Female Millennials’ Positive Views On Immigration Could Doom The G.O.P. In November by Maya Kosoff for Vanity Fair
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by BriteHeart | 7.23.18
Last month, searing images of children being ripped from their parents and detained in chain-link enclosures dominated the news, kicking off one of the most tumultuous controversies of Donald Trump’s presidency and drawing comparisons to, among other historical episodes, the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. Ultimately, the “zero-tolerance” policy was amended, and a judge ordered families to be reunited. But as the White House struggles to comply, immigration policy remains a potent issue for prospective voters—particularly millennial women. “I am profoundly disturbed by the lack of accountability and urgency around this issue, let alone the fact that it was ever allowed to occur in the first place,” one woman wrote in response to a survey conducted by theSkimm. Others noted that such policies have the potential to do long-term damage to the United States: “Immigrants are the backbone of this country. The unfair treatment of those seeking a better life here is disgraceful to America, its history, and to all those Americans who are proud immigrants and citizens of this country.”
Overall, nearly 70 percent of both millennial men and millennial women believe immigration helps the U.S. more than it hurts, according to a new survey conducted by the Hive, theSkimm, and SurveyMonkeyas part of Millennial Takeover 2018, our year-long editorial project in advance of midterm elections. But when it comes to immigration policy under Trump, gender seems to play a greater role even than political party affiliation in predicting the outlook of millennials. Forty percent of millennial men approve of Trump’s immigration policy, but only 24 percent of female millennials feel the same. More G.O.P.-leaning millennial women support DACA than their male counterparts (54 percent to 48 percent, respectively), and more of these women want a path to legal status for undocumented immigrants—67 percent compared to 51 percent of young men of the same party. Though we’ve seen evidence that some social issues are gender-agnostic and garner support from both millennial men and women, immigration is not one of them.
That’s not to say female millennials’ views don’t fall along partisan lines. A full 84 percent of Democratic and Democratic-leaning female millennials say immigration helps the United States more than it hurts, while 43 percent of Republican and Republican-leaning millennial women say the same. “I do not believe that anyone coming to America to seek a better life should be treated as ‘less than,’” one woman wrote in a survey conducted by theSkimm, “or rejected because of where they come from.” Similarly, 80 percent of Democratic and Democratic-leaning female millennials think that, overall, immigration has had a mostly positive impact on the U.S. economy, whereas only 42 percent of Republican and Republican-leaning millennial women feel the same. Fifty-four percent of Republican and Republican-leaning millennial women say they support DACA; among Democratic and Democratic-leaning women, that number rises to 89 percent. And while 32 percent of Republican and Republican-leaning millennial women say they “strongly approve” of how Trump is handling immigration policy, a single percent of Democratic and Democratic-leaning millennial women agree.
Granted, female millennial support for immigration has stayed relatively consistent over time—in January 2018, 77 percent of millennial women supported DACA, and 72 percent said people from other nations coming to the U.S. “helps more than it hurts.” In February, more than 8 in 10—85 percent—said they wanted to help undocumented immigrants already in the U.S. have the chance to achieve legal status. But as midterm elections approach, the White House’s anti-immigrant agenda could very well cost Republicans female millennial votes, particularly as candidates across the country echo the president’s combative stance. The majority of female millennials, 53 percent, say they would not vote for a candidate whose immigration policy they disagree with—a statistic that could prove damaging to a party that’s already struggling to make inroads with millennial women. And at least anecdotally, some are turned off by Trump’s extremist views. “He’s playing up . . . fear and hate. That’s a terrible way to go,” one woman wrote in a survey conducted by theSkimm. “If you’re against immigration, that’s fine, but no one should run on a platform that promotes hate, racism, and fear.”
Methodology: This SurveyMonkey/theSkimm/Hive online poll was conducted July 6-13, 2018 among a total sample of 8,189 adults, including 832 female millennials living in the United States. Respondents for these surveys were selected from more than 2 million people who take surveys on the SurveyMonkey platform each day. The modeled error estimate for the full sample is plus or minus 1.5 percentage points. Among millennial women, the modeled error estimate is plus or minus 4.5 percentage points. Data have been weighted for age, race, sex, education, and geography using the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey to reflect the demographic composition of the United States age 18 and over. The full breakdown by demographics is located here.
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