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Most Support Temporary Ban on Newcomers from Terrorist Havens

Monday, January 30, 2017

Most voters approve of President Trump’s temporary halt to refugees and visitors from several Middle Eastern and African countries until the government can do a better job of keeping out individuals who are terrorist threats.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 57% of Likely U.S. Voters favor a temporary ban on refugees from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen until the federal government approves its ability to screen out potential terrorists form coming here. Thirty-three percent (33%) are opposed, while 10% are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.) 

Similarly, 56% favor a temporary block on visas prohibiting residents of Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen from entering the United States until the government approves its ability to screen for likely terrorists. Thirty-two percent (32%) oppose this temporary ban, and 11% are undecided.

This survey was taken late last week prior to the weekend protests against Trump’s executive orders imposing a four-month ban on all refugees and a temporary visa ban on visitors from these seven countries.

These findings have changed little from August when 59% of voters agreed with Trump’s call for a temporary ban on immigration into the United States from "the most dangerous and volatile regions of the world that have a history of exporting terrorism” until the federal government improves its ability to screen out potential terrorists.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on January 25-26, 2017 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Only 16% of Americans think this country can ever be made completely safe from terrorist attacks in general,  although 52% of voters say the federal government does not focus enough on the threat of domestic Islamic terrorism.

The refugee ban is supported by 82% of Republicans and 59% of voters not affiliated with either major party. Democrats are opposed by a 53% to 34% margin. The numbers are nearly identical for the temporary ban on visas from these seven terrorist-plagued nations.

Men and women are in general agreement on both measures. Younger voters are slightly less supportive than their elders are.

Blacks oppose both bans more than whites and other majority voters do.

Among voters who Strongly Approve of the job Trump is doing, over 70% support both bans. Similar numbers of those who Strongly Disapprove of his job performance are opposed.

Most voters opposed former President Obama’s plan to bring tens of thousands of Middle Eastern and African refugees here this year. Sixty-two percent (62%) said Obama’s plan posed an increased national security risk to the United States.

Obama and Hillary Clinton wouldn’t say it for fear of offending Muslims worldwide, but most voters continue to believe the United States is at war with radical Islamic terrorism. Trump declared war on radical Islamic terrorists in his inaugural speech.

During the campaign, voters felt Trump would do a better job than Clinton protecting them from terrorists.

Just 32% think the United States is safer now after eight years of the Obama presidency. In late December, 34% of voters said the United States will be safer from domestic terror attacks five years from now. Twenty-seven percent (27%) believe it will be less safe, while 32% expect the level of danger to be about the same.

Last January, 72% of voters said the federal government is not aggressive enough in finding those who have overstayed their visas and sending them home. Sixty-eight percent (68%) considered those who overstay their visas in this country to be a serious national security risk.

Additional information from this survey and a full demographic breakdown are available to Platinum Members only.

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