A small reminder from Pew that the next time you read somewhere about America being in “the grip of right-wing populism,” remember that that grip is awfully loose compared to its strength in Europe.
Click for the full list. Of 27 countries surveyed, only two are less likely than Americans to say that they want fewer immigrants. One of those countries, Canada, is on par with the U.S., with 27 percent of Canadians saying they want immigration reduced compared to 29 percent of Americans. The country least interested in reducing immigration is Japan, where just 13 percent want fewer immigrants. Japan is also the only country of 27 polled in which the share that wants more immigrants (23 percent) is larger than the share that wants fewer. (Fifty-eight percent of Japanese want to keep immigration levels about the same.) Why is that country so willing to open its doors to outsiders? You know why. Someone’s gotta change the natives’ adult diapers. It’s either immigrants or robots.
Meanwhile, out of the 27 countries surveyed, America ranks second in terms of the share of the population that says it should accept more immigrants. The only country more welcoming is Spain, a notable outlier to anti-immigration sentiment in Europe. This same survey by Pew also found Spain to be the most welcoming towards refugees of 19 countries polled. How come? WaPo speculates that it’s a combination of Spain having more recently experienced nationalist dictatorship than its European neighbors and the fact that unemployment has dogged the country for so long that they don’t associate it with immigration to the extent other nations do.
Whatever the explanation, America’s pro-immigration cheering section is unusually large by international standards and its anti-immigration booing section comparatively small. Presumably that’s due mostly to our heritage as a “nation of immigrants,” although I wonder if polarization in the age of Trump helps explain it too. If you’re a right-winger, supporting the border-hawk president on his key issue is a must; if you’re a left-winger, even one who’s naturally leery of open borders, the antagonism you feel towards Trump may compel you to side with immigrants. The peril in that logic, though, is that there are obviously polarizing leaders in European countries too, like Merkel. The pro-Merkel forces don’t seem to have much traction on this issue, though.
As for where the migrants themselves want to go, it’s no contest. From Gallup:
That last column is an extrapolation from Gallup’s survey of various third-world countries, asking people there whether they’d like to migrate or not. There were 13 countries tested where *at least* 46 percent of the population would migrate if they could. One hundred fifty-eight million new migrants must sound awfully tasty to the open-borders party in this country.
Exit question: How different would America’s numbers in the Pew poll be if, as in Europe, immigration was being driven by Muslim countries instead of Latin American ones?
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