A new Harvard/Harris poll finds Americans name illegal immigration as their top concern, even higher than rising prices and inflation.

And “name” is the right word: 73 percent of Americans say “illegal immigrant” is an appropriate term for people who violate the law to come to the U.S., the poll also found.

And yet, with immigration issues dominating politics and press coverage and Americans making it clear they support increased enforcement and an end to chaotic border crossings, the top two Democrats running for New Hampshire governor haven’t figured out a strategy for talking about the topic to voters.

Executive Councilor Cinde Warmington, for example, was asked on WGIR radio Monday morning if “citizens should be concerned about illegal immigration, yes or no, in your view?”

Warmington evaded a yes or no, instead complaining that Republicans (like GOP gubernatorial candidate Kelly Ayotte) were “using this as a political wedge issue.” She said the federal government should “adopt comprehensive immigration reform,” which included amnesty for illegal immigrants. She then concluded:

“We need immigration in our state. We need doctors and nurses and other healthcare workers. We need farm workers. We need seasonal workers. And we welcome diversity in our state. That is where our strength is.”

Republicans immediately reacted.

“Holy bad answer, Batman,” tweeted Rep. Joe Sweeney (R-Salem).

Republican supporters of Ayotte also took issue with Democrat Joyce Craig’s stance on sanctuary city policies.

“Keeping our community safe is my top priority, and it’s clear that Joyce Craig’s sanctuary policies would be disastrous,” said Rochester Mayor Paul Callaghan. “It makes no sense to me why Joyce Craig would want to invite the crime and chaos we’ve seen in Massachusetts to our state. It’s beyond time for Joyce Craig to condemn these dangerous policies.”

And Berlin City Councilor and Coos County Sheriff Brian Valerino said, “Sanctuary policies would make our state less safe and drain already tight resources in North Country communities. Joyce Craig refuses to admit she supports dangerous sanctuary policies because she knows voters in the North Country would reject them.”

In a statement, the Ayotte campaign said Craig “has dodged questions on her support for sanctuary policies for over 220 days. Last year, Craig testified against against common sense legislation to ban sanctuary policies in New Hampshire.”

And Ayotte added, “Joyce Craig would bring the Bay State illegal immigrant crisis over our southern border. As governor, keeping our state safe will be my number one priority, and I’ll never allow New Hampshire to adopt sanctuary policies.”

It’s not just New Hampshire Democrats who are dodging the immigration issue, Politico reports.

“A month ago, the White House was openly considering a string of executive actions to curb migration at the southern border. But no announcements were made. And now, immigration advocates who had been engaged with the Biden administration about the moves say they no longer appear imminent,” according to the news site.

“While internal conversations around policy moves have continued, Biden aides also note that media coverage is less intense than it was earlier this year.”

It quotes a source who has been part of the administration’s border policy considerations.

“They’re in that pretty classic mode of, nothing is on fire right now.”