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Most Favor Extra Government Effort to Put Americans First in Job Market

Voters want the government to make sure Americans get first crack at the post-coronavirus job market, keeping out foreign workers until the employment rate returns to normal.

Thirty-four percent (34%) of Likely U.S. Voters say they or someone in their family has lost a full-time or part-time job this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey. (To see survey question wording, click here.) 

More than 45 million Americans have filed for unemployment since the pandemic started. Sixty-six percent (66%) of voters think Congress should require U.S. employers to use the federal electronic E-Verify system for all new hires to ensure that open jobs are filled with these unemployed Americans and not with illegal workers. Just 19% disagree, with 16% undecided.

With minorities particularly hard hit by these job losses, 67% say the government should not allow employers to import foreign workers to fill job openings instead of recruiting among unemployed Americans. Only 19% say employers should be allowed to hire foreigners. Fourteen percent (14%) are not sure.

President Trump signed an executive order pausing the admission into this country of hundreds of thousands of foreign workers until the end of 2020. Fifty-five percent (55%) of voters think that pause should be extended until unemployment rates are back down to the level they were before the pandemic. Thirty percent (30%) disagree, while 15% are not sure.

Just 33% of voters believe the federal government should continue the O.P.T. program that gives tax incentives to hire foreign students who graduate from U.S. schools. Forty-nine percent (49%) say the government should end the program to ensure that the four million Americans graduating from college this year get the first shot at jobs. Eighteen percent (18%) are undecided.

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The survey of 1,810 Likely Voters was conducted June 28-July 6, 2020 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 2.5 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Supporters of immigration, illegal or otherwise, often say that immigrants take the jobs Americans don’t want, but most voters don’t agree.

Voters in all age groups support the extra governmental measures to give unemployed Americans a leg up, although those under 40 are less supportive than their elders in most cases. There is overall agreement, however, on extending the pause on admitting foreign workers until the unemployment rates are back to pre-pandemic levels.

Blacks, whites, Hispanics and other minorities are in general agreement on most of these questions.

Democrats are less supportive of government efforts to put American workers first than Republicans and voters not affiliated with either major party are.

In most cases, voters outside the major cities like the government pro-job initiatives more than city dwellers do.

The latest Rasmussen Reports Weekly Immigration Index finds that when businesses say they are having trouble finding Americans to take jobs in construction, manufacturing, hospitality and other service work, 62% say it is better for the country if these businesses raise the pay and try harder to recruit non-working Americans even if it causes prices to rise. Twenty-three percent (23%) disagree and say it’s better for the country if the government brings in new foreign workers to help keep business costs and prices down. Fifteen percent (15%) are undecided.

As more of the country exits the lockdown and the stock market climbs to pre-pandemic levels, economic confidence is on the rebound. Rasmussen Reports will update those numbers tomorrow.

Additional information from this survey and a full demographic breakdown are available to Platinum Members only.

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The survey of 1,810 Likely Voters was conducted June 28-July 6, 2020 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 2.5 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

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