Most Idahoans don’t want to accept more refugees from the Middle East, a new Idaho Politics Weekly poll shows.
And they are split over whether GOP President Donald Trump’s efforts in limiting immigration to the U.S. will help or hurt Idaho’s economy.
Pollster Dan Jones & Associates asked the questions in a recent survey – and there are two major takeaways in the data:
- Those who said they have no religion are the most welcoming to Mid-East refugees, many of whom are fleeing religion-based wars or conflicts.
- Even though Idaho is an agricultural-based economy, which needs immigrants to do much of the hard physical labor – Idahoans don’t seem to want more immigrant laborers.
Overall, 55 percent of Idahoans do not want more Middle Eastern refugees – like from Syria’s civil war or the conflicts in Iraqi and Afghanistan.
Forty-two percent said Idaho should accept such refugees, and 2 percent didn’t know.
Trump has twice attempted to keep such refugees out of the country – but his efforts have been stalled in federal courts.
Jones finds that 45 percent of Idahoans believe Trump’s “less immigration” policy will help Idaho’s economy, with 41 percent says it will hurt, and 14 percent don’t know.
Trump has turned out to be a controversial president in his first 100 days in office, and Idahoans gave candidate Trump the state’s four Electoral College votes in November.
So it is natural that much of what Trump tries to do fall out along partisan lines:
- 74 percent of Idaho Republicans agree no more refugees from the Middle East, only 24 percent of Republicans say the state should take more of them.
- Just the opposite for Democrats: 77 percent say take more refugees, 20 percent say no more.
- Political independents are split, 53 percent say no more such refugees, 45 percent say more should be welcomed in the Gem State.
There is a clear religious issue in taking more Middle East refugees, the vast majority of whom are Muslims.
But you don’t find much Christ-like acceptance in the demographic breakouts:
- Even though their church leaders have opposed Trump on some of his immigration issues – especially candidate Trump’s call for a “complete” ban on Muslims entering the U.S. – Idaho Mormons oppose more of such refugees: 54 percent of Mormons said no more refugees, 42 percent said yes, take them.
- Catholics are opposed to more Middle Eastern refugees, 62-39 percent.
- Protestants are barely for more refugees, 51-46 percent.
- Christian-based religions, like born-again Christians, say keep them out, 71-27 percent.
- But those who said they have no religion at all are actually more welcoming, 57 percent say accept more refugees, 42 percent say don’t.
Finally, where you stand on Trump’s efforts to reduce immigration as a whole, depends on your politics:
- Republicans by a 60-25 percent margin believe Trump’s reducing immigration will actually help Idaho’s economy – although it doesn’t seem likely to help the agricultural business.
- Democrats by a 79-13 percent margin say the president’s immigration policies will harm the Idaho economy.
- Political independents are split, 44 percent say it will hurt the state economy, 42 percent say it will help it.
Jones polled 628 adults from Feb. 16-28. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.91 percent.