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Grinnell poll: Majority say immigrants enrich culture


A new Grinnell College National Poll found that a strong majority (70%) of respondents say immigrants strengthen rather than threaten (12%) American culture. The rest were unsure. 

Results were significantly different if the respondent interacted with immigrants on a daily basis. Of those who did, 81% said immigrants enrich American culture. Of the 15% of respondents who reported never interacting with immigrants in daily life, 48% said immigrants enrich the local culture and nearly a third, 30%, said immigrants are a threat to American culture. 

“The first important insight from the poll is most Americans are not anti-immigrant,” said Eliza Willis, professor of political science at Grinnell College. “Although Republicans are somewhat less supportive than Democrats or independents, these positive attitudes prevail across party lines. Additionally, no matter what one’s party preference, more regular contact with immigrants is associated with more positive attitudes.”

The poll found that 61% thought immigrants’ influence on the U.S. economy was positive, while 22% considered it negative. The percentage seeing a positive influence jumped to 73% among those who regularly interact with immigrants.

The Grinnell College National Poll was conducted Oct. 17-23 by Selzer & Co. The survey included 1,003 U.S. adults ages 18 or older, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points. A total of 806 likely voters responded.

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