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Morning Consult/BPC Survey: Room for Immigration Compromise; Wall a Barrier to Negotiation

A new survey conducted by Morning Consult for the Bipartisan Policy Center finds that immigration is a high priority for both Democratic and Republican voters ahead of the 2020 election, and that a strong majority of voters in both parties want to see Congress reach a compromise on major immigration issues, including border security funding and providing legal status to DREAMers.

However, the border wall remains a barrier to reaching that compromise, with a plurality of voters in both parties unwilling to see their party’s leadership move away from a maximalist position on the topic.

Among all voters, immigration ranked as the third-most important issue for elected leaders to address, behind health care and the economy. Republican voters ranked immigration as their most important issue. More than 4 in 5 voters said a candidate’s immigration platform was important in their decision on which candidates to support.

“Our immigration system is broken, and the American people can see it,” said Theresa Cardinal Brown, BPC’s director of immigration and cross-border policy. “Our survey shows that inaction on immigration policy is no longer an option, and that in fact, Americans broadly agree on solutions to several key flashpoints and want to see our elected leaders tackle them in a bipartisan fashion.”

Survey respondents were asked to engage in a compromise exercise, ranking which of their party’s key policy stances they could give up and which of the other party’s they could accept in a negotiation among lawmakers to address the immigration system’s shortcomings. That exercise found that a deal pairing increased spending on border security with legal status for DREAMers was likely to be broadly acceptable among all voters.

The desire for compromise was bipartisan: 80% of Democrats and 75% of Republicans surveyed favored seeing lawmakers work across party lines to get something done on immigration.

The survey had a national sample of 1,994 registered voters and was conducted online.

View the survey results and analysis

Theresa Cardinal Brown is available for interviews.