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Fox News Poll: Voters say the US-Mexico border is a big problem

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A majority of voters believe the situation at the U.S.-Mexico border is at least a major problem, if not an emergency, and believe Congress and the Biden administration are to blame for the ongoing crisis, a new Fox News Poll reveals.

Eight in 10 voters feel the situation at the border is either an emergency (41%) or a major problem (37%), while another 2 in 10 say the issue is minor. While that 78% is down from a high of 85% in October 2023, it’s up double digits from 63% five years ago in February 2019.

Seven in 10 voters go so far as to say the White House has “mostly failed” at improving border security.

The new Fox News survey was conducted before President Biden and former President Donald Trump made dueling trips to the Texas border on Feb. 29.

Since 2019, concern has increased across the board, most notably among Democrats (+27 points saying emergency/major problem), voters ages 65+ (+25), Hispanic voters (+22), Black voters (+21), and women (+17).


How did it become an emergency? Some 8 in 10 voters say Congress is to blame for a lack of action, while 7 in 10 blame the Biden administration for the lack of enforcement at the border.

Eight in 10 Democrats, Republicans and independents agree that Congress is responsible for the border situation, but there is more divisiveness about Biden’s role. For the president, 51% of Democrats, 92% of Republicans, and 73% of independents blame his inaction.

As Biden starts his fourth year, the poll finds 71% of voters think he’s mostly failed at “improving border security.” Majorities also say he’s mostly failed in unifying the country (69% “mostly failed”), making the country safer (63%), handling the economy (61%), improving America’s image (61%), helping the working class (58%), helping African Americans (51%), and addressing climate change (51%).

“Biden faces an electorate that is deeply unhappy about inflation and the border,” says Republican pollster Daron Shaw, who conducted the Fox News Poll with Democrat Chris Anderson. “His campaign won’t convince Republicans the president has secretly been awesome on these issues, but they might be able to win over Democrats and some independents if the economy improves, and they can point to some credible efforts on immigration. That’s why Biden offered the bill in Congress and went to Brownsville last week.”


At the same point during Trump’s term four years ago, voters thought he was mostly failing at improving border security by 2 points (40% mostly succeeded, 42% mostly failed in February 2020), compared to Biden being underwater by 47 points today (24% mostly succeeded, 71% mostly failed).

Former President Donald Trump

Biden’s worst job rating is on immigration: 31% approve vs. 66% disapprove. He does slightly better (though he remains considerably underwater) on the Israel-Hamas war (31-65%), inflation (34-65%), China (35-61%), and the economy (37-62%).

Overall, 42% approve of the job Biden is doing and 58% disapprove, which is about where it was in December, but far below where it was at the start of his term (54% approve-43% disapprove in April 2021).

The economy is the top issue for voters, with 37% prioritizing it in deciding their vote for president. Immigration follows at 21%, while abortion at 10% is the only other to hit double digits.

Biden in Wisconsin

The top two issues for Republicans and independents are the economy and immigration, while for Democrats it’s the economy, followed by abortion, immigration and guns.


Conducted Feb. 25-28, 2024, under the joint direction of Beacon Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R), this Fox News Poll includes interviews with a sample of 1,262 registered voters (RV) nationwide randomly selected from a national voter file. Respondents spoke with live interviewers on landlines (134) and cellphones (797) or completed the survey online after receiving a text message (331). Results based on the full sample have a margin of sampling error of ± 2.5 percentage points. Weights are generally applied to age, race, education, and area variables to ensure the demographics of survey respondents are representative of the registered voter population.

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