CNN/ORC poll: Partisan split over U.S. taking refugees

Thousands of people march in solidarity with refugees during a rally in London on September 12.

Story highlights

  • Overall, 55% says the U.S. should accept some refugees
  • Most Republicans oppose opening America's doors; Democrats in support

(CNN)Most Americans say the U.S. and its allies bear at least some of the responsibility for the migrant crisis in Europe and favor taking in some of the refugees who have been streaming from the Middle East and north Africa into Europe, according to a new CNN/ORC poll.

Democrats and Republicans generally agree that the U.S. and its allies have some of the responsibility for the crisis, with 56% of Democrats saying so as do 50% of Republicans. There's a broader divide by ideology, however, with 61% of liberals saying the United States has some of the responsibility, compared with 49% of conservatives.
Many of the refugees heading to Europe are fleeing wars or oppressive conditions in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Eritrea. Some European countries have announced they will allow refugees to stay, including Germany, Sweden, France and the U.K. The U.S. has accepted about 1,500 refugees from Syria since 2011, but President Barack Obama announced last week that would be scaled up to at least 10,000 in the coming fiscal year, which begins October 1.
    Partisan divides emerge when considering whether the U.S. should take in some of the refugees. Overall, 55% favor that and 44% oppose it. Most Republicans are opposed (55%) while Democrats (65%) and independents (55%) are mostly in favor. Those who think the U.S. bears some of the responsibility for the crisis are more apt to favor taking in refugees, with 71% in that group saying they favor allowing refugees to come to the U.S., compared with just 35% of those who say the U.S. is not responsible for the crisis.
    There is more partisan agreement on whether the U.S. should provide humanitarian assistance to the refugees, as 83% overall favor that, including 84% of Democrats and independents, and 80% of Republicans. On assisting with search and rescue efforts in the Mediterranean Sea, 73% favor that, including 74% of Democrats and independents and 69% of Republicans. Even among those who say the U.S. does not bear any responsibility for the crisis, majorities back humanitarian assistance (74%) and assistance with search and rescue operations (59%).
      More disapprove than approve of Obama's handling of the crisis thus far, with 33% approving, 48% disapproving, and a sizable 19% are unsure. Obama fares poorly with liberals on the issue, as just 46% approve of his handling of the migrant crisis. The poll was completed before the U.S. announced it would take in 10,000 or more refugees.
      The CNN/ORC Poll was conducted by telephone September 4-8 among a random national sample of 1,012 adults. Results among all adults have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points, it is larger for subgroups.