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WSJ Poll: Immigration Surges as Top Voter Concern Over Economy, Challenges Biden

James Carville’s famous line, “it’s the economy, stupid,” might seem outdated according to a recent Wall Street Journal Poll. This poll indicates a growing optimism toward the economy, which paradoxically seems to benefit former President Donald Trump more than the current administration. The critical differentiator setting the tone for the 2024 presidential race, as per the poll’s findings, is immigration. It has surged to the forefront as the primary concern among voters, overshadowing economic issues and marking a stark contrast between President Joe Biden and Trump, who leads the Republican primary field.

Biden’s management of the border has reached a new low in approval, with 65% of those polled expressing dissatisfaction. This sentiment is significant because, despite an economic uptick, the electorate’s concern isn’t translating into unwavering support for Biden’s re-election. According to Democrat pollster Michael Bocian, the electorate acknowledges the economic improvement but remains more concerned about other issues, notably immigration.

Trump appears to have a slight edge over Biden in potential head-to-head matchups, according to the poll, with a notable part of the electorate expressing optimism about the economy under Biden’s tenure. However, the positive economic sentiment is dampened by concerns over inflation and, more significantly, immigration, which 20% of voters now cite as their top issue, eclipsing the economy.

Republican pollster Tony Fabrizio notes that immigration is Biden’s Achilles’ heel, with GOP strategies around border security resonating with the public. The poll also highlights broader concerns, with a significant majority questioning Biden’s age for re-election and expressing disapproval of his handling of international issues, such as the conflict involving Israel and Hamas. Trump, meanwhile, enjoys a two-year high in approval ratings, including a preference over Biden regarding their respective tenures in the White House.