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Iowa Republicans Rank Immigration Ahead of Economy

(Bloomberg) -- Some 4 in 10 Iowa Republican voters ranked immigration as the most important issue facing the US while a third picked the economy as their top concern, according to AP VoteCast.

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Residents braved historically frigid temperatures and snowy roads Monday as they cast their picks for the Republican presidential nomination – marking the official start to the 2024 election cycle.

The influx of migrants across the southern border has become a national issue, straining towns in Texas to cities such as New York and Chicago.

“I really think the border has become paramount,” Iowa Republican Party Chair Jeff Kaufmann said in a roundtable with Bloomberg News in Des Moines, Iowa on Sunday. “It’s not going away.”

Among the voters who identified immigration as the most important issue, most back former President Donald Trump. And almost three-quarters do not see benefits to immigration, instead saying immigrants hurt the United States.

Most Iowa Republican voters also said they were seeking total or substantial change in how the US government operates.

And three quarters of them say the legal cases against Trump have made them skeptical of the US judicial system, signaling they agree with the former president’s claim that the 91 felony counts he faces are politically motivated.

AP VoteCast is a survey of more than 1,500 voters who said they planned to take part in Monday’s Republican caucuses in Iowa. The survey is conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

(Adds details on voter priorities in fifth paragraph. A previous version corrected the proportion of voters who ranked immigration over economy.)

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