Only 1/3 of Americans support Republican migrant flights, Reuters/Ipsos poll finds

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WASHINGTON, Sept 23 (Reuters) – Only a third of Americans – including half of Republicans and one in six of Democrats – say state officials can fly or bus migrants to other states, a sign that Southern Republican governors pushing foreigners to ship foreigners north could backfire on some voters, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll.

Republican leaders, including Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a potential 2024 presidential candidate, are betting their immigration policies and proposals will help motivate their core supporters to vote in the November 8 midterm elections, when they aim to regain control of the US Congress.

The two-day poll concluded Thursday showed Americans are deeply divided on immigration, even within their political parties.

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Only about half of Democratic respondents agreed with a statement that it should be easier for people to immigrate to the United States. A slightly larger share of Republicans — six in 10 — disagreed.

Following a high-profile campaign by Republican governors to bus or fly thousands of migrants to Democratic areas in recent months, 53% of Republican respondents to the poll said they supported the practice. Twenty-nine percent opposed it.

Sixteen percent of Democrats supported the practice and 55 percent opposed it. Overall, 29% of Americans supported the practice and 40% opposed it.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican facing re-election in November, has sent about 11,500 migrants to Washington, New York and Chicago since April. Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, another Republican, sent more than 1,800 people to Washington.

Venezuelan migrants stand outside St. Andrew’s Church in Edgartown, Massachusetts, U.S., September 14, 2022. Ray Ewing/Vineyard Gazette/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo

Last week, DeSantis took credit for a flight that carried about 50 migrants to the vacation island of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, an affluent liberal haven where former President Barack Obama has a mansion.

Like Abbott, DeSantis is re-elected in November.

The governors’ moves aim to shift responsibility for border commuters to areas that typically vote Democratic, while demonstrating Republican opposition to Democratic President Joe Biden’s more welcoming border policies.

But leading Democrats, including California Governor Gavin Newsom, have said some of the state’s moves to ship migrants north could be criminal and urged federal prosecutors to investigate.

Migrants on the flight to Martha’s Vineyard say they were misled and a sheriff in Texas, where the flight departed from, is investigating the incident.

Forty-five percent of respondents in the Reuters/Ipsos poll – including 63% Democrats and 31% Republicans – said heads of state carrying migrants were smuggling illegal migrants.

The poll, conducted online in English across the United States, collected responses from 1,005 adults, including 449 Democrats and 361 Republicans. It has a credibility interval – a measure of precision – of four percentage points.

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Reporting by Jason Lange, additional reporting by Ted Hesson; Editing by Scott Malone and Jonathan Oatis

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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