(NewsNation) — More Americans trust Republicans than Democrats when it comes to immigration and border security but say the recent tactics used by GOP governors have made the situation worse, according to the latest NewsNation/Decision Desk HQ poll.
Over 40% of respondents said they trust the Republican party to do a better job handling immigration and border security, compared to 33% who backed Democratic leaders, the poll found.
Those responses were sharply divided along party lines with 85% of Republican respondents backing the right and 76% of Democratic respondents backing the left. Independents sided with Republicans (30%) over Democrats (18%) but a plurality (42%) said they trusted neither party.
The poll comes as the number of migrants apprehended at the southern border surges past record highs — recently surpassing 2 million encounters in a fiscal year for the first time ever.
Despite the higher trust, the latest strategies employed by the Republican governors of Texas, Arizona and Florida — including relocating migrants to Democrat-run “sanctuary cities” — are not viewed as favorably.
Nearly 40% of all respondents said those governors’ actions have hurt the situation at the border, compared to 23% who said the policies have helped.
The poll found that the vast majority of Americans in both parties believe the state of the southern border is a major problem, although Republicans were far more likely to call it a “crisis.”
About three in five respondents on the political right said the situation at the border is a crisis, compared to about one in five Democrats who thought the same.
“Immigration is really not something that’s motivating Democrats to vote nearly as much as Republicans,” Decision Desk HQ Senior Data Scientist Kiel Williams said.
Williams said topics like abortion, and the possible resurgence of former President Donald Trump, are more important to Democratic voters in the upcoming midterms.
When it comes to assigning blame for the record surge at the southern border, Americans are also divided.
The majority of Republicans, 56%, said the uptick in undocumented migrants has been driven by policies that incentivize illegal immigration over legal entry.
Democrats were far more likely to blame the tough circumstances in countries where many of the migrants hail from — 56% said conditions like poverty and violence in southern nations were the primary cause of the surge.
As far as how to solve the problem, Republicans and Democrats disagree.
Nearly half of Republicans (48%) surveyed said a border wall was the best option to deter illegal immigration.
Democratic respondents were far more likely to support expanding the availability of green cards and visas — nearly one in three felt that was the best option.