The election of President Trump was surrounded by harsh rhetoric towards immigrants in the United States, as well as a strong backlash against these statements, which has been continued by both sides since his inauguration in January, especially following two blocked travel ban executive orders, among other immigration and refugee controls his administration sought to put in place. To examine how these events have influenced the landscape of American public opinion, Pack Poll did what we always do, and fielded a survey.
While the broader purpose of the survey was a comparison between immigration sentiment here at NC State and abroad in Europe, other interesting pieces of data were drawn forward in the process. One of particular interest is a series of questions asking respondents to rate on a scale of 1-11 how they felt about a series of questions, with 1 being most negative and 11 being most positive.
The three questions all mirror European Social Survey questions, and are generally the most-cited indicators of fluctuation of immigration support:
1) Is the United States’ cultural life generally undermined or enriched by people coming to live here from other countries? (1 being entirely undermined, 11 being entirely enriched)
2) Is it generally bad or good for the United States’ economy that people come to live here from other countries? (1 being entirely bad, 11 being entirely good)
3) Is the United States’ made a worse or better place to live by people coming to live here from other countries? (1 being entirely worse, 11 being entirely better)
Depicted below is the mean of each of those questions, for the whole survey, and then broken out by which of the two major candidates the respondent voted for in the 2016 election. The standard deviations ranged from 2.5 to 2.9 across the data set.
In our results, we found a broad and solid majority support among NC State students but a serious divide in the strength of support between those who voted for Clinton and those who voted for President Trump. While that may not be surprising in and of itself, the contrast was sharp, with supporters for both candidates saying immigrants generally benefited the US regardless of which metric was assessed , though the level of benefit perceived was severely divided, with Clinton supporters falling at least two points higher on the scale than Trump supporters on average.
Similarly, Trump supporters barely fell on the positive side (above 6, in the graph above) while Clinton supporters and the student body as a whole (which includes non-voters and third party voters) were significantly more supportive.
Another value of note is that no matter which candidate was supported, or if they voted at all, all respondents were more negative towards the economic value of immigrants , which was surprisingly consistently rating the second question .3 points lower than the others. This trend remained true in the case of third party and non-voters as well, though was not depicted due to the low number of respondents in those categories.
A Toplines report for all survey questions, and results, is available here: Spr 2017 Flash Poll 1 Toplines
NOTE ON METHODOLOGY: This poll took place March 28-31, 2017. The survey was administered over the internet to a random sample of 3,500 NCSU undergraduates and 468 completed the survey, generating a 13.4% response rate. Assuming a 50-50 division in opinion calculated at a 95 percent confidence level, the margin of sampling error for this survey is +/-4% when questions were answered by the full sample; sampling error increases for estimates when three or more choices were offered, when fewer respondents were asked a version of a question, or when analyzing the opinions of sub-groups, such as when looking just at Clinton and Trump supporters independently.
In addition to sampling error, other forms of non-sampling error occur in surveys, such as confusion about question wording or the order of questions, and non-response bias (low response rates), but these types of error are not precisely quantifiable. We do not apply post-stratification sample weights in this survey.