THE GALLUP POLL has been measuring public opinion on the subject of immigration since 1965, regularly asking respondents whether the flow of immigrants to the United States should "be kept at its present level, increased, or decreased." Over the years the numbers have fluctuated greatly, but one finding has never changed: The percentage wanting less immigration always exceeded the percentage wanting more immigration.
Until this month.
On July 1, Gallup reported that for the first time, by a ratio of 34 percent to 28 percent, the share of Americans who favor more immigration surpassed that of those who want immigration reduced. (Another 36 percent support keeping immigration at its current level.)
The shift in opinion is being driven, like so much else in American life, by party affiliation. While Republicans' views on immigration policy haven't changed much over the past decade, pro-immigration sentiment among Democrats has soared. Since 2016, the proportion of Democrats supporting an increase in immigration has climbed from 30 percent to 50 percent, an all-time high. Among independents, the rise has been less steep, though still significant — from 23 percent to 34 percent. By contrast, just 13 percent of Republicans would like to see immigration grow.
It wasn't always thus. There was a time, not long past, when the GOP was a stronghold of pro-immigrant sentiment and it was top Democrats who wanted more foreigners kept out. . . .