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The situation in Iraq has been the dominant political issue of the past several years and will probably be the defining issue of the Bush Presidency. However, immigration is emerging as an issue that may play a critical role in defining the next Administration.
Already, 29% of Americans nationally consider immigration a more important voting issue than Iraq. That’s barely half the 54% who consider Iraq more important, but it’s remarkably high for an issue that both major political parties have generally avoided.
The regional impact of this issue cannot be overlooked. In Nevada, voters are evenly divided as to whether immigration or Iraq is more important. Rasmussen Reports will be measuring this topic in other border states over the coming months.
The partisan dynamic is also very significant. Democrats overwhelmingly say Iraq is the most important issue. Seventy-one percent (71%) of Howard Dean’s party hold that view while only 15% name immigration as more important.
However, Republicans are evenly divided — 42% say immigration is a more important issue while 41% name Iraq.
Among those not affiliated with either major party, 47% say Iraq is a more important issue while 30% name immigration.
Fifty-eight percent (58%) of Americans favor building a barrier along the U.S.-Mexican border. That’s little changed from 60% in an earlier survey. There is substantially less support when voters are asked about building a “wall” between the U.S. and Mexico.
(Posted on December 13, 2005)