July 28th, 2010
02:05 PM ET
4 years ago

CNN Poll: 'Melting Pot' weakening country?

ALT TEXT

 A new CNN poll reveals how Americans feel about immigrants. (PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images)


Washington (CNN) – A new poll indicates Americans have complicated views towards immigrants.

According to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation national survey, the vast majority believe that most immigrants are basically good, honest people who are hard-working. However, nearly seven in ten say that immigrants are a burden on the taxpayer, 62 percent think they add to the crime problem, and 59 percent believe they take jobs away from Americans.

The poll, released Wednesday, asks about all people who have immigrated from other countries in the past ten years, and not just about illegal immigrants in the U.S.

"The results may explain why most Americans think that the policies that made the U.S. a 'melting pot' strengthened the country a century ago but do not make the country stronger today," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

Taking the "melting pot" metaphor a bit further, do Americans think that immigrants should maintain their own culture, or blend into the existing culture in this country?

"Two-thirds of whites say that immigrants should give up some important aspects of their culture to blend in; only about four in ten Hispanics, and an equal number of blacks, agree with that view," adds Holland.

And what about the "American Dream" that attracts so many immigrants to this country?

According to the survey, 45 percent of whites say that have achieved the American Dream, compared to 38 percent of Hispanics and only 23 percent of blacks. Roughly one in five of each racial group says they will never achieve the American Dream.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted July 16-21, with 1,018 adult Americans questioned by telephone, including a special sample of 308 black and 303 Hispanic respondents. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

–CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report


Filed under: CNN Polls • Immigration • issues • Popular Posts
soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. geecee

    My grandparents were immigrants to this Country back in 1900. They came here expecting to speak English and did so to the best of their ability; and they were very hard-working and proud to own homes. They would wash the sidewalks down each evening to keep their yards clean. They grew vegetables and vineyards. They took care of their rented tenements. People who come to this country today are either seem to think it is okay to have a trash heap in the front of their yard, they litter, spray paint graffiti and make their neighborhoods look like slums. They have no pride for their property or their neighbors' either. Maybe if they acted civilized, they would be better accepted.

    July 28, 2010 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  2. wake up

    What's ruining our country are people with no historical sense (like Obama) of what makes America great.

    Free Markets, hard work, families, rule of law...education......on and on.
    Obama is the worst thing to happen to america in a century.

    July 28, 2010 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  3. KItchen Police

    I guess you would think so if you were a white, lazy, lizard-brain, ethnic cleansing racist. Diversity can be our strength if we educated ourselves about the culture of others. This can begin with mandatory Spanish language emersion k-12. There is no excuse not to be bilingual in this country.

    July 28, 2010 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  4. David

    What is killing our country is not that we are a, "melting pot"; it is we fail to respect, learn, and educate each other on differing cultures. We should embrace our differences and not let them divide us.

    July 28, 2010 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  5. Proud member of Global Zero

    Wow! I do not get people these days. When did this become a country of miss trusts and hate?

    I guess I and many of the people that I know have a much better faith in humanity

    July 28, 2010 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  6. Roger

    I agree there are some that are good. The ones that came here for the american dream, that is. Not the ones that came here to exploit it. The ones that came here to live off welfare, to sell drugs to our youth, to rob to steal to kill.

    July 28, 2010 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  7. chris

    It seems like every generation goes through a crisis where they believe that some immigrant groups is coming in, taking over, and destroying America. First it was the Irish, then the Chinese, then the Italians, and so on. And history shows again and again that these groups always merge into and become part of the Great Melting Pot that is America.

    July 28, 2010 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  8. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    The problem is the country is not longer a "melting pot." Everyone is insisting on being a hyphenated-this or a hyphenated-that and no one newly-arrived in the US seems to willing to become just a plain old American.

    I arrived in the US from Denmark in 1959, but I've never referred to myself as a "Danish-American." My wife was born in England, but she's never been a "British-American."

    July 28, 2010 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  9. Jeff Spangler

    Lou Reed said as much in the lyrics of his song "Dirty Boulevard":

    Give me your hungry, your tired your poor I'll [urinate] on 'em
    That's what the Statue of Bigotry says
    Your poor huddled masses, let's club 'em to death
    And get it over with and just dump 'em on the boulevard

    July 28, 2010 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  10. charlie from the North

    "We're lookin for illegal immigrants, cna we search your car ? and I said funny I think we were all in the same boat back in 1694, sha la la shame on you, shame on you."

    This quote from the Indigo Girls sums it up for me. Or as Charles Emerson Winchester (stuffy character from M*A*S*H*) used to say " My family has had trouble with those immigrants ever since we first came to this country.

    My family has been here about 15 generations, but hey unless you are 100% Navajo or some other tribe we are all immigrants.

    For those un-American enough to suggest we should pull up the ladder I am bold to say: "This is America...love it or leave it."

    Just call me: "Lucky to be an American ...... Proud to be a Democrat."

    July 28, 2010 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  11. walleye

    Just like every immigrant population before them, people are always trying to shut them out of the USA. All immigrants were treated badly when they first came here. The chinese, italians greeks, poles all of them. After several years they assimilate and become hard working individuals who's children become the next generation of Americans. Today problems with immigration are no different than they were back then, and will change with time and perception.

    July 28, 2010 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  12. Haren

    This country's obesity problem is directly connected to Mexican immigrant.
    In the 70's and 80's I use to see Americans mowing their own lawn to remain healthy
    They are hard working people and if somebody a rich republican is hiring them illegally to work on their million dollar home than we can not blame them.
    we have drug problem because we have consumer in this country and same goes for OIL also.
    We always put down president Carter but if we would have listen to him we would have avoided this costly wars.

    July 28, 2010 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  13. betterdays

    "Nearly seven in ten say that immigrants are a burden on the taxpayer, 62 percent think they add to the crime problem, and 59 percent believe they take jobs away from Americans."

    Now, ask the same questions about ILLEGAL immigrants and see what percentages you get. (Pay particlar attention to the Hispanic percentage.)

    July 28, 2010 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  14. Julia- Idaho Native American

    The only Americans that have a right to complain about immigration are Native Americans, and the rest of ya can shut-up.

    July 28, 2010 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  15. Craig from LA

    These are the same views recorded for other immigrants; the Germans, the Poles, the Chinese, the Italians and the Irish. However, a new dimension and intensity has been added since most of the
    immigrants today are brown skinned which has brought out into the light the insidious bigotry held silently by all too many of my fellow whites. Just as my Italian Grandparents were not criminals, lazy and a 'threat' to American society, neither are these brown skinned new-comers. I live among them in the San Fernando Valley and they are fine, hard-working people. I say Welcome to America!

    July 28, 2010 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  16. NancyLV

    I had a patio cover put up at my home in Las Vegas, 2 men of hispanic descent who did not speak english well at all came over to put up the cover I did not hire a hispanic company but 2 came over they worked for the company, now you can't tell me that this company could not have hired 2 american men no matter what their origin when these guys were probably making 10-15 an hour which is probably normal for out here not union this a construction job and construction workers are out of work here, the hispanic population says they come over and do the dirty work the americans do not want to do well in this case I do not believe it I will bet you that american construction workers would love to be doing this kind of work.

    July 28, 2010 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  17. Julia- Idaho Native American

    By the way, have any of you ever thought about all the work the Hispanic People are doin' in this country, for cheap wages, while the rich farmers and corporations that hire them get richer, and richer, Next time you take a big bite of that lettuce or enjoy an apple, thank the immigrants for pickin' that veggie and fruit so you can enjoy it. You try workin in a hot field, no breaks, no shelter from the sun, I bet most of you wimps complainin' couldn't do it for even 5 minute.

    July 28, 2010 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  18. Julia- Idaho Native American

    By the way, have any of you ever thought about all the work the Hispanic People are doin' in this country, for cheap wages, while the rich farmers and corporations that hire them get richer, and richer, Next time you take a big bite of that lettuce or enjoy an apple, thank the immigrants for pickin' that veggie and fruit so you can enjoy it. You try workin in a hot field, no breaks, no shelter from the sun, I bet most of you wimps complainin' couldn't do it for even 5 minute. ..

    July 28, 2010 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  19. JP

    Only 7 in 10 believe that illegals are a burden on the taxpayer. Let's clear this up now illegal's cost taxpayers 113 billion per year. That figure will grow if (as Obama views them as undocumented democrats) they are made citizens and are then getting Obama care.

    July 28, 2010 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  20. Hugo

    Like I keep saying, it is a privilege to come to this country, not a right. America should have an immigration policy that only allows good hardworking educated and skilled people to come here. We have enough dead beats, we need productive high income earners so we can tax their earning to pay off debt, at least until they decide to leave...Hey, that's an idea, maybe we can trade them some of our deadbeats for some of their hard workers...we could pull a Fidel Castro Mariellito on them!

    July 28, 2010 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  21. jay1975

    Our nation is one of few that has such a diverse population. Most countries are dominated by one single race or ethnicity and have few that are from outside groups. Those that are from the outside groups are expected to assimilate into their host nations culture. We have gotten away from assimilation and now push "diversity" which can be seen as division as we no longer want an American culture, we seem to want a diverse culture.

    July 28, 2010 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  22. KM

    What does "a special sample of 308 black and 303 Hispanics" mean? The last time I checked 611 people out of 1018 is 60% of the population polled. Unless I am missing something blacks and hispanics do not represent a combined 60% of the population. Or are they saying that these 611 people are in addition to the 1018?

    July 28, 2010 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  23. PDF1

    I think that since immigrants are so unwelcome, they should leave. Too bad that the American economy will crash and burn so fast that China will have to come back and pick up the pieces. Go to a public library and you'll see a bunch of Chinese and Indians reading books and studying. The rest of them are "Americans" who are sitting there watching youtube, trying to rent movies from the LIBRARY, and checking their facebook accounts.

    July 28, 2010 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  24. jenn, philadelphia

    That's because it isn't a melting pot anymore. Most immigrants don't assimilate. There is nothing wrong with keeping your cultural or ethnic identity, but there should be some adaptations you make when you move to this country. Learning the language is a good place to start.

    July 28, 2010 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  25. Willy Brown

    No the progressives are turning this great country into a 3rd world toilet.

    July 28, 2010 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
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