As President Joe Biden’s overall approval numbers plummet, even within his own party one issue gets mentioned often as responsible for his massive drop in popularity: the unchecked flow of illegal immigrants on the nation’s southern border. A new Issues & Insights poll confirms what many suspected: that more voters now blame Biden, not former President Donald Trump, for the border disaster.
According to I&I/TIPP data, among those who say they are closely following the issue (59%), 45% blame Biden, while just 25% point their fingers at Trump. Meanwhile, 18% of those queried blamed “both,” 8% said “neither,” but just 4% said “not sure.”
The monthly I&I/TIPP poll is conducted online by TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence, I&I’s polling partner. The latest was conducted from Sept. 29-Oct. 2 and includes responses from 1,308 adults, giving it a margin of error of +/- 2.8 percentage points.
Nearly six in 10 (59%) are following the border situation. The responsibility question was asked only among this subset of poll respondents.
The data indicate a deepening concern among Americans over the deteriorating security along the U.S.’ border with Mexico.
October could be a watershed month for illegal crossings, with Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas reportedly asking “his officials whether the department was ready to handle the possibility of up to 400,000 migrants, nearly double the 21-year high seen in July, crossing the border in October,” according to the Daily Mail.
As a comparison, “The 400,000 figure would be roughly 10 times higher than the average month over the past decade and far beyond the 78,000 in January when President Joe Biden took office,” noted the Washington Examiner.
And more are on the way. In Texas, state officials are girding for an influx of as many as 60,000 Haitians joining the already massive tide of humanity crossing U.S. borders illegally and unvaccinated against COVID-19.
Violence is also breaking out. U.S. National Guard troops at the border recently came under sustained automatic weapons fire from Mexico from a perhaps not-unexpected source:
A deeper dive into the political and racial split revealed by the I&I/TIPP data won’t likely provide much comfort to the Biden camp.
While it’s true that 44% of Democrats blame Trump for the border mess, a significant share of Dems — 24% — agree it’s Biden’s fault. That compares with 77% of Republicans and 38% of independents assigning Biden blame. At the same time, just 6% of Republicans consider Trump responsible for the mess, and only 19% of independents, both less than the nearly quarter of Democrats who assign Biden the blame.
Among major demographic voting blocs, Biden gets a pass only from African-Americans. By 48% to 26%, black Americans blamed Trump for the mess. But, at 46%, they were also the highest among all major groups for responding that they weren’t following the border issue closely.
Another key Democratic base demographic, Hispanics, shows a keen interest in the border; 66% saying they’re following the news very closely. That compares with 59% overall who say they are following the border issue “somewhat closely” or “very closely.”
By 35% to 28%, Hispanics picked Biden as responsible for the the hemorrhaging U.S.-Mexico border over Trump.
This could be potentially significant in upcoming midterm elections and in the 2024 presidential race, given Trump’s success in 2020 with Hispanics. Trump received 38% of that group’s votes, more than either former presidential GOP candidates Mitt Romney (2012) or John McCain (2008).
As RealClearPolitics recently noted, “In the most heavily Hispanic area of the country, South Texas, Trump’s gains were eye-popping. Even though Joe Biden won the national popular vote by two percentage points, Trump increased his margin of victory by a whopping 19 to 55 points in 10 heavily Mexican American counties along the border.”
Of greatest concern to many is the releasing of those caught on the U.S. side of the border. In August 2020, when Trump was still in office, just 10 people were released into the U.S. This August, according to The Lid blog, “Biden’s U.S. Border Patrol arrested 195,000 illegals and released 43,941 of them.”
Worse still, former Border Patrol Chief Rodney Scott says there have been 400,000 of what he calls “gotaways” this year — that is, those who crossed the border but were never caught. That’s in addition to a more insidious threat of terrorists coming across.
“We have terrorist threats we can’t get into in this type of a forum but they are real,” Scott told Fox News Channel. “They exist, and they want to come across that border. Statistically, it always includes rapists, murderers, potential terrorists every single year if you look at CBP’s statistics publicly available. Those all exist in who we actually catch. To think there is not just as bad or worse people in those getting away would be naive.”
With Americans blaming Biden by nearly 2-1 over Trump for the border mess, it might just be the illegal immigration issue that decides the 2022 election, and beyond.
— Written by the I&I Editorial Board