Last night, on the eighteenth day of what is now the second longest government shutdown in U.S. history, President Trump took to the airwaves to make the case for the border wall. Though many were expecting fireworks, including a potential declaration of a state of emergency, an uncharacteristically subdued Trump laid out his (nevertheless falsehood-ridden) argument for why Democrats should back down and approve over $5 billion in funding for the wall.
Unfortunately for President Trump and his allies, it seems that the American public is increasingly placing the blame for the shutdown on the president. At the same time, support for the wall, and even increased border fencing, is beginning to flag.
And it’s not just polling on the shutdown that makes the president’s actions look politically ill-advised.
Below, we outline what the most recent polling on the shutdown, as well on related topics of border security and immigration, indicate for the eventual resolution of the standoff.
- Three polling firms—YouGov, Reuters/Ipsos and Morning Consult—have been asking respondents whom they blame for the shutdown since it began in late December. In all three polls, today more voters blame President Trump for the shutdown than did when they were asked in December. In the YouGov and Reuters/Ipsos polls, the number of those who blame the president is now over 50 percent. In all three polls, less than 40 percent of respondents blame Democrats for the shutdown.
- In a Hill-HarrisX poll from January 5-6, 72 percent of voters, including 70 percent of voters who “somewhat approve” of President Trump, said they think the president should compromise with Democrats instead of keeping the government closed.
Support for the wall
- In the January 2019 Reuters/Ipsos poll mentioned above, only 35 percent of adults in the United States support a congressional bill that includes funding for the wall. Perhaps more striking, only 41 percent support additional border fencing. That number is down 12 percent from a similar poll in 2015.
- CBS News polling from mid-November found that 59 percent of Americans, including 66 percent of independents, oppose building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
- In Gallup polling from June 2018, 41 percent of respondents favored “significantly expanding” the construction of walls along the border, while 57 percent opposed expansion.
As the shutdown drags on, its effects will be increasingly felt by the broader American public beyond the already-significant numbers of federal workers and their families who are going without pay. Today, reports emerged that the FDA is no longer performing safety inspections on food, placing the entire country at risk. If public opinion continues to trend toward placing the blame for the shutdown on President Trump, it won’t be long until senate Republicans—especially those who have announced their retirements and those who appear vulnerable in 2020—begin to break with the president.
Other interesting polling: The Trump administration’s other immigration policies
- In Gallup polling from June 2018, 83 percent of respondents favored granting a path to citizenship to immigrants who arrived in the United States as children; respondents were more evenly divided on questions concerning banning funding to sanctuary cities and ending programs by which legal immigrants can sponsor relatives living abroad to move to the U.S. as permanent legal residents.
- In December 2018 data from the Pew Research Center, only 29 percent of respondents in the United States believe that the country should allow fewer immigrants to move to the country.
- Polling from June from both Quinnipiac University and Ipsos found that Americans overwhelmingly opposed the Trump administration’s family separation policy. Sixty six percent of voters told Quinnipiac they opposed the policy, while only 27 percent said the supported it; in the Ipsos poll, 55 percent of respondents disagreed with the policy and only 27 percent agreed with it.
- Pew Research Center polling from November 2018 found that 82 percent of Americans believe that at least some priority should be given to aiding refugees fleeing violence. Similar polling from April 2018 revealed that 56 percent of Americans believe that the U.S. has a responsibility to accept refugees.