CAPS/Harris Poll on Immigration and Tax Reform


Friday, September 22, 2017 (All day)

September 22, 2017

Latest Harvard CAPS - Harris Poll looks at public opinion on the government, immigration, healthcare, and tax reform.

Poll also includes a deep-dive on Race in America which will be released later this Fall.

The eighth Harvard CAPS – Harris poll was released on Friday, September 22, and takes an in-depth look at public and political discourse on immigration, tax reform, and race in America.

Key highlights from the poll include:


  • New poll shows that President Trump’s job approval rating is up, now at 45% approve vs. 55% who disapprove. In August, the President’s approval rating was at 43%.
  • 65% of registered voters approve of how President Trump and the administration responded to hurricanes and other natural disasters facing the country. The President’s approval rating on his ability to administer the government is also up from 39% in August to 43% in September.
  • However, while approving of the Administration’s response, 55% of respondents said that local and federal governments are not adequately prepared to provide protection and relief during situations like hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
  • President Trump receives majority approval by registered voters on his efforts to fight terrorism (53%), stimulate jobs (53%), and managing the economy (52%). Respondents continue to disapprove of his handling of immigration (55%), administering the government (57%), and foreign affairs (57%).

State of the County

  • A plurality of voters view the American economy as being on the right track (43%) vs. the wrong track (38%). 64% of respondents say that the U.S. economy is strong today.
  • However, 54% of registered voters continue to view the country as being off on the wrong track. This number has improved since last month, when 59% of voters held the same opinion.
  • 84% of voters think the country needs infrastructure investment today, and 83% believe that the healthcare system needs further reform.
  • 89% of voters also support tax reform, with 68% thinking that taxes in the country are too high.


  • 77% of voters and 66% of Republicans favor a pathway to citizenship for those in the country illegally if they learn English, pay fines or back taxes, and have jobs that pay taxes.
  • 77% of all voters and 65% of Republicans say they favor work permits and a path to citizenship for “Dreamers”, undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents when they were children.
  • Voters are split 50-50 along partisan lines over the administrations announced six-month phase-out of the Obama-era DACA program, which protected Dreamers from deportation.
  • 88% of voters say DACA should be settled through an act of Congress, as Trump seeks, rather than by executive order, which is how it was originally implemented by former President Obama.

Health Care

  • Voters are divided key issues around healthcare reform
  • Voters are split 50-50 on whether single-payer systems run by the government are the best way to run healthcare or competition from private insurers is the best way to run healthcare
  • 51% of voters believe a single-payer system will lead to runaway government costs and higher taxes, whereas 49% believe single-payer system will work out
  • While 69% of voters believe that a government run single-payer system will cover more people, 53% also believe that it will restrict people’s choice in medical care
  • Voters are evenly divided on whether opening the Medicare program to everyone makes sense or would it be fiscally irresponsible

Go to Harvard Harris Poll for more results from the September poll. Please visit The Hill ( for first look analysis of all the poll results.


The survey was conducted by The Harris Poll online within the United States between September 17-20, 2017 among 2,177 registered voters.

The results reflect a nationally representative sample. Results were weighted for age within gender, region, race/ethnicity, marital status, household size, income, employment, and education where necessary to align them with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

The poll was supervised by Harvard Professor of Government and CAPS Faculty Director Stephen Ansolabehere, Mark Penn, and Dritan Nesho. Stephen Ansolabehere has 25 years’ experience conducting survey research and experimental research in the field of political science. Mark Penn is a former presidential pollster and has 40 years of polling experience. Dritan Nesho is a fellow at Harvard’s Institute for Quantitative Social Science with over 11 years of polling experience.

Contributing to this month’s CAPS-Harris Poll, the following Harvard professors are also drafting the Race in American section that will be released separately in the fall: Jennifer Hochschild, Henry LaBarre Jayne Professor and Chair of the Government Department, and Professor of African and African American Studies; Ryan Enos, Associate Professor of Government; and Jon Rogowski, Assistant Professor of Government.

Harris Insights and Analytics conducts the poll based on online methodologies they have been using for more than a decade and the results are donated to the Center for American Political Studies at Harvard University.

The results are represented as the results of the questions asked according to The Harris Poll methodology.

See also: Polls