With a looming budgetary tug-o-war — White House officials demanding funding for a U.S.-Mexico border wall on one side and Democrats flatly resisting it on the other — President Trump and his aides renewed calls for the need to fulfill his key campaign promise.
In a recent interview with the Associated Press, Trump said: “People want the border. My base really wants the border. My base really wants it.”
Yet polls have consistently shown that a majority of Americans, including those who live near the border and the lawmakers who represent them, don't want it. Many also don't think a wall would have a significant effect on illegal immigration.
Here are the numbers:
- Washington Post-ABC News poll: Sixty percent of adults oppose building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, while 37 percent support it. Of these respondents, 47 percent are strongly against it. It is worth noting that 76 percent of Trump voters support it, while 91 percent of Hillary Clinton voters don't. But what the January poll also found is that even among those who supported neither of the candidates, the consensus (69 percent vs. 27 percent) is against building the wall.
- Pew Research Center: The nonpartisan organization's findings from a survey in February had almost similar results: 62 percent oppose the wall, while 35 are in favor of it. The poll also found that only 29 percent think a wall would lead to a “major reduction” in illegal immigration. An additional 25 percent think it would lead to a “minor reduction,” while 43 percent don't think it would have much effect. Another key finding: A huge majority of Americans, 70 percent, think the United States would ultimately foot the bill, even though Trump had insisted that Mexico would pay “for the badly needed” wall “at a later date.” In the survey, 16 percent said they think Mexico will pay for the wall, although Mexico's president has said his country won't.
- Gallup: This poll from January found that a majority of Americans would rather see other campaign promises fulfilled. Sixty-nine percent think Trump should renew the country's infrastructure. More than half want him to reduce income taxes, establish tariffs on imports and deport illegal immigrants with criminal records. Forty-six percent want Obamacare repealed and replaced. Only 26 percent say a wall should be a priority.
- Quinnipiac University: Five polls conducted over the past months show that an increasing number of voters oppose building a wall, and that support for a wall has been waning. In November, 55 percent were opposed, while 42 percent were in support. By March and April, 64 percent said they were opposed, while 33 percent said they were in favor. The shifting numbers were the results of surveys conducted on more than 1,000 registered voters nationwide.
Polls among those who live near the U.S.-Mexico border, as well as interviews with lawmakers who represent border states, have shown similar results.
- Texas Lyceum: An April survey by the nonprofit organization found that a majority of Texans, 61 percent, oppose Trump's wall proposal, while 35 percent support it. And although Texans think immigration is the main issue affecting the state, many of them, 62 percent, also say that immigration helps the country more than it hurts it. Also, 62 percent of respondents said they don't want Trump to deport millions of undocumented immigrants. Furthermore, 58 percent said they disapprove of the way the president is handling immigration and border security. Sixty percent say they disapprove of the way congressional Republicans are handling the same issues.
- Wall Street Journal: A recent survey by the paper found that not one member of the House or the Senate — Democrat or Republican — has expressed support for Trump's funding request of $1.4 billion to starting building a wall. The Wall Street Journal spoke with nine House members and eight senators representing Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California. Most were opposed; others have unanswered questions. A few gave no clear indication of whether they support it.
Trump and his aides spent the past weekend pressuring congressional Republicans to win funding for a wall. But Democrats have long rejected the idea and insisted that they won't vote for any spending bill that allots money for it. Meanwhile, Mick Mulvaney, Trump's budget director, had suggested that the president might not sign a spending bill that does not have what he wants.
That leaves GOP leaders, as The Washington Post's Amber Phillips wrote, in a no-win situation. Whether they yield to Trump's demands, a government shutdown could be unavoidable.