Even Trump’s Supporters Don’t Believe Mexico Would Pay For Trump’s Border Wall

Apparently, even people who support Donald Trump don't believe his claim that he can get Mexico to pay for his border wall.


A new poll finds that voters don’t believe that Donald Trump will succeed in getting Mexico to pay for his border wall:

Donald Trump has said hundreds of times — including after meeting with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto a couple weeks back — that Mexico will pay for his proposed border wall.

Not even Trump’s supporters believe that will happen.

A new poll from the Washington Post and ABC News shows just 21 percent of Americans think Trump will make good on his long-promised pledge to force Mexico to pay for a wall that is aimed at keeping its own residents out of the United States.

Fully three quarters — 76 percent — say he won’t accomplish it.

Even a majority of Republicans think Trump will fail on one of his signature policy initiatives, with 52 percent saying he won’t be able to get it done, compared with 42 percent who think he will. Among Americans who say they are voting for Trump in the poll, 48 percent say he’ll succeed, and 44 percent say he’ll fail.

Hispanics find the idea particularly preposterous. Fully 88 percent of them say Trump won’t be able to do it; 10 percent say he’ll get it done.

And this poll might actually be somewhat understating just how little Trump’s supporters actually buy into the idea. A CNN/Opinion Research showed 25 percent said it was at least “somewhat likely” he would get Mexico to pay for the wall. But it also offered more than just two options, and it turns out just 9 percent thought it “very likely” that he would succeed — including just 18 percent of Republicans and 20 percent of Trump voters.

The fact that the one proposal that has been at the center of Donald Trump’s campaign, the border wall that Mexico will pay for, is so heavily doubted even by people who support Trump is, to say the least, quite interesting. Among other things, it suggests that attacks on Trump based on the fact that he’s unlikely to actually accomplish the things he says he wants aren’t likely to succeed as much as some people  might think because the people inclined to support him have already essentially given him a pass on the fact that he might be unable to fulfill a campaign promise. On the one hand, it’s encouraging because it shows that these voters aren’t as blind to reality as their support for someone like Trump might lead one to believe. On the other hand, it points out the fact that support for Trump isn’t really based on rational factors such as his policy positions, but on emotional factors and, as a general rule, that kind of support generally leads to bad results as well as contributing to the polarization of American politics by leading supporters to take any attack on their candidate as a personal attack rather than an opposing point of view.

In reality, of course, any sane person should have known from the beginning that Trump’s claim that he was going to build a wall that would encompass the entire U.S. border with Mexico and that he could get Mexico to pay for it was a canard from the start. First of all, there are the practical issues involved in building, maintaining, and monitoring a “wall” that would, if Trump is to believed, measure some 1,981 miles in length and make its way through a wide variety of environments ranging from arid deserts to treacherous mountain passes to residential and urban areas such as El Paso, Texas, which is literally just across the border from Vercruz Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. It also includes property that is privately owned, which would require the Federal Government to engage in an eminent domain taking in order to obtain access for construction, patrol, and maintenance. As it stands, we already have a border fence with electronic and human surveillance in the areas where immigrants are most likely to try to enter the country. Other areas, such as the mountainous areas, aren’t as heavily patrolled because it’s generally believed that anyone who tried to cross the border there would be more likely to die than make it across successfully. Insisting on a wall like Trump does accomplishes nothing of value. Beyond that, though, the idea we’re somehow going to force Mexico to pay for the wall is simply absurd. Trump has suggested ideas ranging from a tax on imports from Mexico to confiscating remittances that Mexican citizens or immigrants in the United States, whether legal or illegal, send back home to relatives. Those proposals, however, would seem to be barred by either the terms of the North American Free Trade Agreement. or the property rights of individual citizens unconnected to the Mexican government. To put it bluntly, if the Mexican government doesn’t want to pay for Donald Trump’s wall, it can’t be forced to, and there’s nothing Donald Trump would be able to do change that.

FILED UNDER: Borders and Immigration, Public Opinion Polls, US Politics, , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Mu says:

    Veracruz is 1000 miles from El Paso. You want Ciudad Juarez. And the boarder is in the river at that point, and already heavily fortified.

  2. @Mu:

    I meant to check that before publishing and forgot. Fixed.

  3. Tony W says:

    Low energy, willful blindness…. Sad!!

  4. CSK says:

    Trump supporters give him a pass on anything he says that’s patently false, and that’s because their support for him is neither rational nor ideological– it’s pure emotion, and that emotion is rage.

    There’s a very interesting article in The Economist entitled “In Trump They Trust” that details how little Trump’s lies and self-contradictions matter to his fans. One quote in particular struck me:

    “A volunteer making phone calls for Mr. Trump in Phoenix, Diana Brest, says that Mr Trump can change any policy and have her vote. ‘I’ll forgive him, no matter what,’ she says.”

  5. Andre Kenji says:

    Ciudad Juarez-El Paso is just one of the large Metropolitan Areas in the border. There are several other examples. Nogales, Arizona and Nogales, Sonora are basically one city in two countries.

    To be fair, I have envy of these Metropolitan Areas in the border. In Brazil, with the exception of the Triple Frontier(And maybe Corumbá and Uruguaiana), there are very few large cities in the border, that means that there is far less trade between Brazil and it´s neighbors that it should have.

    Mexico is a great asset to the United States.

  6. Tony W says:

    After the Dr. Oz fiasco – this just in:

    Trumps medical records are being audited by the American Medical Association. Mr. Trump will release them when the audit is over.

  7. CSK says:

    @Tony W:

    And, I guarantee you, Donald Trump’s medical records will be so wonderful they will make your head spin. In fact, the American people will get bored with reading how wonderful Donald Trump’s medical records are.

  8. C. Clavin says:

    the people inclined to support him have already essentially given him a pass on the fact that he might be unable to fulfill a campaign promise.

    The people who support the Cheeto with a Comb-Over support him out of emotion…not reason.
    His entire campaign is fact-free…it’s not just the wall that is preposterous.
    They hate Clinton for reasons that are counter-factual…(btw, this group includes you and James)
    And they love Trump because he says things that make them feel good about themselves as white men.

  9. gVOR08 says:

    Daniel McCarthy had a good article at The American Conservative several years ago. Discussed the difference between intellectual conservatives and “the Base” by analogy to high church and low church Christians. The base believe in salvation by faith. In order to be one of the faithful it is only necessary that he wants in his heart to build the wall. Building the wall is not required. And how can one know what’s in his heart, by what he says.

    It’s a truism in politics that people don’t vote on policy, they vote on tribal identity. Trump has identified himself as one of their tribe.

  10. Franklin says:

    I’ve actually been assuming (probably incorrectly) that Trump would pay for the wall with a reduction in any foreign aid we give to Mexico. Which, in effect, would make Mexico “pay” for the wall.

    Now that I’ve looked up the numbers, though, that doesn’t seem to add up. We only give them some $50 million per year, good for about 3 whole miles of wall …

    EDIT: A different reference says $500 million per year, so hey we’re up to 30 miles!!!

  11. CSK says:


    There’s always been a strain of anti-intellectualism and anti-cosmopolitanism in American popular culture. Hollywood movies used to make hay out of pitting the virtuous country bumpkin against the evil city slicker. (Rural good! Urban bad!) The egghead ivory tower scientist who wanted to reach out to the alien invader was the one who got killed by the monster. The “Harvard guy” was always the one who got killed in war movies.

    In politics, Pat Buchanan tapped into this with his “peasants with pitchforks” speech. Sarah Palin, with her word salad and blissful ignorance, brought the boil to a head. Trump, a vulgar loudmouthed con artist, popped the pustule and sprayed its fetid content all over the landscape.

  12. C. Clavin says:

    This Newsweek article about the conflicts of interest that the Cheeto-with-a-Comb-Over would have as President is daunting.
    Forget every single other dis-qualifying thing that has come before…it’s impossible for this man to lead this nation, and put the nations best interests before his own.
    Anyone who supports this guy has serious mental health issues.

  13. Moosebreath says:


    I always thought Trump was planning on taxing at punitive rates the roughly $25 billion Mexican citizens and Mexican Americans send to Mexico each year. Not sure how it would work in the real world, as there likely would be ways around it.

  14. CSK says:


    I looked at Trump’s website, and from what I gather, he wants Mexico to make a one-time payment of $5-10 billion. If not, he’ll cancel visas, cut off remittances sent by illegal immigrants to Mexico, and institute trade tariffs and visa fees.

  15. michael reynolds says:

    So, Doug really can’t manage to mention this:

    Americans last year reaped the largest economic gains in nearly a generation as poverty fell, health insurance coverage spread and incomes rose sharply for households on every rung of the economic ladder, ending years of stagnation.

    The median household’s income in 2015 was $56,500, up 5.2 percent from the previous year — the largest single-year increase since record-keeping began in 1967, the Census Bureau said on Tuesday. The share of Americans living in poverty also posted the sharpest decline in decades.

    The gains were an important milestone for the economic expansion that began in 2009. For the first time in recent years, the benefits of renewed prosperity are spreading broadly.

    Instead it’s another bit of polling fluff.

  16. Mister Bluster says:

    Heard a Trump for President radio ad recently.
    “Don’t listen to what he says, look at what he has done.”
    Don’t listen to what he says!
    I can go with that.

  17. gVOR08 says:

    @C. Clavin: Also completely off topic, but here’s our “free $peech” at work:
    I know it’s anathema to your libertarian principles, Doug, but pleez can we haz some campaign finance reform?

  18. Guarneri says:

    We’ll blow me over. Next thing you know we won’t have hope and change and Hillary won’t be “fighting for us.”

  19. michael reynolds says:


    Guarneri’s daily fart sequitur.

  20. Guarneri says:

    Seriously, Michael? Look at the graphics. Look at the data. Consider that capital appreciation is a component of income and look at the indexes. Look at the drivers of income attenuation, and Obamas unequivocal support of TPP, as well as Hillary’s support. Why must you so routinely identify yourself as clueless, or dishonest?


  21. C. Clavin says:

    @michael reynolds:
    Of course…it is also completely contra anything Guarneri has spewed in the last 7+ years.

  22. Grewgills says:

    Guarneri, shouldn’t you have included a link to zerohedge?
    It’s not real guano unless it includes the zero hedger link.

  23. wr says:

    @Guarneri: Ooh, look, Guarneri’s picking words out of the Wall Street Journal and stringing them together at random in a desperate attempt at saying “Don’t look at reality — listen to me!”

    He’s like Jenos, but with polysyllables.

  24. Jc says:

    Darn, was hoping to see a wall built by undocumented workers, for a major cost overrun, legal expenses through the roof, protested and attacked by Texas ranchers (can’t get to the Rio Grande with a wall in the way) and ultimately never finished. It would be the grandest example of government stupidity and would be etched on Donald’s tombstone and carried over to all his future generations.

  25. gVOR08 says:

    @Jc: If we end up with a few miles of partially finished wall, I hope we have the good taste to every quarter mile or so put on it a big gold (with verdigris) TRUMP sign.

  26. Jc says:

    Oh dear lord, now he is on Dr. Oz Trumping up his health. Some highlights:

    “According to Platt, Oz said his interpretation of the letter from Bornstein is that Trump has no health issues. Platt said that, according to Oz, Trump’s cholesterol has come down to a good level after he was prescribed a Statin drug to lower it — Oz remarked that only a young person would have a cholesterol level that good, Platt said.”

    “Multiple audience members told CNN that Trump said he does not exercise. But one of them — Kelly Platt, a pharmacist intern who said she is a Trump supporter — said Trump told Oz that he is so good at golf he could join the PGA Tour.” LMAO, that is so Trump, master of the foot wedge…

    “During the taping, Trump told Dr. Oz that he wants to lose about 15 pounds, according to an audience member interviewed by CNN’s MJ Lee.”

    “he “Oz” episode, taped on Wednesday morning, will not air until Thursday. But a campaign spokeswoman confirmed that Trump handed Dr. Oz a one-page summary of the physical exam he underwent last week.
    The physical was conducted by Dr. Harold N. Bornstein, the same doctor who previously said Trump would if elected be the healthiest president in history.”

    So he plays golf as his only physical activity, is overweight, takes a statin to control his cholesterol and that folks is the picture of modern american health in a nutshell, apparently he must be one of the healthiest americans in his age group….sigh

  27. Jc says:

    @gVOR08: lol, true – but it will likely just be gold paint and you can check the construction status on Trump.gov, of which the cost to run that fed domain will be built into the costs, or maybe he can advertise some of his properties on there to offset and save us Americans some money – maybe if the walls are thick enough they can squeeze some blackjack tables and slots in there for the idle border patrol workers to play, of course they would be owned by some sub of a sub of some trump company….anything to leave lint in your pockets and line his – man, I am salty today lol

  28. JKB says:

    “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it,” President Barack Obama said — many times — of his landmark new law.

    And people are still waiting for those healthcare savings to kick in. Of course, the professors, especially the political science professors are still waiting for “the wealth created by the socialist methods of production” to emerge.

    For all of these reasons, PolitiFact has named “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it,” the Lie of the Year for 2013. Readers in a separate online poll overwhelmingly agreed with the choice.

  29. C. Clavin says:

    Jesus gawd you are a fool.

  30. C. Clavin says:

    He’s got high cholesterol that has to be controlled by drugs, with their own side-effects, and he doesn’t exercise, but he’s healthy??? WTF???
    There’s a guy who sits 10 feet away from me that would kick his orange arse on the golf course…unless he lies about his scores like he lies about everything else.

  31. HarvardLaw92 says:


    And people are still waiting for those healthcare savings to kick

    Where did you get the idea that the savings realized would necessarily occur at the individual level? They’re much more systemic in nature.

  32. Tyrell says:

    A physical brick, mortar, and concrete wall is ancient. An electronic system would be cheaper and more effective. Those who get through and get to stay and those already here could be assessed a tax or yearly fee (arranged by Judge Roberts). That would help pay the cost of the system and border guards.
    “If you want to stay you pay”

  33. Pete S says:

    @C. Clavin:

    There’s a guy who sits 10 feet away from me that would kick his orange arse on the golf course…unless he lies about his scores like he lies about everything else.

    Remember how the North Korean leader was getting 10 or more holes in one per round? Trump will score a 17, on his last shot it will go in and out of the cup on 17 and bounce straight in the cup on 18. He is just that good. And all the Trumpkins will go on Fox News and say they saw the round and it absolutely happened.

  34. Bob@Youngstown says:


    cut off remittances sent by illegal immigrants to Mexico

    Is there a mechanism to discern remittances from illegal versus legal aliens?

  35. Jc says:

    JKB, its 2016 and he is not running again…despite what infowars may tell you. Get back on the page and at least throw out some HRC attacks ,so we know you are focusing on the future.

  36. michael reynolds says:


    My savings have already kicked in. I pay roughly the same now, a bit less, for far more reliable coverage. My out-of-pocket for meds is way down. And I don’t have to worry about the policy being canceled for reasons of corporate profit. I’m saving something close to a grand a month.

  37. JKB says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Where did you get the idea that the savings realized would necessarily occur at the individual level?

    We are discussing the statements politicians make:

    When it came to health care premiums for the typical family, Obama said he would cut the annual cost by $2,500. Months before Obama took office, a New York Times reporter dubbed it one of the most audacious pledges of the campaign.

  38. JKB says:


    Hillary is a document congenital liar from as far back as 1996, if she should tell us she was running for president, we’d be wise to verify the fact independently.

  39. CSK says:


    Well, I figure that mechanism is to cut off wire transfers initiated by anyone named Lopez, Garcia, Fernandez, Ortega, Hernandez, Enriques, Martinez, Ortiz, Romero, Medina….after all, they’re all rapists, murderers, and drug dealers as well as illegals. Right?

  40. gVOR08 says:


    A physical brick, mortar, and concrete wall is ancient. An electronic system would be cheaper and more effective.

    “impenetrable, physical, tall, powerful, beautiful.” – D Trump

  41. C. Clavin says:


    Hillary is a document congenital liar from as far back as 1996, if she should tell us she was running for president, we’d be wise to verify the fact independently.

    If she is a congenital liar then what do how do you refer to Trump, who according to Politifact says something true 10% of the time.
    Clinton by comparison: 56%…one of the highest of all politicians.
    I know you are more interested in your emotions than facts…but even a sobbing emotional wreck, such as yourself, should be able to see the piss poor comparison.

  42. michael reynolds says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Spoiler: he won’t have an answer.

  43. C. Clavin says:

    Clinton has actually released real health information and based on his cholesterol, his weight, his inactivity, and his diet…I’d say she’s in better health.

  44. HarvardLaw92 says:


    On average. You have any data establishing the overall average effect on premiums?

  45. Davebo says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Hard to believe I know Michael.

    9/12 Doug Clinton could literally die any minute!

    9/13 Doug It’s now a horse race!.. Errr., sort of.

    914 Doug Blah Blah Wall, Trump voters not as gullible as they seem

    There were a lot of pretty significant news events over those three days. But none interested Doug and James is no longer interested at all.

  46. Tony W says:


    after all, they’re all rapists, murderers, and drug dealers as well as illegals. Right?

    Well some, I assume, are good people

  47. Thor thormussen says:

    There were a lot of pretty significant news events over those three days. But none interested Doug and James is no longer interested at all.

    Colin Powell had some critical things to say about Hillary, so you can bet your ass Doug/James will talk about That.

  48. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @Davebo: Over the past two years, I have had to take on the role of caregiver for my elderly mother. I am single, and neither of my siblings or spouses have even bothered to visit her a single time in three years. I also am trying desperately to keep my full time career afloat.

    So I can understand full well how the site in no longer on James’s radar as it once was. I seem to add at least two tasks to my To Do list for every task that I remove, and every day seems to need at least three more productive hours in it. And I do not have the grief of losing a spouse to contend with, as he does.

  49. CSK says:

    @Gromitt Gunn:

    My profound sympathies. I had the responsibility of caring for aged parents in their final years, though fortunately my siblings visited and called very frequently. I know exactly what kind of balancing act you’re trying to perform. It’s very tough, but you’ll never regret having done it.

  50. Davebo says:

    @Gromitt Gunn:

    I lost my wife of 23 years just over 3 years ago and we didn’t have children so I can certainly understand that James has bigger priorities.

    Whining about what bloggers don’t opine about is stupid I agree but I suggest you look at what James has chose to comment on here before claiming this site hasn’t faced a severe case of cognitive dissonance while still churning out new posts.

    Any Fed report that could be even slightly construed as less than positive has been commented on by Doug and frankly James’ last dozen posts portray an avoidance of reality that is quite frankly stunning.

    It’s like Kessler’s Five Stages of Grief, but with a passive aggressive refusal of acceptance.

  51. Jc says:

    @C. Clavin: she is healthy enough, but I will bet this causes more questions, such as why does she take a blood thinner? Usually you would only take that for clots, afib or because you are at risk for a stroke. Just wait, media will be all over it

  52. grumpy realist says:

    @CSK: This goes back all the way through American culture, by the way. Take a look at The Mauve Decade by Thomas Beer. In the first chapter “The Titanesse” he mentions the 1890s trope of “rural == poor but honest” vs. “city == wicked and rich.”

    At the same time, note that people like Pat Buchanan and Trump don’t ever LIVE out in rural hickdom. Much better to sell the sizzle to the rubes while enjoying all the benefits of the city! Because:

    How ya gonna keep ’em down on the farm
    After they’ve seen Paree’
    How ya gonna keep ’em away from Broadway
    Jazzin around and paintin’ the town
    How ya gonna keep ’em away from harm, that’s a mystery
    They’ll never want to see a rake or plow
    And who the deuce can parleyvous a cow?
    How ya gonna keep ’em down on the farm
    After they’ve seen Paree’

  53. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @Jc: trump’s daily regime of low dose (81 mg) aspirin is taken for it’s anticoagulant properties.

  54. grumpy realist says:

    And our slide towards being a 3rd world dumpster continues….

    As said, if the people of the USA vote Trump into office, we deserve everything that will happen to us.

  55. Thor thormussen says:

    The Economist evidently rates a Trump presidency as the third-greatest threat to humanity, after global warming and strategic thermonuclear war.

  56. Andre Kenji says:

    Any wall, even an eletronic one, is a waste of time. Unless you have somekind of ID Card(And ID Number) and job regulations for employers one can simply overstay a Visa. The United States is the easiest country in the American Continent to be an undocumented immigrant, precisely because there is no ID Card requirements and job regulations are relatively weak.

  57. RGardner says:

    The wall Mexico needs to build is on its Southern border. I was in Mexico in June (non-tourist areas), lots of Central Americans passing through Mexico to get to the USA. Mexicans were complaining about it.

  58. bookdragon says:

    @grumpy realist: I think this political cartoon pretty well sums it up:

    It’s going to be close