A majority, 53%, say they oppose the order
The public is more closely divided on whether the order makes the US safer or protects American values
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).
There is also a sharp partisan divide on whether America should accept Syrian refugees generally, with 73% of Democrats in favor compared with just 30% of Republicans. Support for accepting refugees has risen across partisan divides since late 2015, however, from 38% support in late 2015 to 54% now, including 13-point increases in support among both Democrats and Republicans.
The CNN/ORC poll was conducted by telephone January 31 through February 2 among a random national sample of 1,002 adults. Results for the full sample have a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points, but it is larger for subgroups.