Views of ICE split by partisan divide

About as many Americans view Immigration and Customs Enforcement favorably as those who view it unfavorably, according to a new Pew Research poll released Tuesday.

Out of all federal agencies polled — ICE, National Park Service, Census Bureau, FBI, CIA, the Department of Justice, IRS, EPA, and the Department of Health and Human Services — ICE had the lowest favorability rating with 44% saying they had a positive view of the agency and 47% saying they viewed it unfavorably.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democratic socialist who upset 10-term incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley in a New York Democratic primary last month, ran in part on a platform of abolishing ICE, and other Democrats have begun picking up on that call as well. Though it doesn’t have a well-known mission outside of very liberal circles, the agency isn’t popular among the American public.

Predictably, feelings about ICE are sharply divided among Republicans and Democrats with a stark contrast between more conservative and more liberal Americans. More than seven in 10 Democrats viewed ICE unfavorably, with that number moving to eight in 10 among those identified as liberal Democrats.

The same number of Republicans (72%) viewed ICE favorably as Democrats viewed it unfavorably. And conservative Republicans have stronger positive views of ICE than moderate Republicans with 77% of them giving the agency a favorable rating.

The contrast among other demographic groups isn’t nearly as stark, but women do feel more negatively toward ICE than men with 53% of women giving the agency an unfavorable rating and only 41% of men saying the same. Half of men say they have a favorable view of ICE.

A majority of those between the ages of 50 and 64 have a favorable view of ICE. A majority of those in other age groups — 18 to 29, 30 to 49 and those over 65 — had an unfavorable view.

One other agency where opinions are significantly split along party lines is the FBI. More than three quarters of Democrats — 77% — rate the bureau favorably and just under half of Republicans — 49% — say the same. The number of Republicans with a positive view of the FBI has fallen 16 percentage points since early 2017 from 65%.

The Pew poll is based on telephone interviews conducted July 11-15 among a national sample of 1,007 adults, 18 years of age or older, living in the United States (398 respondents were interviewed on a landline telephone, and 609 were interviewed on a cellphone, including 392 who had no landline telephone). The survey was conducted under the direction of SSRS.