(NewsNation) — More Americans trust Republicans than Democrats when it comes to immigration and border security but say recent tactics employed by GOP governors have exacerbated the situation, according to the latest NewsNation/Decision Desk HQ poll.
More than 40% of respondents said they trust Republicans to do a better job dealing with immigration and border security, compared with 33% who support Democratic leaders, according to the poll.
Responses were sharply divided along party lines with 85% of Republicans supporting the right and 76% of Democrats supporting the left. Independents sided with Republicans (30%) over Democrats (18%) but a plurality (42%) said they did not trust any side.
The poll comes as the number of migrants arrested at the southern border soars past a record high — recently more than 2 million encounters in a fiscal year for the first time.
Despite the higher confidence, the latest strategy used by Republican Governors of Texas, Arizona, and Florida – including the relocation of migrants to Democratic-run “cities of refuge” – is not seen as a good thing.
Nearly 40% of all respondents said the governor’s actions had damaged the situation at the border, compared to 23% who said the policy had helped.
The poll found that most Americans in both parties believe the state of the southern border is a big deal, even though Republicans are much more likely to call it a “crisis.”
About three in five far-right respondents said the situation at the border was a crisis, compared to about one in five Democrats who thought so.
“Immigration really isn’t something that motivates Democrats to vote as much as Republicans,” said Kiel Williams, Decision Center Senior Data Scientist.
Williams said topics such as abortion, and the possible rise of former President Donald Trump, were more important to Democratic voters in the upcoming half term.
When it comes to blaming the record spike on the southern border, Americans are also divided.
A majority of Republicans, 56%, said the increase in the number of undocumented migrants was driven by policies that encouraged illegal immigration rather than legal entry.
Democrats are much more likely to blame difficult circumstances in countries where many of the migrants come from – 56% said conditions such as poverty and violence in southern states were the main cause of the spike.
As far as how to solve the problem, Republicans and Democrats disagree.
Nearly half of Republicans (48%) surveyed said a border wall is the best option for preventing illegal immigration.
Democratic respondents were far more likely to support expanding the availability of green cards and visas — nearly one in three felt it was the best option.