CLEVELAND, Ohio — Likely thanks in part to attention from President Donald Trump, immigration has emerged as a top-searched political issue in Ohio, according to data compiled by Google in a partnership with cleveland.com.
Immigration was Google’s second-most frequently searched political topic in Ohio from Oct. 15 to Oct. 22. As it has been for months, health care was by far the state’s top-searched issue. But immigration ranked first in Clinton, Highland, Huron, Knox, Lawrence, Monroe, Ottawa, Union, Paulding and Seneca counties — all but Ottawa are solidly Republican counties. It climbed from second last week, displacing Social Security.
Ohio’s other top-searched issues include abortion, minimum wage, tariffs and guns.
Interest in immigration has spiked in the past few days, as the media’s coverage of a roving caravan of thousands of Honduran migrants has increased, particularly by conservative outlets. The group of roughly 5,000 people has trekked across Honduras and Guatemala, is currently in far-southern Mexico and is intent on attempting to enter the United States, according to the Wall Street Journal.
But immigration-related searches in Ohio separated further from the pack on Monday morning, when Trump tweeted about the caravan. He claimed, without evidence, that “criminals and unknown Middle Easterners were mixed in” with the crowd. A guest on Fox & Friends, a favorite Trump TV show, made a similar claim earlier in the day, according to The Daily Beast.
Polls have shown the economy and health care are the top issues for Ohio voters, with immigration as a close second-tier issue that occasionally climbs higher. Chris Jackson, a pollster who has conducted research in Ohio and other states, previously has told cleveland.com that health care is an issue that tends to favor Democrats, while immigration tends to favor Republicans.
Accordingly, Democrats have tried to make health-care front and center in the ongoing midterm elections. Republicans have done the same with immigration.
For example, Rep. Troy Balderson, facing a tough rematch with Democrat Danny O’Connor in Ohio’s 12th Congressional District, recently claimed in a TV ad that O’Connor would make Columbus into a “sanctuary city,” a sweeping term that generally describes refusal by local government to perform immigration-related law enforcement functions. (PolitiFact recently found the claim to be false.) Republican Rep. Jim Renacci in recent Senate debates also has accused his opponent, Sen. Sherrod Brown, of supporting sanctuary cities. (Brown earlier this year, breaking ranks with four other Democratic senators representing states Trump won, voted to block an amendment that would have denied federal funding to so-called “sanctuary cities.”)
Despite immigration being of high interest to Ohioans, the state has among the lowest immigrant populations in the United States. An estimated 4.5 percent of Ohio’s residents were born outside of the United States, according to data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau. That compares to the national average of 13.7 percent.
Of Ohio’s roughly 528,000 immigrants, about 43 percent arrived here from Asian countries, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. About 20.2 percent came from European countries, with slightly less, 20 percent, coming from Latin-American countries. Thirteen percent came from Africa, with the rest from Oceania.
Here are the top questions Ohioans are asking on Google about immigration:
- What difficulties did immigrants face in the united states
- How many illegal immigrants in us 2018
- How many immigrants came to the US in 2017
- Why did immigrants come to america
- How many immigrants come to the us every year