US President Donald Trump looks on during a bilateral meeting with Swiss President during on the sideline of the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum ...
NICHOLAS KAMM

Trump’s ‘reverse Midas touch’ extends to attitudes on immigration

Updated

It was last fall when Vox’s Matt Yglesias first described Donald Trump’s effects on public opinion as a “reverse Midas touch.” It’s a straightforward idea: when the president criticizes something, it tends to become more popular.

For example, Trump clearly has a few concerns about immigration. How’s that affecting Americans’ attitudes on the subject? Consider the results of the new Gallup poll.

A record-high 75% of Americans, including majorities of all party groups, think immigration is a good thing for the U.S. – up slightly from 71% last year. Just 19% of the public considers immigration a bad thing. […]

Given attempts by the Trump administration to cut back on legal immigration, Gallup tested an alternative wording to this question for the first time this year – asking half of the respondents about “legal immigration,” whereas the trend question does not specify a particular type of immigration. Americans are more likely to support legal immigration, with 84% describing it as a good thing, nine percentage points higher than the reading for “immigration.”

This is consistent with two national polls released this week showing Trump’s family-separation policy to be one of the least popular governmental measures in recent history. It’s also in line with public support for DACA protections for Dreamers going up shortly after Trump rescinded the DACA policy.

But the thesis goes well beyond the president and immigration.

As regular readers may recall, support for the Affordable Care Act, government solutions to the climate crisis, athletes protesting racism, and even public confidence in American media all improved in the wake of Trump’s criticisms.

More recently, after the president started imposing new tariffs on U.S. neighbors and allies, American support for free trade went up, too. In fact, NBC News’ Mark Murray recently noted that after Trump’s initial tariff announcement, support for foreign trade reached “an all-time high.”

Around the same time, the president also changed his mind about his agenda on gun policy after meeting NRA officials – at which point national polling showed souring on the NRA in ways without modern precedent.

What Trump rejects, the public supports. What Trump supports, the public rejects.

Donald Trump and Polling

Trump's 'reverse Midas touch' extends to attitudes on immigration

Updated