Most Americans see a significant difference between legal and illegal immigration. Fifty-one percent (51%) of voters believe that legal immigration is generally good for the nation while also believing that illegal immigration is generally bad.
A ScottRasmussen.com national survey found that this view is shared by 56% of Democrats, 49% of Independents, and 48% of Republicans.
Beyond that common ground of distinguishing between types of immigration, the survey found that 27% believe both legal and illegal immigration are generally bad for the nation. Nearly as many, 20%, believe both forms of immigration are generally good (see question wording and topline results).
A majority or plurality of just about every demographic group sees an important distinction between legal and illegal immigration. That includes 50% of those who approve of President Trump and 52% of those who disapprove.
However, beyond that common ground in the middle, there are notable differences. Among Republicans, 42% see all immigration as bad. Among Democrats, 27% see all immigration as good and 15% see it as bad. Independent voters are more evenly divided (28% say all bad, 21% all good) (see crosstabs).
Beyond that, there is clearly a divide in perceptions between white and non-white voters. Minority voters are somewhat less likely to see a distinction between legal and illegal immigration. Additionally, Black and Hispanic voters are more likely to see all immigration as good.
- Among Hispanic voters, 42% see the distinction between legal and illegal immigration. Nearly as many Hispanics (40%) believe that both forms of immigration are good.
- Forty-eight percent (48%) of black voters see the distinction while 38% believe all immigration is good. Among these minority groups, smaller numbers see both forms of immigration as bad.
- Among white voters, 52% see a distinction between legal and illegal discrimination. Thirty-three percent (33%) of white voters believe both forms of immigration are bad while 14% see both as good.
This national survey of 1,000 Registered Voters was conducted August 7-8, 2018 for ScottRasmussen.com by HarrisX, a leading research company specializing in online surveys (see Methodology and the Demographic profile of our sample). The Margin of Error is +/- 3.1 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.
Overall, 71% of voters believe that legal immigration is generally good for the nation. At the same time, 79% believe illegal immigration is bad.
The survey also found that 45% of all voters believe that those who enter the country without filling out the proper forms and meeting entry requirements should be referred to as undocumented workers. Thirty-eight percent (38%) believe they should be referred to as illegal immigrants while 17% prefer illegal aliens.
Those who see all immigration as good overwhelmingly favor the term undocumented immigrants. Those who see all immigration as bad overwhelmingly favor either illegal immigrants or illegal aliens. As for those who see a distinction between legal and illegal immigration, 43% favor undocumented workers, 41% prefer illegal immigrants, and 16% say illegal aliens is the best description.
The mission of ScottRasmussen.com is to enhance the public dialogue through data-driven analysis that explores the underlying currents of public opinion (read About Us). We release new polling data four to eight times each day. Sign up HERE to receive the latest numbers in our daily email update. You can also follow our work on Twitter and Facebook.
Neither Scott Rasmussen nor ScottRasmussen.com has any relationship with Rasmussen Reports® (see About Us).