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Idaho Voters Want Slower Growth, Less Immigration

The population of Idaho has nearly doubled since 1990, and most voters in the state support policies to limit growth and restrict immigration .

A new telephone and online survey by Rasmussen Reports and NumbersUSA finds that only five percent (5%) of Likely Idaho voters want their state’s population to continue to grow rapidly, while 47% want the population to grow more slowly. Twenty-three percent (23%) want the Idaho population to stay about the same size and 23% want the state’s population to become smaller. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Fifty-six percent (56%) of Idaho voters want local and state governments in Idaho to make it more difficult for people to move to Idaho from other states by restricting development, while 54% favor reducing immigration.

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The survey of 1,017 Idaho Likely Voters was conducted on August 18-26, 2023 by Rasmussen Reports and NumbersUSA. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

If recent trends continue, demographers project Idaho's 2023 population of 1.9 million will reach about 2.7 million by 2060 and still be increasing. Sixty-seven percent (67%) of Idaho voters find the prospect of adding another 800,000 residents in coming decades to be more negative, while just 21% find it more positive. Twelve percent (12%) are not sure.

Currently the federal government adds about one million legal permanent immigrants to the country each year. Sixteen percent (16%) of Idaho voters want to increase legal immigration to over a million a year, while 21% favor maintaining the current level of immigration. However, 47% want to reduce annual legal immigration to 500,000 or less, including 28% who think it should be 100,000 or less. Another 17% are not sure.

A study of government data found that three-quarters (77%) of the loss of Idaho’s open space, natural habitat, and farmland to development in recent decades was related to the state's rapid population growth. Seventy-seven percent (77%) of Idaho voters believe continuing this level of population growth into the future would make Idaho worse. Only seven percent (7%) think continuing growth would make Idaho better, while 12% say it would not make much difference.

Among other findings of the Rasmussen Reports/NumbersUSA survey of Idaho likely voters:

– Ninety-three percent (93%) believe that it is important, from an environmental standpoint, to preserve Idaho’s forests, rivers, lakes, natural grasslands, mountains, and wilderness areas, including 77% who think it’s Very Important.

– Forty-eight percent (48%) believe Idaho has developed its open lands into cities, housing, and highways too much. Only 11% think Idaho has developed too little, while 36% say the amount of development is about right.

– Ninety-five percent (95%) think it is important to protect U.S. farmland from development so the United States is able to produce enough food to feed Americans in the future, including 81% who say protecting farmland is Very Important.

– Seventy-three percent (73%) are opposed to diverting water away from irrigating farmland to support additional human population growth in Idaho.

– Eighty-seven percent (87%) believe that, in recent years, Idaho’s parks and natural areas have become more crowded, including 52% who say their state’s parks and natural areas have become Much More Crowded.

– Fifty-two percent (52%) favor controlling new growth in Idaho by limiting the number of new hook-ups to sewage lines and wastewater treatment plants. Twenty-six percent (26%) oppose limiting new sewage hook-ups and 22% are not sure.

– President Joe Biden is deeply unpopular in Idaho. Only 33% of the state’s voters approve of Biden’s job performance as president, while 56% Strongly Disapprove.

Fifty-seven percent (57%) of Idaho voters surveyed have lived in the state since childhood, and 40% were born in the state. Sixty-nine percent (69%) of Idaho voters believe that, in trying to control illegal immigration, the government should mandate that all employers use the federal electronic E-Verify system to help ensure that they hire only legal workers for U.S. jobs. Only 16% oppose making E-Verify mandatory.

As Congress negotiates a new spending agreement to prevent a government shutdown this week, a majority of voters think securing the border should be part of the deal.

The impact of illegal immigration on local schools, health care and employment is far more negative than positive, according to American voters.

Additional information from this survey and a full demographic breakdown are available to the public as well as Platinum Members.

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The survey of 1,017 Idaho Likely Voters was conducted on August 18-26, 2023 by Rasmussen Reports and NumbersUSA. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research.

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