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Few Support Bringing More Syrian Refugees To U.S.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Obama administration announced this week plans to increase the total number of worldwide refugees accepted into the United States to 100,000 by 2017 in response to the ongoing migrant crisis from parts of the Middle East into Europe. Few U.S. voters agree with this decision, perhaps in part because a sizable majority have national security concerns.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 49% of Likely U.S. Voters say they want the government to allow no refugees from Syria and other Middle Eastern countries into the United States. Another 20% only support President Obama’s initial proposal of allowing 10,000 refugees to resettle here. Just 22% agree with the administration's decision to allow in even more refugees, including seven percent (7%) who favor resettling 100,000 or more in this country. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

These sentiments can partly be attributed to the 72% of voters who are concerned that giving thousands of Syrians asylum poses a national security risk to the United States, with 47% who are Very Concerned. Twenty-seven percent (27%) don’t share this concern, but that includes just 10% who are Not At All Concerned.

Just after the president’s announcement that the United States will allow 10,000 new Middle Eastern migrants to come here, 50% of voters were opposed to the idea, while just 36% supported it.

American are already nervous about the threat of Islamic terrorism here at home. Following a thwarted attack in Texas in May, most agreed that Islamic terrorism is now a bigger threat inside the United States. For the first time in over four years, over half of voters believe the United States is a more dangerous place than it was before the 9/11 attacks.

Making matters worse, a plurality (47%) believes the U.S. government focuses too little on the potential threat of Islamic terrorism.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on September 16-17, 2015 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.

Most voters also still oppose the president's plan to protect up to five million illegal immigrants from deportation.

Fifty-nine percent (59%) of Republicans want no Middle Eastern refugees allowed into the United States, a view shared by 48% of voters not affiliated with either major political party and just 40% of Democrats. Still, few voters in the president’s party want any more than 25,000 new refugees allowed in.

Majorities of voters of all party affiliations are concerned about the national security threat that arises from bringing in Middle Eastern refugees, but Republicans have the strongest concern.

Nearly half of voters of all ages would prefer it if no refugees from Syria and other countries in the region were allowed in the United States and show strong concern over national security if that were to happen.

Eighty percent (80%) of voters who don’t want any refugees resettled here are Very Concerned that granting such asylum would pose a national security risk. Voters who support allowing some refugees cot come here are not nearly as worried, but 72% of those who support the government accepting 10,000 are at least somewhat concerned about national security.

Fourteen years after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, concern that the terrorists have the upper hand in the ongoing War on Terror remains near a record high.

Nearly half (47%) of voters still think U.S. involvement in Middle East politics is bad for the United States. Thirty-four percent (34%) think it’s good for this country, while five percent (5%) say it has no impact.

The administration's decision also comes at a time when the country is embroiled in a major political debate over immigration. Eighty percent (80%) of voters have a favorable opinion of immigrants who come to the United States to work hard, support their families and pursue the American Dream. The problem is far fewer (54%) now believe that's the agenda most immigrants have in mind.

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

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