I didn’t need a poll to tell me immigration is the top issue for voters this election cycle. I could see it for myself when, after visiting the U.S. border with Canada, I returned home to vote in the New Hampshire primary.
The day before the primary, I found a stack of large color postcards waiting in my mailbox. All were about Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley, who is either “a positive vision for the future of America” or “too weak and too liberal to fix the border,” depending on what card you read. One thing is for sure: Someone spent a lot of money to mail these cards, and the 2024 campaign is not subtle.
The chaos at our border dominated this primary election. According to a Fox News exit poll, 42% of New Hampshire Republican primary voters “considered immigration the most important issue in the 2024 race.” That was almost the same number as the Iowa caucuses, where 41% of Republican primary voters put immigration as the top issue, beating “economy/jobs” at 33%.
Immigration isn’t just a big issue for Iowa and New Hampshire. A Harvard-Harris poll found it was the top issue for national voters, at 35%—up 7 percentage points since their last poll—beating inflation at 32% and the economy at 25%. Only 35% of voters in this poll approved of how President Biden was handling immigration.
If Republicans in Iowa and New Hampshire, two states relatively insulated from the mass release of illegal aliens at the border, put illegal immigration as their top concern, I’d wager that voters in Texas, New York, Illinois, California and Florida will care even more.
Indeed, the Harvard-Harris nationwide poll found that “77% of voters believe the Biden administration should make a deal with the Republicans to increase border security—including 65% of Democrats.” And 68% also said “the Biden administration should make it tougher to get into the U.S. illegally—including 50% of Democrats.”
Despite the polls, The Washington Post’s “5 takeaways from the New Hampshire primary” article didn’t mention immigration, the economy, inflation, jobs, or anything else that might have motivated primary voters. The Post discussed exit poll questions about denying the 2020 election results, abortion, and whether Donald Trump should be president again if convicted of a crime.
The Post also broke down Ms. Haley’s reasons for not throwing in the towel as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis did, which gave the newspaper a chance to lay out its own arguments against Mr. Trump—his alleged “poor electoral track record,” “senior moments” and “legal issues.” The Post’s last takeaway was “there’s little doubt about Mr. Biden winning the Democratic nomination.” Mr. Biden was not on the ballot as a candidate but won as a write-in with 63.9%. Mr. Trump won 54.3% of the Republican primary vote.
Voters want meaningful reforms to stem illegal entry rather than merely spending more money to parole or mass-release illegal aliens.
I went home to vote for a candidate who promised to secure the borders, who would present strength and resolution overseas, and who at least claimed to be fiscally conservative. A couple of days before I got to the booth, there was one fewer candidate to choose from, but that’s politics.
This is going to be a long year, and much can happen. But if New Hampshire is anything to go by, the concerns of American voters about the border crisis are unlikely to go away before November.
This piece originally appeared in The Washington Times