60% Believe Legal Immigration is Good for U.S. But Illegal Immigration is Bad

Sixty percent (60%) of voters nationwide believe that legal immigration is good for the United States but illegal immigration is bad. A Scott Rasmussen survey found that 16% believe both forms of immigration are good while 13% believe both are bad. Eleven percent (11%) are not sure.

Putting those numbers together shows that 76% believe legal immigration is good for America while 71% believe illegal immigration is bad.

The view that legal immigration is good while illegal immigration is bad is shared by a plurality or majority of every measured demographic group but one. Very liberal voters are split between those who see all immigration as good (42%) and those who see a distinction between legal and illegal border crossings (39%).

However, despite the majority view being shared across demographic and partisan lines, there are significant distinctions within certain groups. For example, 33% of Hispanic voters believe both legal and illegal immigration is good. Just 11% say both forms are bad. But both White and Black voters are evenly split between the number who say all immigration is good and those who say it is all bad.

One perhaps surprising finding is that those who would prefer a candidate who supports Donald Trump’s policies are most likely to make the distinction between legal and illegal immigration. Seventy-five percent (75%) of such voters believe legal immigration is good while illegal immigration is bad. That view is shared by 71% who prefer traditional Republican candidates, 50% who would prefer Bernie Sanders’ type of policies, and 46% who prefer traditional Democratic candidates.

This appears to conflict with the perception that Trump voters are opposed to all immigration. That perception may be the result of the fact that 21% of voters who prefer Trump policies believe both forms of immigration are bad. Just 2% believe both forms are good. Other voters are more likely to say that both forms of immigration are good rather than bad. Still, a solid majority of Republicans and Independents make a distinction between legal and illegal immigration. So do 49% of Democrats.

Support for policies of a certain candidate were determined by the following question: Suppose you had a choice between four presidential candidates. All four had equal skills and temperament. Would you prefer a Republican who supported policies like President Trump, a more traditional Republican, a Democrat who supported policies similar to Senator Bernie Sanders, or a more traditional Democrat?

Over the past six months, responses to this question show that, on the GOP side of the aisle, Trump policies are strongly preferred over a traditional Republican. Democrats, on the other hand, are even divided between those who favor traditional Democrats or candidates pursuing Sanders’ policies.

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Note: Neither Scott Rasmussen, ScottRasmussen.com, nor RMG Research, Inc. have any affiliation with Rasmussen Reports. While Scott Rasmussen founded that firm, he left more than seven years ago and has had no involvement since that time.


The survey of 1,200 Registered Voters was conducted by Scott Rasmussen using a mixed mode approach from March 25-27. Field work for the survey was conducted by RMG Research, Inc. Most respondents were contacted online or via text while 269 were contacted using automated phone polling techniques. Online respondents were selected from a list of Registered Voters and through a process of Random Digital Engagement. Certain quotas were applied, and the sample was lightly weighted by geography, gender, age, race, education, and political party to reasonably reflect the nation’s population of Registered Voters. Other variables were reviewed to ensure that the final sample is representative of that population.

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