How people voted by the issue they identified as the most important one facing the country. Note the percentages of all voters identifying an issue as most important on the horizontal axis; Covid was top of mind for many:
The president may have physically beaten the virus, but it pummeled him politically.
The polarization in America is getting to the point where merely identifying an issue as important sends a strong signal about a person’s political orientation. One needn’t even put forward an opinion on the topic for the perception to be created.
Donald Trump’s signature issue, immigration, has declined drastically in importance during his time in office. In the GOP primaries and during his first general election campaign, he drove immigration to the forefront of Republicans’ minds. Or maybe he rode the wave of concern about immigration to the front of the line. Whatever the cause and effect, as recently as a couple of years ago a plurality of Republican voters and a substantial number of independents and Democrats identified immigration as the most important issue facing the country.
That’s ancient history now, the issue having reclinated back to the salience, or lack thereof, it had in 2008. No doubt the Covid crackdown leading to a sharp decline in immigration into the US is a part of that decline in interest, but it is remarkable even taking that into account.
Immigration plays no obvious roll in the current convulsions roiling the country. Will it become a driving issue again in American politics, or will the focus instead be on emigration? Joking, joking… sort of.