans (71%) oppose passing a law to prevent refugees from entering the U.S. There are notable divisions among whites by education level, however: Nearly two-thirds (65%) of white, college-educated Americans oppose a refugee ban, compared to about half (52%) of those without a college degree.

Republicans stand out in their support for a law that would deny refugees entry to the U.S. More than half (56%) of Republicans favor preventing refugees from entering the country, compared to 39% who oppose this policy. Only 33% of independents and 25% of Democrats support this policy. More than six in ten (63%) independents and about seven in ten (72%) Democrats reject it.

Young Americans (age 18-29) are notably less likely than older Americans (age 65 or over) to support banning refugees from entering the U.S. About one-quarter (27%) of young Americans favor passing a law to prevent refugees from entering the U.S., compared to four in ten (40%) seniors.

The Wall

Public sentiment is similar when it comes to building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. More than six in ten (63%) Americans oppose the construction of a wall along the border, while about one-third (36%) support it.

In the year since Donald Trump’s election, opposition to building a border wall has increased five percentage points, up from 58%.6 At that time, about four in ten (41%) were in favor of building the wall. Notably, among Americans who oppose the wall, the number of those who strongly oppose it has also risen, from 34% last year to 42% today.

Opposition to the border wall is much more pronounced among nonwhite Americans. More than seven in ten Hispanic (73%) and black Americans (83%) oppose building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, only about half (55%) of white Americans oppose it. However, education shapes views about the border wall among whites. About two-thirds (64%) of whites with a college degree oppose building a border wall, a view shared by about half (51%) of those without a degree. Nearly half (47%) of whites without a college degree favor building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico.

There is a massive partisan divide on this issue. Nearly three-quarters (73%) of Republicans, compared to only 12% of Democrats, favor the construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Nearly nine in ten (87%) Democrats oppose it, including roughly two-thirds (66%) who strongly oppose it. Although Republican support for the wall has remained relatively stable since 2016, Democrats have become more unified in their opposition.

VII. America and the World: Foreign Policy and Trade

The Nuclear Agreement with Iran

A majority (52%) of Americans oppose withdrawing from the nuclear agreement with Iran, with only about one-third (36%) in favor. Notably, 13% of Americans say they do not know or offer no opinion on the subject.

There are modest differences of opinion by race and ethnicity. Black Americans express the greatest reservations about withdrawing from the nuclear agreement with Iran. More than seven in ten (71%) black Americans oppose ending the nuclear agreement, compared to fewer than half of white (49%) and Hispanic Americans (49%). Fewer than four in ten white (39%) and Hispanic Americans (36%) favor withdrawing from the agreement. More than one in ten white (11%) and Hispanic Americans (15%) offer no opinion.

There are strong partisan divides on this issue. More than six in ten (61%) Republicans favor withdrawing from the agreement, and fewer than three in ten (28%) oppose such a policy. By contrast, more than seven in ten (71%) Democrats are opposed to such a policy, and fewer than one in five (19%) are in favor. Independents closely resemble the public as a whole.

Does America Set a Good Moral Example for the World?

Americans as a whole do not think that America sets a good moral example for the world, but views differ by party identification, gender, and race and ethnicity. Nearly six in ten (57%) Americans disagree with the statement “America today sets a good moral example for the world,” compared to 41% who agree. Views have not changed substantially since 2015, when 43% of the public said that the U.S. was setting a good moral example for the world.7

Black Americans are unique in the extent to which they disagree that America sets a good example. Seven in ten (70%) black Americans disagree with this statement, while fewer than three in ten (29%) agree. Attitudes of white and Hispanic Americans mirror the public as a whole.

Even as views overall have not shifted much over the last two years, the opinions of partisans have undergone significant realignment. Today, a majority (56%) of Republicans say the U.S. sets a good example for the world, while only 35% of Democrats agree. Nearly two-thirds (64%) of Democrats today say the U.S. is not a good example. In 2015, 44% of Republicans said the U.S. served as a moral example. Interestingly, Democrats were divided: 49% agreed, and 47% disagreed.

Men are far more likely than women to say that America sets a good moral example for the world. Half (50%) of men agree with the statement, while 48% disagree. Only one-third (33%) of women agree America is setting a good moral example; about two-thirds (65%) disagree.

Free Trade or More Foreign Trade Restrictions?

More than six in ten (63%) Americans are in favor of promoting free trade, while about three in ten (29%) say the U.S. should place more restrictions on foreign trade.

There is little appetite for trade restrictions among most demographic groups. No more than one-third of white (33%), black (23%), and Hispanic Americans (21%) express support for policies that would rein in free trade. Even among whites without a college degree, only 38% want to restrict free trade. Most whites with and without a college degree say the U.S. should do more to expand free trade (68% and 54%, respectively).

Democrats and independents strongly support free trade, while Republicans are more divided on the issue. More than seven in ten (72%) Democrats and about two-thirds (66%) of independents favor promoting free trade over implementing more trade restrictions. Nearly half (49%) of Republicans favor promoting free trade, while 45% would put more restrictions in place. Notably, Republican women are more likely than Republican men to favor protectionist policies (52% vs. 43%, respectively).

America First?

Six in ten (60%) Americans agree with the statement, “In the past, America’s leaders have been too focused on helping other nations at the expense of our own country.” Fewer than four in ten (37%) disagree.

The desire for leaders to focus more on domestic concerns cuts across racial and ethnic groups. Roughly equal numbers of white (62%), black (60%), and Hispanic Americans (57%) agree that American leaders have been too focused on helping other nations in the past. Among whites, however, there is a considerable educational divide. Seven in ten (70%) whites without a college degree say that America’s leaders have been too focused on helping other nations at the expense of our own country, and fewer than three in ten (29%) disagree. Whites with a college degree, however, are about evenly split: Nearly half (48%) agree with this statement, while a slim majority (51%) do not believe that America’s recent leaders have been too focused on issues abroad.

No group shows stronger agreement that American leaders have devoted too much attention to foreign affairs than Republicans. More than three-quarters (78%) of Republicans agree that past American leaders have been too focused on problems abroad rather than issues at home, while roughly one in five (21%) disagree. Much smaller majorities of both independents (56%) and Democrats (53%) agree with the statement; fewer than half (42% and 46%, respectively) disagree.

VIII. Healthcare Policy and Concerns

Americans Increasingly Worried about Losing Health Insurance Coverage

Half (50%) of Americans now say they are somewhat or very worried that they or someone in their family will lose health insurance coverage in the next year. Nearly half (48%) say they are not too worried or not at all worried about this happening. Earlier this year, 45% of Americans expressed concern that they or a family member would become uninsured.8

Concerns about health care are sharply polarized. Only 29% of Republicans report being worried about losing health care coverage, compared to roughly two-thirds (66%) of Democrats. Democrats are also increasingly likely to express concerns. In August 2017, 55% of Democrats said they were worried about losing health care coverage — an 11-point shift. Attitudes of independents largely reflect the public as a whole.

Women are also more likely to report concern over losing healthcare coverage in the next year. A majority (56%) of women say they are somewhat or very worried about the possibility, while fewer than half (44%) say they are not too worried or not at all worried.

Americans with different types of health care coverage also express differing levels of concern. About seven in ten Americans who are covered by Medicare (68%) or Medicaid (68%) say they are worried about possibly losing coverage in the next 12 months, and about half (Medicare 46%, Medicaid 50%) say they are very worried. More than six in ten (63%) Americans who have personally purchased health care insurance from an insurance company or a state or federal marketplace also report being worried. By contrast, only 41% of Americans with employer-sponsored health care say they are worried about losing coverage.

Americans Skeptical that Rolling Back Obamacare Will Help

Fewer than one in five (17%) Americans think that if President Trump and his administration are successful in rolling back the current healthcare law, it will make them and their family better off, compared to 35% who say it will make their family worse off. Close to half (45%) say it will make no difference for themselves and their families.

Black Americans are far more likely than other Americans to say they would be worse off without the current health care law. A majority (56%) of black Americans think they and their family would be worse off if the current health care law were rolled back. By contrast, only about one-third of white (31%) and Hispanic Americans (35%) believe this action would affect them negatively. About half of white (47%) and Hispanic Americans (46%) say they and their families would not be affected.

Views on the impact of rolling back the current healthcare law vary significantly by party identification, but neither Democrats nor Republicans, on the whole, say they would be better off without it. Nearly six in ten (58%) Democrats say a rollback would make their family worse off, about one-third (34%) say it would not make any difference, and only six percent say it would make their family better off. And while about one-third (35%) of Republicans believe that rolling back the current health care law would have a positive impact on their family, a majority (53%) think it would not make any difference. Fewer than one in ten (8%) Republicans say their family would be worse off if the current health care law was rolled back.

Women are significantly more likely than men to think a rollback would make them and their family worse off. More than four in ten (41%) women, compared to 28% of men, say they or their family would be worse off if the current health care law were rescinded. Roughly half (48%) of men and 42% of women say this action would not make any difference to them and their family.

Widespread Support for Government-Funded Health Coverage

There is enduring consensus among Americans that government should guarantee health insurance for all citizens, even if it means raising taxes. Nearly six in ten (59%) Americans agree that the government should guarantee health insurance for all of its citizens, even if it means raising taxes, while four in ten (40%) disagree. In 2013, a slightly smaller majority (56%) of the public said government should provide all citizens with health care coverage.9

But Americans are sharply divided on this issue by political affiliation. More than three-quarters (78%) of Democrats agree that the government should guarantee health insurance for all citizens, even if it means raising taxes, compared to only about one-third (32%) of Republicans. About two-thirds (66%) of Republicans disagree. Notably, however, Republican opposition has declined over the last couple years. In 2013, three-quarters (75%) of Republicans opposed government-provided universal health care coverage for all citizens.10

IX. A Typology of Trump Approval

Overall Job Approval

A year out from the 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump is getting low marks from the public on his job performance. About four in ten (41%) Americans approve of the job he is doing, while a majority (54%) disapprove. Americans are also about twice as likely to strongly disapprove than to strongly approve (42% vs. 22%, respectively).

Views of Trump’s job performance are highly stratified by race. Half (50%) of white Americans, but only 27% of Hispanic and nine percent of black Americans, approve of the way Trump is doing his job as president. Nearly nine in ten (87%) black Americans and roughly six in ten (63%) Hispanics disapprove of Trump’s job performance. Fewer than half (47%) of white Americans disapprove of Trump’s job performance, but there are notable divisions by education level. A majority (55%) of whites without a four-year college degree approve of the way Trump is handling the presidency, compared to only 40% of college-educated whites.

The views of partisans are near mirror images of each other. Eighty-four percent of Republicans approve of Trump’s job performance, and 85% of Democrats disapprove. However, Democrats are more likely to strongly disapprove (72%) of Trump’s performance than Republicans are to strongly approve (51%) of it.

Trump is well-regarded among self-identified Republicans, but he fares particularly well among those who have a strong attachment to the GOP. More than nine in ten (91%) strong Republicans approve of the job Trump is doing as president, including 67% who strongly approve. About three-quarters (73%) of weak Republicans approve of Trump, but only 27% express strong approval.

White evangelical Protestants continue to be among Trump’s strongest supporters. More than seven in ten (72%) white evangelicals approve of Trump’s job performance. White mainline Protestants (49% approve, 49% disapprove) and white Catholics (49% approve, 47% disapprove) are about equally divided. By contrast, fewer than one in three religious but non-Christian Americans (31%), religiously unaffiliated Americans (30%), Hispanic Catholics (21%), and black Protestants (9%) approve of Trump.

Men and women are of starkly different opinions about Trump’s job performance as president. Nearly half (48%) of men give Trump positive marks, while only 33% of women agree. About six in ten (61%) women disapprove of how Trump is handling the job, including 49% who strongly disapprove.

The gender gap is substantial even among groups that are largely sympathetic to Trump. Nearly two-thirds (66%) of white men without a college degree approve of the job Trump is doing as president, compared to fewer than half (45%) of white non-college-educated women. White college-educated men are similarly more likely to approve of Trump than white college-educated women (48% vs. 33%, respectively).

Trump Supporters and Opponents

In order to shed more light on the traditional job approval measures, the survey asked respondents whether there was anything President Trump could do to gain or lose their support. Among those who approve of Trump’s job performance, nearly four in ten (37%) say there is almost nothing the president could do to lose their approval, compared to about six in ten (58%) who say Trump could do something to lose their approval. Among those who disapprove of Trump’s job performance, approximately six in ten (61%) say there is almost nothing the president could do to gain their approval, while about four in ten (37%) say it is possible Trump could do something to win their approval.

Combining these measures yields the following four groups:
• Strong Trump supporters (15%): those who approve of Trump’s job performance and say there is almost nothing he could do to lose their support
• Weak Trump supporters (26%): those who approve of Trump’s job performance but say it is possible for Trump to lose their support
• Weak Trump opponents (21%): those who disapprove of Trump’s job performance but say it is possible for Trump to win their support
• Strong Trump opponents (33%): those who disapprove of Trump’s job performance and say there is almost nothing he could do to win their support

Who Are Trump’s Most Committed Supporters?

Despite the fact that strong Trump opponents outnumber strong Trump supporters by a margin of roughly two to one, Trump has strong support among Republicans overall and key groups in his base, such as white evangelical Protestants, whites without a college degree, and white men.

Approximately one-third (34%) of Republicans are strong Trump supporters who approve of his job performance and say there is virtually nothing he could do to lose their support. Half (50%) of Republicans are weak Trump supporters, while only seven percent are weak Trump opponents and five percent are strong Trump opponents.

Three in ten (30%) white evangelical Protestants are strong Trump supporters, while about four in ten (42%) are weak Trump supporters. Fewer than one in four white evangelical Protestants are weak Trump opponents (11%) or strong Trump opponents (13%).

Notably, only about one in four (24%) white Americans without a college education are strong Trump supporters, while 31% are weak Trump supporters. By contrast, 17% of non-college-educated whites are weak Trump opponents, while roughly one in four (24%) are strong Trump opponents.

White men are also strong supporters of Trump. Nearly six in ten white men are either strong (21%) or weak (38%) Trump supporters, compared to 18% who are weak Trump opponents and 20% who are strong Trump opponents.

Who Are Trump’s Most Ardent Opponents?

In contrast, President Trump faces considerable opposition from Democrats and key groups in the Democratic base, such as black Americans, Hispanic Americans, religiously unaffiliated Americans, and women.

Nearly six in ten (57%) Democrats are strong Trump opponents, who not only disapprove of the president, but also say there is almost nothing he could do to gain their support. Another 29% are weak Trump opponents, compared to only nine percent who are weak Trump supporters and two percent who are strong Trump supporters.

Trump also faces formidable opposition among black Americans. Fully six in ten (60%) black Americans are strong Trump opponents, and an additional 26% are weak Trump opponents. Less than one in ten black Americans are weak Trump supporters (9%), and less than one percent are strong Trump supporters.

President Trump also faces considerable opposition from Hispanic Americans, although their opposition is less intense than that of black Americans. More than one-third (36%) of Hispanics are strong Trump opponents and an additional 27% are weak Trump opponents. By contrast, roughly one-quarter of Hispanics are either weak (17%) or strong (10%) Trump supporters.

Nearly two-thirds of religiously unaffiliated Americans are either strong (42%) or weak (23%) Trump opponents. Twenty percent are weak Trump supporters, and less than one in ten (9%) are strong Trump supporters.

Women are also among Trump’s most ardent political opponents. About six in ten women are either strong (41%) or weak (20%) Trump opponents. By contrast, fewer than half of men are classified as strong (24%) or weak (22%) Trump opponents.

X. Is the GOP Now the Party of Trump?

Executive Summary

More than 6-in-10 (63%) Americans agree that the immigration system should deal with immigrants who are currently living in the U.S. illegally by allowing them a way to become citizens, provided they meet certain requirements. Less than 1-in-5 (14%) say they should be permitted to become permanent legal residents, but not citizens, while approximately 1-in-5 (21%) agree that they should be identified and deported.

  • More than 7-in-10 (71%) Democrats, nearly two-thirds (64%) of independents, and a majority (53%) of Republicans favor an earned path to citizenship. Similar numbers of Democrats (13%), independents (14%), and Republicans (13%) favor a path to legal residency, but not citizenship. Meanwhile, 13% of Democrats, 21% of independents, and 32% of Republicans favor deportation.
  • Majorities of all religious groups, including Hispanic Catholics (74%), Hispanic Protestants (71%), black Protestants (70%), Jewish Americans (67%), Mormons (63%), white Catholics (62%), white mainline Protestants (61%), and white evangelical Protestants (56%) agree that the immigration system should allow immigrants currently living in the U.S. illegally to become citizens provided they meet certain requirements.

Americans rank immigration reform sixth out of seven issues, far behind economic issues, as the highest political priority for the president and Congress. Less than one-quarter (24%) of Americans say that reforming the nation’s immigration system should be the highest priority for the president and Congress, while 47% of Americans report that reforming the immigration system should be a high priority but not the highest, and nearly 3-in-10 (27%) think that immigration reform should be given a lower priority.

Nearly half (45%) of Americans say the Republican Party’s position on immigration has hurt the party in recent elections. Less than 1-in-10 (7%) Americans say that the Republican Party’s stance on immigration has helped them in recent elections, while more than 4-in-10 (42%) say it has not made a difference.

  • Approximately 4-in-10 Republicans (39%) and Americans who identify with the Tea Party (41%) think the Republican Party’s position on immigration has hurt the party in recent elections. Close to half (46%) of Republicans and a similar number of Tea Party members (44%) say it did not make a difference.
  • About 4-in-10 (39%) Hispanic Americans overall say the Republican Party’s position on immigration hurt the party in the 2012 election. Approximately 4-in-10 (41%) say it did not make a difference, and 14% say it helped the Republican Party.

Americans are more likely to say they trust the Democratic Party, rather than the Republican Party, to do a better job handling the issues of immigration (39% vs. 29%) and illegal immigration (43% vs. 30%). However, nearly 1-in-4 (23%) Americans say they do not trust either party to handle the issue of immigration.

Americans generally perceive that immigrants are having more of an impact on American society as a whole than on their own communities. Less than one-third (32%) of Americans say that immigrants today are changing their community a lot, compared to 46% of Americans who say immigrants today are changing American society a lot.

  • Views about immigrants’ impact on American society are strongly associated with political ideology. Conservatives (36%) and liberals (31%) are nearly equally as likely to say that immigrants are changing their own communities a lot. However, conservatives (53%) are significantly more likely than liberals (38%) to say that immigrants are changing American society a lot.

Overall, Americans are more likely have positive rather than negative views about the impact of immigrants.

  • A majority (54%) of Americans believe that the growing number of newcomers from other countries helps strengthen American society, while a significant minority (40%) say that newcomers threaten traditional American customs and values.
  • A strong majority (59%) of Americans believe that immigrants today see themselves as part of the American community, much like immigrants from previous eras, while 36% disagree.

Americans register some concerns about the economic impact of immigrants. While nearly two-thirds (64%) of Americans agree that immigrants coming to this country today mostly take jobs that Americans don’t want, a majority (56%) of Americans simultaneously say that illegal immigrants hurt the economy by driving down wages for many Americans.

Although deportations of illegal immigrants have increased since the beginning of the Obama administration, less than 3-in-10 (28%) Americans correctly state that deportations have increased over the past five or six years. A plurality (42%) of Americans believe that the number of deportations has stayed the same, while nearly 1-in-5 (18%) say deportations have decreased.

There is broad agreement about a set of values that should guide immigration policy.

  • Five values are rated very or extremely important as guides to immigration reform by approximately 8-in-10 Americans: promoting national security (84%), keeping families together (84%), protecting the dignity of every person (82%), ensuring fairness to taxpayers (77%), and enforcing the rule of law (77%).
  • Nearly 7-in-10 (69%) also say following the Golden Rule—“providing immigrants the same opportunity that I would want if my family were immigrating to the U.S.”—is a very or extremely important value.

Far fewer Americans say continuing America’s heritage as a nation of immigrants (52%) or following the biblical example of welcoming the stranger (50%) are very or extremely important guides for immigration reform.

The face of American society has changed dramatically over the course of a single generation. More than 7-in-10 (71%) seniors (age 65 and older) identify as white Christian (29% white evangelical Protestant, 23% white mainline Protestant, and 17% white Catholic). By contrast, less than 3-in-10 (28%) Millennials (age 18-29) identify as white Christian (10% white evangelical Protestant, 9% white mainline Protestant, and 6% white Catholic).

Demographic differences are reflected in sharply contrasting evaluations of how American culture and way of life has changed since the 1950s. A majority (54%) of Americans say that since the 1950s, American culture and way of life has mostly changed for the worse, while 4-in-10 (40%) say it has mostly changed for the better.

  • There are significant racial divisions, with 61% of white Americans reporting that American culture has changed for the worse, while majorities of black (56%) and Hispanic Americans (51%) report that things have changed for the better.

When asked directly, only about 1-in-10 white, non-Hispanic Americans say they agree that the idea of an America where most people are not white bothers them, but when asked indirectly in a controlled survey experiment, agreement rises to nearly one-third (31%).

More than 6-in-10 (61%) Americans favor allowing illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children to gain legal resident status if they join the military or go to college, a policy which comprises the basic elements of the DREAM Act. Approximately one-third (34%) of Americans oppose to this policy.

Few Americans favor a policy colloquially known as “self-deportation,” in which conditions are made so difficult for illegal immigrants that they return to their home country on their own. Approximately one-third (34%) of Americans agree that this is the best way to solve the country’s illegal immigration problem, while nearly two-thirds (64%) disagree.

I. Introduction

Since 2006, when the bipartisan efforts of President George W. Bush, Senator John McCain, and the late Senator Edward Kennedy failed to achieve comprehensive immigration reform legislation, the issue of immigration has been a perennial issue of public debate. Yet, despite Americans’ significant discontent with the current immigration system and their broad support for a comprehensive overhaul, immigration reform legislation has languished. Two developments succeeded in making the passage of comprehensive immigration reform less likely. First, the 2008 economic collapse dramatically reshuffled the governing priorities of both parties. For most Americans, the immigration issue ranks much lower than fixing the economy or reducing the budget deficit. Second, the 2010 congressional elections, which gave the GOP a strong majority in the House of Representatives, brought in a large class of Tea Party members who are generally strongly opposed to such legislation.

However, recent events have conspired to put immigration reform back on the legislative agenda. First, even before the 2012 presidential election, President Obama signaled that immigration reform would be the centerpiece of his second-term agenda. Second, the 2012 election demonstrated the growing clout of Hispanic voters, particularly in western battleground states. Obama’s lopsided margin among these voters provided strong incentives for both parties, but especially Republicans who had been opposed to immigration reform, to make immigration reform a more significant priority.

In February 2013, Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI), in partnership with the Brookings Institution, conducted one of the largest surveys ever fielded on immigration policy, immigrants, and religious and cultural changes in the U.S. The survey of nearly 4,500 American adults explores the many divisions—political, religious, ethnic, geographical, and generational—within the nation over core values and their relationship to immigration. The new survey also tracks key questions from surveys conducted by PRRI in 2010-2011.

II. The Political Context: Importance of Immigration Reform and Perceptions of Political Parties

Importance of Immigration Compared to Other Issues

Immigration reform may loom large on the legislative radar, but economic issues remain at the top of Americans’ political priorities. Majorities of Americans report that improving the job situation (65%) and reducing the budget deficit (56%) should be the highest priorities for President Obama and Congress. Immigration reform ranks sixth out of seven issues as the highest priority for Americans. Less than one-quarter (24%) of Americans rank reforming the nation’s immigration system as the highest priority for the president and Congress, while 47% of Americans report that reforming the immigration system should be a high priority but not the highest, and nearly 3-in-10 (27%) think that immigration reform should be given a lower priority. There are few partisan differences on the relative importance of immigration reform compared to other legislative priorities; however, there are some divisions by race and religious affiliation.

Among racial and ethnic groups, Hispanic Americans stand out in prioritizing immigration reform. Nearly half (46%) of Hispanic Americans say that reforming the nation’s immigration system should be the highest priority for the president and Congress, compared to about 3-in-10 (31%) black non-Hispanic Americans, more than 1-in-5 (22%) Asian Americans, and less than 1-in-5 (18%) white non-Hispanic Americans.(1)

These racial and ethnic differences are also visible among religious groups. Half (50%) of Hispanic Catholics think that reforming the nation’s immigration system should be politicians’ highest priority, while more than one-third (34%) think it should be a high priority but not the highest. Similarly, a plurality of Hispanic Protestants (43%) agree that reforming the immigration system should be the highest priority, while an additional 37% report that it should be a high priority, but not the highest.

Political Party Most Trusted to Handle Immigration

Americans are more likely to say they trust the Democratic Party to do a better job than the Republican Party in handling the issue of immigration (39% vs. 29%). However, nearly 1-in-4 (23%) Americans say they do not trust either party to handle the issue. The public expresses similar sentiment when the issue is illegal immigration. The Democrats have a modest advantage over Republicans (43% vs. 30%), while roughly 1-in-5 (19%) Americans report that they do not trust either party to handle the issue.

In 2010, Americans placed roughly equal trust in the two parties’ ability to handle the issue of immigration. Approximately 4-in-10 (37%) Americans reported trusting the GOP over the Democrats, and 37% said they trusted the Democratic Party over the Republicans.(2) Thus, the current Democratic advantage on this issue is due primarily to an eight-point drop in trust of the Republican Party on the issue over the past three years.

Trust in both parties’ ability to handle the issue of immigration is highly politically polarized. Strong majorities of Democrats (84%) and Republicans (75%) trust their respective parties to do a better job handling the issue of immigration. Independents are roughly divided over whether they place more trust in the Democrats (27%) or Republicans (23%) on the issue of immigration. Nearly 4-in-10 (38%) independents say they do not trust either party to handle the immigration issue. Interestingly, Americans who identify with the Tea Party (62%) are significantly less likely than Republicans overall to report that they place more trust in the Republican Party’s ability to handle immigration. Nearly 3-in-10 (28%) say they don’t trust either party on the issue.

Liberals have more faith in the Democratic Party (65%) on the issue of immigration than conservatives have in the Republican Party (48%). More than 1-in-5 (21%) conservatives say they trust the Democratic Party more than the Republican Party on the issue of immigration.

Religious groups are divided over which political party they trust to do a better job handling the issue of immigration. Seven-in-ten (70%) black Protestants say they place more trust in the Democratic Party’s ability to handle immigration. A plurality of religiously unaffiliated Americans (46% vs. 22%) and Catholics (43% vs. 27%) also say they trust the Democratic Party over the Republican Party to handle immigration. Among Catholics, there is a significant ethnic divide: Hispanic Catholics are much more likely to trust the Democratic Party over the Republican Party (59% vs. 14%), while white Catholics are nearly evenly divided (34% vs. 35%).(3) White mainline Protestants are also nearly evenly divided between the parties: one-third (33%) trust the Democrats, 30% trust the Republicans, and 29% say they trust neither party. By contrast, a majority (52%) of white evangelical Protestants say they place more trust in the Republican Party on the issue of immigration, while 18% say they trust the Democratic Party.

There are similar divides by race and ethnicity.(4) Two-thirds (67%) of black Americans say they trust the Democratic Party to do a better job handling the issue of immigration, as do a majority (54%) of Hispanic Americans. Less than 1-in-5 (19%) Hispanic Americans say they trust the GOP more than the Democrats on this issue. White Americans are more divided: 36% trust the Republican Party more on the issue of immigration, while 32% say they trust the Democratic Party.

Political Impact of the Republican Party’s Position on Immigration

Close to half (45%) of Americans say the Republican Party’s position on immigration has hurt the party in recent elections. Less than 1-in-10 (7%) Americans say that the Republican Party’s stance on immigration has helped it in recent elections, while more than 4-in-10 (42%) say it has not made a difference.

Approximately 4-in-10 Republicans (39%) and Americans who identify with the Tea Party (41%) think their party’s position on immigration has hurt the party in recent elections. Nearly half (46%) of Republicans and 44% of Tea Party members say it has not made a difference, and roughly 1-in-10 Republicans (11%) and Tea Party members (12%) believe it has helped the party.

Democrats are more likely than Republicans to believe that the GOP’s position on immigration has hurt the party in recent elections. Nearly 6-in-10 (57%) Democrats think the GOP has been hurt by its position on immigration, while more than one-third (34%) say that it has not made a difference, and only 1-in-20 (5%) think it has helped.

More than 4-in-10 (44%) independents say the Republican Party has been hurt by its position on immigration. A similar number of independents (45%) say the Republican Party’s position on the issue of immigration has not affected its electoral performance in recent elections, while only 5% say it has helped the party.

Religious groups differ on the extent to which the Republican Party was helped or hurt by its position on immigration in recent elections. More than 6-in-10 (63%) Jewish Americans,(5) a majority (53%) of white mainline Protestants, and nearly half (49%) of religiously unaffiliated Americans say the GOP has been hurt by its position on immigration in recent elections. Black Protestants (44% vs. 42%) and white evangelical Protestants (41% vs. 46%) are roughly equally as likely to say the issue of immigration hurt the Republican Party as they are to say it did not make a difference. White Catholics (46% hurt, 45% no difference) and Hispanic Catholics (43% hurt, 38% no difference) are similarly divided.

There are notable divisions on this question by race and ethnicity. About 4-in-10 (39%) Hispanic Americans say the GOP’s position on immigration hurt it in the 2012 election, while approximately 4-in-10 (41%) say it did not make a difference, and 14% say it helped the Republican Party, considerably more than white Americans (5%) and black Americans (7%).

III. The Social Context: Experience with Immigrants and Immigration

Community Context

Number of Immigrants in Local Community

Americans’ exposure to new immigrants varies considerably. Roughly equal numbers say they live in a community with many new immigrants (24%), some new immigrants (23%), only a few new immigrants (23%) or almost no new immigrants (27%). There are no large political or regional differences on this question. However, there are significant divisions by community type, race and ethnicity, religious affiliation, and generation.

A majority (53%) of Americans who live in urban areas say their community has some or many new immigrants, compared to less than one-third (32%) of Americans who live in rural areas.

Asian Americans are more likely than other racial and ethnic groups to report that they live in a community with some or many new immigrants. Nearly two-thirds Asian Americans (66%) say they live in a community with some or many new immigrants, compared to a slim majority (51%) of Hispanic Americans, nearly half (46%) of white Americans, and 4-in-10 (40%) black Americans. Majorities of black (57%) and white (51%) Americans report that they live in a community with only a few new immigrants or almost no new immigrants.

Proximity to immigrants varies by religious affiliation: Mormons (59%), Hispanic Catholics (53%), religiously unaffiliated Americans (51%), and Jewish Americans (51%) are somewhat more likely than white Catholics (44%), white mainline Protestants (44%), white evangelical Protestants (43%), and black Protestants (35%) to report that they live in a community with some or many new immigrants.

There are also some divisions by generation. A majority (51%) of Millennials (age 18-29) report that they live in a community with some or many new immigrants, compared to 36% of seniors (age 65 and older). More than 6-in-10 (61%) seniors say they live in a community with only a few new immigrants or almost no new immigrants.

Frequency of Contact With People Who Speak Little or No English

Fully half (50%) of Americans say they often come in contact with immigrants who speak little or no English. About one-quarter (26%) say they sometimes interact with immigrants who speak little or no English, and less than one-quarter say they rarely (18%) or never (5%) come in contact with immigrants who speak little or no English.

There are few political divisions on this question. However, Hispanic Americans (65%) are more likely than black (48%), white (47%), or Asian (41%) Americans to report that they come in contact with immigrants who speak little or no English often.

Hearing About Immigration in Church

Most religious Americans are not hearing frequently about the issue of immigration in church. Among those who attend church at least once or twice a month, roughly 1-in- 5 say their clergy leader speaks about the issue of immigration sometimes (16%) or often (6%). About one-quarter (27%) of regular church attenders say that their clergy leader speaks about the issue of immigration rarely, and nearly half (49%) report that their clergy leader never speaks about the issue of immigration.

Hispanic Catholics (54%) are the only religious group among whom a majority report that their clergy leader speaks about the issue of immigration sometimes or often. Nearly 4-in-10 (38%) Hispanic Protestants (6) also say that they hear about immigration sometimes or often in church, although more than 6-in-10 say they hear about immigration rarely (16%) or never (46%). Majorities of black Protestants (51%), white evangelical Protestants (52%), and white mainline Protestants (56%) say their clergy leader never speaks out about the issue of immigration.

Similarly, nearly half (45%) of Hispanic Americans who attend church at least once or twice a month say their clergy leader speaks out about immigration sometimes or often, compared to 26% of black regular church attenders and 17% of white regular church attenders.

Friends and Family

Friends Born Outside the U.S.

More than 6-in-10 (61%) Americans say they have a close friend who was born outside the U.S., while nearly 4-in-10 (39%) say they do not. There are divisions on this question by religious affiliation, race and ethnicity, generation, class, region, and community type.

Although majorities of most religious groups report that they have a close friend who was born abroad, minority religious groups are more likely than other groups to report that this is true of them. Hispanic Catholics (86%), Jewish Americans (77%), Hispanic Protestants (75%), Mormons (69%), and religiously unaffiliated Americans (64%) are more likely than white Catholics (55%), white mainline Protestants (55%), white evangelical Protestants (52%), and black Protestants (47%) to say they have a close friend who was born outside the country. A majority (52%) of black Protestants say they do not have a close friend who was born outside the U.S.

Similarly, Asian (89%) and Hispanic (81%) Americans are more likely than white (57%) or black (52%) Americans to report that they have a close friend who was born outside the U.S.

Millennials (68%) are twenty percentage points more likely than seniors (48%) to say they have a close friend who was born outside the U.S. White college-educated Americans (68%) are also nearly twenty percentage points more likely than white working-class Americans (49%) to report that they have a close friend born outside the country, although this varies significantly by age.(7)

Americans who live in urban areas (65%) are also more likely than Americans who live in rural areas (48%) to say they have a close friend who was born outside the U.S. Meanwhile, Americans from the West (71%) and Northeast (66%) are more likely than Americans who live in the South (57%) and Midwest (52%) to report that they have a close friend who was born outside the country.

First, Second, and Third-Generation Americans

Most Americans (82%) are at least third-generation, which means that they were born in the United States to American-born parents. Four percent of Americans are second-generation, born in the U.S. to foreign-born parents. More than 1-in-10 (13%) Americans, meanwhile, are first-generation, meaning that they were born in another country.

There are sizeable divisions by race and ethnicity. Half (50%) of first-generation Americans are Hispanic, while slightly more than 1-in-5 (21%) are white, and approximately 1-in-10 are Asian (12%) or black (11%). Similarly, a plurality (44%) of second-generation Americans are Hispanic, while one-third (33%) are white, 12% are Asian, and 4% are black. The vast majority (75%) of third-generation Americans are white, while more than 1-in-10 (12%) are black, and less than 1-in-10 are Hispanic (7%) or Asian (1%).

Knowledge of Family’s Immigration Story

Nearly 7-in-10 Americans say they know the story of how their family first came to the U.S. somewhat (26%) or very (43%) well. Less than 3-in-10 (29%) say they know their family’s immigration story not too well or not at all well. There are few differences by political affiliation and generation. However, there are variations according to race and ethnicity, religious affiliation, and class.

Majorities of all racial and ethnic groups say they know the story of how their family came to the U.S. somewhat or very well. However, Asian (58%) and Hispanic (54%) Americans are more likely than black (44%) and white (39%) Americans to say that they know the story of how their family came to the U.S. very well.

Similarly, there are variations among religious groups. Hispanic Catholics (81%), Mormons (76%), Jewish Americans (76%), white Catholics (73%), and white mainline Protestants (70%) are more likely than white evangelical Protestants (63%) and black Protestants (59%) to say they know the story of how their family came to the U.S. somewhat or very well.

There are also gaps according to social class. White college-educated Americans (76%) are more likely than white working-class Americans (61%) to say they know the story of how their family first came to the U.S. somewhat or very well.

IV. The Cultural Context: Nostalgia and Perceptions of Immigrants in a Changing America

The Changing Racial and Religious Landscape

The face of American society has changed dramatically over the course of a single generation, in part due to new immigration, birth rates, and shifting patterns of religious affiliation. American society, which for most of its history has been predominantly white Christian, is quickly becoming a racially and religiously multi-cultural nation. Currently, 65% of Americans identify as white, non-Hispanic, 11% as black, non-Hispanic, 14% as Hispanic, 3% as Asian, and 7% as mixed race or some other race. However, these patterns mask dramatic differences by age.

The racial differences between seniors, America’s oldest adults, and Millennials, America’s youngest adults, are dramatic. More than 8-in-10 (82%) seniors (age 65 and older) identify as white, compared to 9% who identify as black, 5% as Hispanic, 1% as Asian and 4% as some other race or mixed race. By contrast, only a slim majority (52%) of Millennials (age 18-29) identify as white, while nearly one-quarter (23%) identify as Hispanic, 12% identify as black, 5% as Asian, and close to 1-in-10 (8%) as some other race or mixed race.

The religious differences between these two generations are equally strong. More than 7-in-10 (71%) seniors identify as some type of white Christian, including white evangelical Protestant (29%) white mainline Protestant (23%), or white Catholic (17%). In contrast, less than 3-in-10 (28%) of Millennials identify as white Christian (10% white evangelical Protestant, 9% white mainline Protestant, and 6% white Catholic). Seniors are about three times more likely than Millennials to identify as white Catholic (17% vs. 6%). Conversely, Hispanic Catholics make up a much larger proportion of Millennials (10%) than seniors (3%). Among Americans under the age of 30, the majority (56%) of Catholics are now Hispanic. One other important religious difference separating seniors and Millennials is the number of each who identify as religiously unaffiliated. Nearly one-third (31%) of Millennials identify as religiously unaffiliated, compared to roughly 1-in-10 (11%) seniors. Millennials (13%) are also about four times more likely than seniors (3%) to identify as atheist or agnostic.

Feelings of Nostalgia and Cultural Protectionism

Perceptions of Changes Since 1950’s

These significant demographic differences are reflected in sharply contrasting views about how American culture and way of life has changed since the 1950s. A majority (54%) of Americans say that since the 1950s, American culture and way of life has mostly changed for the worse, while 4-in-10 (40%) say it has mostly changed for the better. There are profound differences by political affiliation, religious affiliation, race and ethnicity, and generation. Notably, there are no significant differences by gender.

Political differences on this question are quite pronounced. Roughly three-quarters of Americans who identify with the Tea Party movement (76%) and Republicans (73%), as well as a majority (56%) of political independents, believe that American culture and way of life has changed for the worse. A majority (55%) of Democrats disagree, saying that American culture and way of life has changed for the better since the 1950s.

White Christians strongly embrace the belief that American culture has changed for the worse since the 1950s. Three-quarters (75%) of white evangelical Protestants and more than 6-in-10 white mainline Protestants (61%) and white Catholics (62%) say American culture and way of life has changed for the worse over the past half-century. Majorities of Hispanic Protestants (54%) and Mormons (54%) also agree that American culture and way of life has mostly changed for the worse. By contrast, nearly two-thirds of Jewish Americans (65%) and majorities of Hispanic Catholics (57%) and black Protestants (58%) believe that American culture has changed for the better.

There are also significant racial divisions, with 61% of white Americans reporting that American culture has changed for the worse, while majorities of Asian (65%), black (56%), and Hispanic (51%) Americans report that things have improved since the 1950s.

Nostalgic feelings about America’s past are much more apparent among those who lived during the 1950s. Nearly two-thirds (66%) of seniors believe that American culture has changed for the worse since that time, while a slim majority (51%) of Millennials say that American society has mostly changed for the better.

Concerns About Foreign Influence

Americans are more divided over whether the American way of life needs to be protected against foreign influence: a majority (53%) agree, while 45% disagree. Political, religious and generational divisions on this question are substantial.

Nearly 7-in-10 (68%) Republicans agree that the American way of life needs to be protected, compared to roughly half of Democrats (45%) and independents (51%). Three-quarters (75%) of Americans who identify with the Tea Party believe that the American way of life needs to be protected, including nearly half (46%) who completely agree.

Most Christians, regardless of race or ethnicity, believe that the American way of life needs to be protected from foreign influence, including 69% of white evangelical Protestants, 65% of black Protestants, 59% of Hispanic Protestants, 57% of white Catholics, and 53% of white mainline Protestants. Hispanic Catholics are roughly evenly divided: half (50%) agree that the American way of life needs to be protected from foreign influence, while 46% disagree. Nearly 7-in-10 (68%) Jewish Americans, nearly 6-in-10 (58%) religiously unaffiliated Americans, and 52% of Mormons disagree that the American way of life needs to be protected from foreign influence.

There are also some generational divides. More than 6-in-10 (64%) seniors agree that the American way of life needs to be protected from foreign influence, compared to only 41% of Millennials.

Concerns About a Majority-Minority Nation

Despite feelings of nostalgia about mid-twentieth century culture, most Americans say that an idea of an America where the majority of the population is not white does not bother them. Only 14% of Americans report that they would be bothered by this notion, while more than 8-in-10 (84%) disagree. There are only modest differences by political affiliation. Less than 1-in-5 (18%) Republicans agree that a majority nonwhite America would bother them, compared to 14% of Democrats and 11% of independents. Nearly one-in-four (23%) Americans who identify with the Tea Party say that the idea of an America where most people are not white bothers them.

However, on issue of race, previous research (Sniderman and Carmines 1997) suggests that survey respondents may misrepresent their actual views on sensitive topics to live interviewers if these views are not consistent with what respondents believe is a socially desirable response. In order to measure whether a “social desirability effect” was operative when respondents were asked whether the idea of an America where most people are not white bothers them, a controlled experiment was conducted in a follow-up survey among a nationally representative sample of American adults (N=1,028).(8) The experiment, commonly known as a List Experiment, randomly divides the sample into two demographically identical groups, a control group and a treatment group. Each group was read a list of statements and instructed to report how many statements—not which specific statements—would bother or worry them. The first group was read a list of three control statements (A-C below), while the second group was read an identical list of statements with an additional fourth statement, the treatment statement: “An America where most people are not white.”

Thus, Americans who are reluctant to assert directly to an interviewer that an America where most people are not white bothers them were given a way to register this concern indirectly. Unless a respondent selected all four statements, which occurred in only 7% of all cases, they could be assured that the interviewer would not know which specific statements bothered them. Given that respondents were randomly assigned to the two groups, the only reason for a difference in the average number of statements selected by each group is the selection of the treatment statement. Therefore, by subtracting the average number of statements selected by the treatment group from the average number of statements selected by the control group, the experiment reveals an estimate of the percentage of Americans who are bothered by the idea of an America where most people are not white.

The List Experiment demonstrates that significantly more Americans overall are willing to say that the idea of an America where most people are not white bothers them when asked indirectly (23%), compared to when they are asked directly (14%). Among white non-Hispanic Americans, the gap between indirect and direct measures on this question doubles from 9 points to 18 points; only 13% of non-Hispanic whites say the idea of an American where most people are not white bothers them, but when given the opportunity to register this view indirectly, more than 3-in-10 (31%) do so.

The New American Community: Impact of Immigrants and Social Groups

Impact of Newcomers From Other Countries

A majority (54%) of Americans believe that the growing numbers of newcomers from other countries help strengthen American society, while a significant minority (40%) say that newcomers threaten traditional American customs and values. Views about immigrants’ contributions have been stable since 2011, when 53% of the public believed that newcomers were strengthening American society.(9) However, there are yawning differences of opinion by political affiliation and generation.

Six-in-ten (60%) Americans who identify with the Tea Party and a smaller majority (55%) of Republicans believe that the growing number of newcomers from other countries threaten American customs. Nearly two-thirds (64%) of Democrats and a majority (54%) of independents believe the opposite—that the growing numbers of newcomers make America stronger.

Younger Americans exhibit more positive sentiments about the contributions of immigrants than do older Americans. Nearly 7-in-10 (68%) Millennials believe that immigrants coming to the U.S. strengthen society. By contrast, seniors are nearly evenly divided, with 46% saying that immigrants constitute a threat to traditional American customs and 44% saying that they benefit American society. These generational divides are also evident within the political parties. A majority (52%) of Millennial Republicans agree that immigrants strengthen American society, compared to only one-third (33%) of senior Republicans. There is an equally large generational divide among Democrats. Nearly three-quarters (74%) of Millennial Democrats say immigrants strengthen American society, compared to a smaller majority (52%) of senior Democrats.

Influence of Groups on American Culture

Americans hold mixed views about certain social groups’ influence on American culture and way of life, and there are no groups whose effects are perceived to be wholly positive or negative. However, some groups, including Asians (40% better vs. 9% worse), Hispanics (39% better vs. 20% worse), immigrants (38% better vs. 28% worse), and young people (43% better vs. 30% worse), are viewed, on balance, as more likely to be changing American culture for the better than they are to be changing it for the worse.

On the other hand, by a nearly 4-to-1 margin, Americans believe that atheists are changing American culture for the worse (39%) rather than for the better (10%). There is roughly a 2-to-1 gap in views about the impact of non-religious people (31% worse vs. 16% better). The Tea Party (30% worse vs. 24% better), gay and lesbian people (29% worse vs. 24% better) and Muslims (27% worse vs. 18% better) are also perceived as having a somewhat more negative than positive impact on American culture and way of life.

There are sizable political differences in perceptions of these groups’ social impact. The biggest difference between Republicans and Democrats is, not surprisingly, in views of the Tea Party. Nearly half (47%) of Democrats say that the Tea Party is changing American culture and way of life for the worse, compared to 10% of Republicans. By contrast, nearly half (48%) of Republicans say the Tea Party is changing American culture and way of life for the better.

There are also political divisions in Americans’ perceptions of atheists, gay and lesbian people, immigrants, and Muslims. Nearly 6-in-10 (59%) Republicans say that atheists are changing American culture for the worse, compared to one-third (33%) of Democrats. Roughly half (49%) of Republicans say that gay and lesbian people are also changing American culture for the worse, compared to 1-in-5 (20%) Democrats. Republicans (40%) are also about twice as likely as Democrats (21%) to say that immigrants are changing American way of life for the worse. Americans who identify with the Tea Party do not differ substantially from Republicans in their views of most groups, with two exceptions. Members of the Tea Party are more likely than Republicans to say that Muslims (54% vs. 45%) and gay and lesbian people (57% and 49%) are changing American society for the worse.

The generational gaps are similarly substantial. Overall, Millennials are more likely than seniors to perceive all social groups, with the exception of the Tea Party, as having positive impact on American culture. The largest divides between Millennials and seniors are in views of atheists, gay and lesbian people, and Muslims. A majority (55%) of seniors say that atheists are changing American culture and way of life for the worse, compared to less than 1-in-4 (24%) Millennials. More than 4-in-10 (44%) seniors say that gay and lesbian people are changing American culture for the worse, compared to 14% of Millennials. There is a similar gap in views about Muslims, with 40% of seniors saying they are changing American culture for the worse compared to 12% of Millennials. Millennials (50%) are also more likely than seniors (37%) to see young people’s contribution to American culture as positive.

Impact of Immigrants on Local Communities and American Society

Americans generally perceive that immigrants are having more of an impact on American society than on their own communities. Less than one-third (32%) of Americans say that immigrants today are changing their community a lot, 46% say they are changing it a little, and roughly 1-in-5 (21%) say they are not having any impact. Meanwhile, close to half (46%) of Americans say immigrants today are changing American society a lot, 45% say they are changing it a little, and less than 1-in-10 (8%) say they are not having any impact.

Views about immigrants’ impact on American society are strongly associated with political ideology. Conservatives (36%) and liberals (31%) are about equally as likely to say that immigrants are changing their own communities a lot. However, conservatives (53%) are more likely than liberals (38%) to say that immigrants are changing American society a lot.

Americans who believe immigrants are having at last some impact are significantly more likely to say that immigrants’ influence on their own community is good (54%) rather than bad (37%). Views about immigrants’ impact on American society are more divided. Half (50%) of Americans say that these changes are a good thing, while more than 4-in-10 (41%) disagree, saying they are a bad thing. There are significant differences by political affiliation.

Among Americans who say that immigrants are changing their community at least a little, Democrats are more likely than Republicans to believe that immigrants’ influence on their community and American society more broadly is a good thing. Democrats (65%) are significantly more likely than Republicans (40%) or members of the Tea Party (30%) to say this influence is a good thing. Six-in-ten (60%) Americans who identify with the Tea Party and a majority (52%) of Republicans say this is a bad thing. The pattern of responses is similar in views about immigrants’ impact on American society as a whole.

Immigrants’ Perceptions of Themselves as Americans

Overall, nearly 6-in-10 (59%) Americans believe that immigrants today think of themselves as Americans, much like immigrants from previous eras, while 36% disagree.

Majorities of Democrats (66%), independents (59%), and Republicans (51%) agree that immigrants today think of themselves as Americans just as much as immigrants from earlier eras did. By contrast, 44% of Americans who identify with the Tea Party agree with this statement, while a majority (52%) disagree.

There are few racial differences on this question. More than 6-in-10 Asian (64%), black (64%), and Hispanic (63%) Americans believe that immigrants today are just as likely to think of themselves as Americans as immigrants from earlier eras did, as well as 57% of white Americans.

Majorities of all religious groups, including 68% of Jewish Americans, 66% of Hispanic Catholics, 64% of Hispanic Protestants, 63% of religiously unaffiliated Americans, 61% of black Protestants, 59% of white Catholics, 56% of white mainline Protestants, 54% of Mormons, and 51% of white evangelical Protestants, agree that immigrants today think of themselves as Americans just as much as immigrants from other eras did.

Interestingly, first-generation Americans (62%) are about equally as likely as second-generation (64%) and third-generation (58%) Americans to say that immigrants today think of themselves as Americans just as much as immigrants from earlier eras did.

Immigrants’ Impact on Jobs and the Economy

Although most Americans agree that immigrants coming to the U.S. today take jobs that most Americans don’t want, they also express significant concern about illegal immigrants’ effect on wages. Nearly two-thirds (64%) of Americans agree that immigrants coming to this country today mostly take jobs that Americans don’t want, while less than 1-in-3 (27%) say that immigrants take jobs away from American citizens. Meanwhile, a majority (56%) of Americans also agree that illegal immigrants hurt the economy by driving down wages for many Americans, while more than one-third (36%) say they help the economy by providing low-cost labor. There is a general consensus among political, racial, and religious groups that immigrants mostly take jobs that Americans don’t want. There is, however, less agreement among these groups on illegal immigrants’ overall effect on the economy.

While majorities of Democrats (69%), independents (64%), and Republicans (56%) agree that immigrants coming to this country today mostly take jobs Americans don’t want, there is less agreement on whether illegal immigrants hurt the economy by driving down wages. Two-thirds (67%) of Republicans and a majority (55%) of independents agree that illegal immigrants mostly hurt the economy by driving down wages for many Americans, while Democrats are more divided. Nearly half (49%) of Democrats agree that illegal immigrants hurt the economy by driving down wages, while more than 4-in-10 (43%) disagree, saying that illegal immigrants help the economy by providing low-cost labor.

Nearly 8-in-10 (79%) Hispanic Americans and approximately 6-in-10 white (62%) and black (59%) Americans agree that immigrants coming to the country today mostly take jobs Americans don’t want. However, there are significant levels of disagreement on whether illegal immigrants help or hurt the economy. Six-in-ten white (60%) and black (60%) Americans agree that illegal immigrants hurt the economy by driving down wages for many Americans, while nearly as many (59%) Hispanic Americans disagree, saying that illegal immigrants help the economy by providing low-cost labor.

There are sizeable class divisions on immigrants’ impact on jobs and the economy. Although majorities of white working-class (52%) and white college-educated Americans (75%) agree that immigrants coming to the U.S. today mostly take jobs Americans don’t want, a sizeable minority (39%) of white working-class Americans disagree, saying that immigrants mostly take jobs away from American citizens. Similarly, while more than 7-in-10 (71%) white working-class Americans agree that illegal immigrants mostly hurt the economy by driving down wages, only 42% of white college-educated Americans agree. Half (50%) of white college-educated Americans say illegal immigrants help the economy by providing low-cost labor.

Some of the largest divisions in views about the impact of illegal immigrants are between first-generation and third-generation Americans. Nearly 8-in-10 first-generation (78%) Americans agree that immigrants coming to the U.S. today mostly take jobs Americans don’t want, compared to 61% of third-generation Americans. Meanwhile, nearly 6-in-10 (58%) first-generation Americans also believe that illegal immigrants mostly help the economy by providing low-cost labor, while 61% of third-generation Americans say illegal immigrants hurt the economy by driving down wages.

V. Immigration Reform Policy and Values

Perceptions of the Immigration Process

Knowledge of Deportation Rates