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Most Support Trump’s Call for Immigration Restrictions, Screening Test

Friday, August 19, 2016

Most voters support Donald Trump’s plan for temporarily restricting immigration from countries with a history of terrorism and for testing to screen out newcomers who don’t share America’s values. Most also agree that such a test is likely to reduce the number of terrorists entering the United States.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey find that 59% of Likely U.S. Voters favor 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 from coming here. Thirty-two percent (32%) oppose such a ban, while 10% are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.) 

Seventy-three percent (73%) agree with the Republican presidential nominee’s call for a government screening test for those looking to enter the country that determines whether they have hostile attitudes towards the United States and its constitutional freedoms. Only 18% are opposed to this kind of test.

While Democrats by a 52% to 38% margin oppose the temporary ban on immigrants from countries with a history of terrorism, most voters in Hillary Clinton’s party (57%) agree with the use of a government screening test. Eighty-nine percent (89%) of Republicans and 74% of voters not affiliated with either major party support such a test. But 81% of GOP voters and 59% of unaffiliateds also agree with a temporary ban on those coming from countries with a history of terrorism.

Sixty-one percent (61%) of all voters believe an ideological screening test for immigrants to the United States would decrease the number of potential terrorists entering this country, but that includes only 27% who say it is Very Likely to do so. Thirty-four percent (34%) think the screening test is unlikely to reduce the number of potential terrorists getting into America, although just 10% say it’s Not At All Likely to work.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on August 17-18, 2016 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.

Fifty-two percent (52%) of voters believe the federal government does not focus enough on the threat of domestic Islamic terrorismJust 26% now think the country is safer than it was before the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, the lowest level of confidence ever. 

Sizable majorities across nearly all demographic categories support Trump’s proposed screening test to determine whether potential newcomers are hostile to America and its basic freedoms. But voters are more divided over his call for a temporary immigration ban from areas with a history of terrorism.

Most voters of all ages support such a ban, but the older the voter, the more likely he or she is to favor it. Only 44% of blacks support putting a temporary hold on immigration from terrorist countries, compared to 61% of whites and 59% of other minority voters.

Self-described politically liberal voters are much less supportive of both the temporary ban and the screening test than conservatives and moderates are.

Republicans believe more strongly than Democrats and unaffiliated voters do that the screening test is likely to reduce the potential for domestic terrorism.

Among voters who favor the ideological screening test, 76% say it is likely to decrease the number of potential terrorists entering the country. Eighty-one percent (81%) of those opposed to the test say it is unlikely to reduce the domestic terrorist threat.

President Obama and Hillary Clinton still won't say it, but most voters continue to believe the United States is at war with radical Islamic terrorism

In late March, voters were closely divided over Trump’s call for a temporary ban on all Muslims entering the United States until the federal government improves its ability to screen out potential terrorists from coming here. 

Following the massacre at an Orlando nightclub in June, most voters think the government won't be able to stop further terrorist attacks on the homeland and say the country’s Islamic community should be doing more to condemn such violence. 

A government report earlier this year said over 500,000 visitors to the United States overstayed their legal visas in 2015 and didn’t go home. Most voters think those who overstay their visas are a serious national security threat and that the feds need to take stronger steps to deport them. 

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

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