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Most Americans Oppose Trump’s Muslim Travel Ban

Trump Muslim Ban Protests

Two new polls from major media organizations indicate that most Americans oppose President Trump’s Muslim travel ban, but that the nation is sharply divided on partisan lines.

First up, there’s the new poll from CNN and Opinion Research Corporation:

Most Americans oppose the travel restrictions put in place by President Donald Trump’s executive order last week, a new CNN/ORC poll has found.

Fifty-five percent say they see it as an attempt to ban Muslims from entering the US. Further, 6 in 10 oppose Trump’s plan to build a wall along the border with Mexico.

Overall, 47% say they favor the executive order on travel, which prohibits entry to the US for 90 days by citizens of seven majority-Muslim countries while suspending the US refugee program for 120 days and reducing the total number of refugees the US will accept this year. A majority, 53%, say they oppose the order. Those who favor the ban say by a 2-to-1 margin that they would like to see it expanded to other countries.

Opposition to the travel ban rests somewhat on perceptions that it fulfills one of Trump’s campaign proposals: A ban on entry for Muslims. The perception that the executive order is an attempt to ban Muslims from entering is driven largely by opponents of the order — 82% of whom see it as a Muslim ban, though a quarter of those who support it also see it as an attempt to ban Muslims from entering the country (25% say so).

The public is more closely divided on whether the order makes the US safer or protects American values, two arguments the Trump administration has put forth in support of the order. About 4 in 10 (41%) agree with the Trump administration’s contention that the ban makes the US safer from terrorism, while more (46%) say it makes the US less safe from terrorism and another 12% say it doesn’t make a difference. Further, just about half (49%) think the order harms American values by keeping out people who are seeking asylum, while 43% say it does more to protect American values by keeping out people who don’t support those values.

Across all these questions, opinions are sharply divided by party. Democrats are just as apt to oppose the executive order (88%) as Republicans are to support it (88%); independents tilt against, with 54% opposed. Republicans are 10 times as likely as Democrats to say the order makes the US safer (83% of Republicans vs. 8% of Democrats), and their opinions are again 180 degrees apart when asked about its impact on American values (80% of Republicans say it protects them while 81% of Democrats say it harms them).

Next, a CBS News poll shows the same thing:

Two weeks into Donald Trump’s presidency, the country remains sharply divided along partisan lines. A large majority of Republicans approves of President Trump and his recent executive order temporarily restricting entry into the U.S. by foreigners and refugees, while Democrats disapprove in similar numbers.

Slightly more Americans disapprove (51 percent) than approve (45 percent) of President Trump’s executive order temporarily banning people from entering the U.S. from seven designated countries. Views on temporarily suspending entry for refugees are the same.  Opinions on these issues are highly partisan.

The public splits on whether a temporary ban on people from the seven designated countries will make the U.S. safer, but most Republicans (who support the ban) think it will.

(…)

Americans are divided on the president’s executive order that temporarily bans foreigners from entering the U.S. who are from seven majority Muslim countries – Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen – though more disapprove (51 percent) than approve (45 percent).  The partisan differences are striking:  85 percent of Republicans approve, while an identical 85 percent of Democrats disapprove.

A third of Americans agree with the rationale given by the Trump administration for this measure:  that it will make the United States safer from terrorism.  Thirty-six percent of Americans agree that this provision will make the U.S. safer by preventing unwanted people from entering the country, but just as many – 36 percent — think it will make the U.S. less safe by making people around the world angry at the U.S.  Another 22 percent think it will not have any effect.

Another major provision of Mr. Trump’s executive order is to temporarily prohibit all refugees from any country from entering the U.S.  Here again, Americans are largely divided along party lines, though more Americans disapprove (51 percent) than approve (45 percent).

Fifty-seven percent of Americans think a temporary ban on refugees goes against the founding principles of the United States.  Nearly seven in 10 Republicans think that ban is in keeping with the country’s founding principles, while more than eight in 10 Democrats and most independents disagree.

President Trump signaled that Christians might receive preference when it comes to assessing whether travelers affected by the ban would be allowed to enter the U.S., but most Americans reject this as a condition for allowing immigration into the country.  Eight-right percent of Americans – and 87 percent of American Christians – think the government should treat all potential immigrants the same, regardless of religion.

The seven countries singled out by the executive order all have Muslim majority populations. Some critics of the executive order have characterized it as a Muslim ban, a charge the administration has denied.  In principle, three in four Americans would oppose a ban on all Muslims from entering the U.S. – including large majorities of Democrats (92 percent) and independents (75 percent), and a slight majority of Republicans (55 percent).

And despite strong language before the election by the Trump campaign about the threat of violence from radical Islam, most Americans don’t believe that the Islamic religion as a whole is more violent than other religions. More than six in 10 Republicans think Islam is more violent than other religions, while most Democrats and independents think Islam is no different than other religions.

Since previous polling has indicated that most Americans opposed Trump’s original proposal to ban all immigration by Muslims for an unspecified period of time was widely unpopular but that Republicans largely supported it, these results are not surprising at all. The American public as a whole has long been far more liberal and welcoming when it comes to immigration than Republicans have, and Republicans have long held an especially virulent antipathy toward Muslims in general even when it is pointed out to them that the vast majority of Muslims do not support the actions of the relatively small handful of radical jihadists who are responsible for the terrorism that has dominated world headlines since the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993. Given that, it’s not surprising to see that the Administration’s latest proposal, which has suffered through a week of negative coverage thanks to protests that began before the ink was dry on the order itself, continued throughout last weekend, and resumed against this weekend as Americans gathered at airports and outside Trump’s Florida home, where he is staying for the weekend, Additionally, the Administration has suffered a string of Court defeats since last Friday night, with only one Court to date ruling in their favor so far. Republicans on Capitol Hill have tried to defend the Executive Order but, behind the scenes, there’ been an acknowledgment that the execution was flawed from the start and that the Administration was mistaken to issue the Order without first consulting with the incoming Secretaries of Homeland Security and State. Given all that negative coverage, it’s really no wonder that the public turned against him so quickly.

Where this goes from here is hard to tell. If the Courts continue to rule against him, and the hardship stories about people with visas that have already been approved, or even Permanent Residency here in the United States, are either trapped abroad or trapped in the United States despite family or business necessity but fearful to leave the country because they might not be allowed to return, then it’s probable that public opinion will turn even more against these actions. Even if the Administration ultimately prevails in Court, something we might not know for months even if these cases are permitted to make their way through the judicial system rapidly, the hardship stories will continue and that will likely impact Trump’s already historically low job approval numbers. As it stands, though, it appears that, thanks largely to its own actions and mistakes, the Trump Administration isn’t going to get much of a first-term honeymoon at all.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Pch101 says:

    One of the reasons that Trump can get away with this crap is because 90% of Republicans will ultimately cast a vote for him, no matter how they feel about him.

    Republicans who want to clean up their party must begin by voting for the Democratic opponent. Otherwise, the wingnut racists will feel that they have been validated and things will only get worse.

    If the would-be reformers don’t resist, then the accusations of GOP bigotry will have merit. Tolerance of bigotry in ones club is as good as tacit approval, and they will deserve to own the label.

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  2. michael reynolds says:

    These numbers are way too close for comfort. We’d better hope there isn’t a major incident, because our necks are stretched way out there. 51/45 can turn into 60/40 the other way in a heartbeat. I’m all-in, tweeting and ranting against the ban, but the armchair general in me does not like this terrain. Our flanks are exposed. The sooner we can get off this and onto other battles the better.

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  3. Mark Ivey says:

    Dick Cheney is against the Muslin ban. Trump ain’t gonna tweet about him though..

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  4. JKB says:

    Well, contrary to delusions, this is not a Muslim ban, but rather a targeted moratorium against travelers and immigrants from nations that do not have functioning government/police or in Iran’s case a documented supporter of terrorism and self-declared enemy of the United States. And it is only for 90 days for most, 120 days for a couple and longer for Syrian refugees where the only functioning government is ISIS.

    And it was all done as a stand-down to give time to develop reasonable standards and practices to vet individuals from these countries that can provide no trustworthy information regarding their citizens.

    This ruling has really on one significant impact, the judge and appeals court (along with Democrats) will now bear the brunt of responsibility for any attack that can be traced back to someone let in during this now suspended moratorium.

    The ruling does not stop the development of proper vetting standards.

    Trump kept his promise but those damn Liberals and activist judges don’t want to keep Americans safe. Seems like a win-win-win for Trump.

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  5. michael reynolds says:

    @JKB:

    – It is not about keeping us safe, if it were it would target Saudi Arabia, UAE, Lebanon and Egypt. You know, the countries that have sent us terrorists in the past. Or it might target Pakistan, an eternally unstable nuclear power that created the Taliban and harbored Bin Laden.

    – But of course Trump has money in those countries, and Putin’s pals Hezbollah would be upset if he blocked Lebanon. Lebanon, a country actually dominated by an actual terrorist group. Not on the list.

    – What it is is a pay-off to the nativist bigots to who elected Trump. The sole purpose of this ban is to impress dim-witted Trumpies. It keeps them (you) distracted while Trump turns the economy over to Goldman Sachs and national security over to Vladimir Putin. It’s kabuki for morons. So of course you’re a big fan.

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  6. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    Fifty-five percent say they see it as an attempt to ban Muslims from entering the US.

    Okay, over half of the population polled have a firm grasp on reality. What does that matter if a significant portion of that half sees no problem with banning Muslims from entering the US. That’s sorta what the EO is about. In fact if I may be so bold, it is exactly what the order is about.

    I would like to propose a new grammar and rhetorical standard–from now on, the adjective “moderate” should no longer be used to modify the noun “Republican.” If 85 or 90% of all Republicans agree with what Trump is doing, for practical purposes “moderate Republican” is self-negating and should not be used in communication.

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  7. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’nint cracker: And JKB weighs in. I rest my case.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  8. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @JKB:

    Im-Ho-Tep … Im-Ho-Tep …

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  9. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @JKB:

    Not for nothing, but why does it focus on 7 countries which immigrants originating from – over the 40 year period from 1975 to 2015 – are not responsible for causing a single domestic death due to terrorism?

    Not one – in 40 years

    While ignoring three countries – Saudi Arabia, UAE and Egypt – which are responsible for 94.1% of those deaths …

    You may dial a friend if you need to.

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  10. Argon says:

    Not alternate facts. Non-reality.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  11. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @JKB:

    but those damn Liberals and activist judges

    Do you need a hug?

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  12. reid says:

    @JKB: You likely have a better chance of hitting it big in the lottery than becoming a victim of a terrorist attack. Why are you so afraid? Sad.

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  13. James Pearce says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Our flanks are exposed.

    The sole purpose of this ban is to impress dim-witted Trumpies.

    If the sole purpose the ban is to impress dim-witted Trumpies, then I’d argue that it’s their flanks that are exposed, not ours.

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  14. David M says:

    Including Iran in the list, and trying to ban Green Card holders are the giveaways that this isn’t a serious proposal regarding national security.

    It’s a feeble attempt to ban Muslims, with the end result of making our entire country worse off.

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  15. Gustopher says:

    @michael reynolds: Given that the people being banned are not the problems historically, I would assume the current trend holds up and the next attack will be from someone who has lived here for decades, possibly a citizen, and isn’t from one of those countries originally.

    And, while America doesn’t do nuance well at large scale, “Trump’s ban wouldn’t have stopped this” isn’t particularly nuanced.

    It would be good for the Democrats to have a more nuanced, more effective proposal. I would suggest paying more attention to anyone traveling to terrorist hot spots whatever their citizenship, and checking in on recent immigrants (social work, rather than police work, to help insure they adapt)

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  16. Dave Schuler says:

    Both polls are of adults rather than likely voters.

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  17. michael reynolds says:

    @James Pearce:
    There is no event likely to suddenly convince Trumpies they were wrong to support the ban. There are events which could move tolerance to intolerance and convince some who opposed it either that they were wrong, or that they were too naive. The threat is borne by our side, not theirs.

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  18. michael reynolds says:

    @Gustopher:

    Americans are simple-minded creatures (as evidenced in the recent election.) I don’t like to be in a position where my defense is, “Yes, but…” If you’re explaining you’re losing.

    That said, we don’t always get to pick the battlefield. Smart generals do, but we aren’t an army, we’re a social movement (or pick your term.) But we’d be on infinitely stronger grounds if this fight was over deporting illegals. Same basic fight, but minus the possibility of some terrorist horror show.

    I keep going back to 1968, when two really bad things happened (OK, more than two) one of which was that anti-war demonstrators went from anti-war to anti-American, waving NV flags for example, and second, the level of violence rose. The result was to push fence-straddlers toward Nixon. The war went on for another six years.

    Now, it may be that we have evolved beyond that instinct to embrace ‘authority’ in times of shock or crisis, but I doubt it.

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  19. gVOR08 says:

    though a quarter of those who support it also see it as an attempt to ban Muslims from entering the country (25% say so).

    That’s a little weird. Trump seems to be getting credit from his supporters for trying to implement the promised Muslim ban, but with 3/4 of them saying it’s not a Muslim ban.

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  20. al-Ameda says:

    @JKB:

    Well, contrary to delusions, this is not a Muslim ban, but rather a targeted moratorium against travelers and immigrants from nations that do not have functioning government/police or in Iran’s case a documented supporter of terrorism and self-declared enemy of the United States.

    Well, the targeting included one nation responsible giving us terrorists who killed an American on our shores. The targeting did not include any nation – say, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, or the UAE – responsible for the terrorists who attacked us on September 11th.

    This is nothing more than a play to the know-nothing constituency that enabled Trump to win the Electoral College. Fine, let’s acknowledge it as such, and cease dressing this up as a ‘keeping America safe” emergency.

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  21. JKB says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    I don’t know why they are going along with that labelling. Perhaps Trump is just screwing with you. As I said, this keeps a campaign promise and the uproar along with the ruling puts any future troubles squarely on the Democrats.

    I’m starting to wonder if Trump isn’t playing 3-D chess while many are still playing checkers.

    So what happens if the 9th circuit overturns decades old precedent and law to usurp the President’s plenary powers in regards to national security and foreign policy? It makes Gorsuch’s confirmation a critical issue that any Republican will be crucified for opposing and Democrats from Trump favoring districts easy prey in 2018.

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  22. JKB says:

    @al-Ameda: The targeting did not include any nation – say, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, or the UAE – responsible for the terrorists who attacked us on September 11th.

    People keep saying that. Do you have evidence that nothing was done to increase ties with the police and security services in those countries in the….last 16 years? To improve vetting of visa and immigration applicants from those countries? You do realize they have functioning governments that we have diplomatic and law enforcement ties with?

    I don’t claim that there can’t be problems with nationals from those countries, but if we cannot already adequately vet them, then it raises questions about at a minimum the last President and the last two Sec. of State. And possibly, the admission of nationals from even functioning Middle Eastern states.

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  23. al-Ameda says:

    @JKB:

    People keep saying that. Do you have evidence that nothing was done to increase ties with the police and security services in those countries in the….last 16 years? To improve vetting of visa and immigration applicants from those countries? You do realize they have functioning governments that we have diplomatic and law enforcement ties with?

    Those countries had functioning governments at the time of September 11th yet ….
    Trump did not lay any such restrictions on the Saudi’s likely because he has many business interests with them.

    All of the mess Trump created with this shoddy and poorly implemented EO is a result of desire to create “it’s an emergency!” noise and chaos while making good on the promises he made to his nativist base.

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  24. michael reynolds says:

    @JKB:
    Dude: LEBANON. You know, the country basically run by and for Hezbollah? A real-life terrorist group? From Lebanon you can hop in a boat and be in Cyprus or Turkey in half a day. This is an actual terrorist-run state, but they are not on the list.

    Explain how that fits with the theory that this is about terrorism.

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  25. Jake says:
  26. James Pearce says:

    @michael reynolds:

    There are events which could move tolerance to intolerance and convince some who opposed it either that they were wrong, or that they were too naive.

    Sure, Trump can get people to support the policy, but popularity isn’t the real test, is it? Trump’s policy will probably not work as intended, but it may have all kinds of unintended consequences, some of which we may not actually be willing to bear.

    I have no doubt of the sales pitch, but we’re going to need to read the fine print.

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  27. Pch101 says:

    @JKB:

    I’m starting to wonder if Trump isn’t playing 3-D chess while many are still playing checkers.

    This actually made me laugh out loud.

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  28. Jake says:
  29. Just 'nutha ign'int cracker says:

    @JKB:

    I’m starting to wonder if Trump isn’t playing 3-D chess while many are still playing checkers.

    Yo’ mama, you say? You shouldn’t talk about yo’ mama that way!

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  30. KM says:

    @JKB:

    People keep saying that. Do you have evidence that nothing was done to increase ties with the police and security services in those countries in the….last 16 years?

    It’s your assertion – you provide the evidence of effectiveness. And remember, a rock doesn’t keep away tigers, it’s just a stupid rock.” Please cite actually policy and numbers to back it up otherwise you are claiming a lack of evidence is more convincing that a rather solid historical trend.

    To improve vetting of visa and immigration applicants from those countries?

    Considering they are *not* on the list, no to this one. Again, cite policy or else you are speculating.

    You do realize they have functioning governments that we have diplomatic and law enforcement ties with?

    Not for long if Australia is any hint.

    Additionally, WTF does having a relationship with the government have to do with radicals? These places clearly can’t contain their own issues or they wouldn’t be spilling out over their borders. These are individuals who quite clearly disrespect the entire idea of their current government, seeing as how they want to replace it with something more their style. That’s like saying you’re BFFs with Bundy’s mom so he can’t possible be a killer.

    Frankly, the EO in order to be effective and legal, should have listed all countries terrorists that have attacked the West have originated from in addition to failed states with a rider allowing for individual discrimination on a case by case basis. This would allow harmless refugees, students, children in need of medical care, etc entry while also give Trumpkins their red meat. However, that kind of nuance is beyond the current Administration who wouldn’t recognize a chess piece if was lodged up his ass, let alone in glorious 3-D. There were ways to make this little power play of his work but he and his staff are too stupid to make that happen.

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  31. gVOR08 says:

    Morning Joe just played Mitch McConnell speaking out against Trump’s order. Mitch McConnell fergawdsake.

    Meanwhile, Trump supporters in Portland Maine held a rally to support Trump’s travel order. As usual, no one is willing to issue an official crowd count and there may be some disagreement between estimates put forward by supporters and opponents, but the best estimate seems to be…drumroll…eight.

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  32. gVOR08 says:

    @JKB:
    I had a distant cousin in NY who passed recently. Apparently I was his only surviving heir, I received the title to an old bridge across the East River between Manhattan and Queens. I don’t have the capital to develop it into a toll bridge. Could I interest you into taking it off my hands for a reasonable price?

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  33. CSK says:

    Trump just Tweeted this morning that te CNN and CBS polls Doug cited are “fake news.”

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  34. rachel says:

    @KM:

    There were ways to make this little power play of his work but he and his staff are too stupid to make that happen.

    The New York Times says they also seem to be having trouble finding some of the light switches in the White House even after 2 weeks, but that’s unpossible because Trump said he’d surround himself with the best people.

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  35. Jake says: