Majority Of Americans Oppose Trump’s ‘Emergency’ And His Border Wall

More polling evidence that the public does not support Trump's emergency declaration or his wall.

Another poll shows that the vast majority of Americans oppose the President’s declaration of a national emergency to construct his border wall:

A large majority of Americans surveyed in a new poll opposes President Trump’s emergency declaration to secure billions of dollars in funding for a border wall.

The Monmouth University Poll released Thursday showed that almost two-thirds of adults — 64 percent — disapprove of Trump’s declaration, while 33 percent support it. The results are largely unchanged from January, when 64 percent disapproved of the resolution and 34 percent approved.

The poll also showed that a slim majority of respondents still opposes the building of a wall on the southern border. Fifty-one percent of those polled oppose Trump’s signature campaign promise, while 44 percent support it. Another 4 percent are unsure.

The poll comes as the Senate is set to rebuke the president and pass a resolution blocking the emergency declaration. Four Republican senators have already declared they will support the resolution, joining the Senate’s 47 Democrats to push the legislation over the needed 51-vote threshold. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), one of the GOP defectors, said that as many as 10 more Republicans could vote to approve the House-passed resolution.

Trump has vowed to veto the resolution, and it is unlikely either chamber of Congress will be able to muster Republican support to overrule the president. Regardless, having to use his first veto on a bipartisan rebuke of his key immigration promise would be embarrassing for Trump.

The White House is waging a pressure campaign to prevent more Republicans from supporting the resolution.

“Senate Republicans are not voting on constitutionality or precedent, they are voting on desperately needed Border Security & the Wall. Our Country is being invaded with Drugs, Human Traffickers, & Criminals of all shapes and sizes. That’s what this vote is all about. STAY UNITED!” Trump tweeted Wednesday.

Trump declared the emergency last month to allocate roughly $8 billion for barriers along the Mexican border. He expressed frustration with a congressional funding bill that failed to meet his demand for $5.7 billion in wall funding..

These numbers, of course, are consistent with other polling we’ve seen since the President announced his national emergency when he signed the legislation ending the six-week long government shutdown. At the time, of course, even Trump admitted that the emergency declaration was entirely unnecessary and that he only made the declaration because he wasn’t happy with the amount of money that Congress had authorized for border security and that he wanted to get the task done faster. It’s also consistent with polling taken during the government shutdown — see herehere, and here — showing that a majority of Americans opposed the border wall itself. It also comes in the wake of the House of Representatives vote, largely along party lines disapproving of the emergency declaration and the likelihood that the measure will pass the Senate due to the fact that, to date, at least four Republican Senators have indicated that they will be voting with the Democrats and against the so-called “emergency.” While this is unlikely to be enough to override an expected Presidential veto, it is a sign that the President’s party, which for the most part remains obsequiously loyal, is beginning to have second thoughts about this President’s executive power grabs. In addition to this challenge from Congress, the Administration also faces lawsuits filed by sixteen states as well as a number of independent groups, and House Democrats have indicated that they took are likely to file a lawsuit against the President’s declaration as well.

At the same time, it’s clear that poll numbers like this are unlikely to deter the President from moving forward with his emergency and his plan to continue pushing for a wall that pretty much every expert on the subject agrees is unncesary, and the reason why can be found in the poll numbers themselves. Consider this from the underlying numbers in the Monmouth poll:

  • On the question of whether or not respondents support or oppose building a border wall:
    • 84% of Republicans support building the wall, while 13% oppose it;
    • 55% of Independents support building the wall, while 44% oppose it; and,
    • 80% of Democrats oppose building the wall, while 15% support it.
  • On the question of the President’s use of emergency powers to get funding for the wall:
    • 73% of Republicans approve of the President’s action, while 24% oppose it;
    • 71% of Independents disapprove of the President’s action, while 28% support it; and,
    • 93% of Democrats disapprove of the President’s action, while 6% support it

While these same polls show that most Americans and most INdependent voters oppose both the emergency declaration and the wall, the support for both among Trump’s Republican base is overwhelming. In the end, that is what this entire thing is about, appealing to the base of the GOP in anticipation of the 2020 election. Politically this isn’t really very smart, because Trump is going to need more than just his hard-core base to get re-elected, but it’s been clear from the start of this Presidency that appealing to the base is far more important to him than reaching beyond it or trying to expand that base. If it was he would be acting and governing in a far different manner. Instead, Trump clearly believes his best hope for 2020 is to keep the base riled up and enthusiastic. As long as that’s the case, you can expect his behavior and his rhetoric to become, if anything, more extreme.


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. Kathy says:

    Back in the 90s Republican attitudes towards Clinton seemed to me like payback rather than opposition. My thinking at the time was that it was payback for the Iran-Contra hearings, which humiliated the Reagan Administration, and for winning the 92 election against Bush the elder.

    This begat payback towards Bush the younger for winning the EC and losing the electoral vote (though it was so close it was technically a tie). In turn the partial obstructionism against Bush in the 2000s got outright obstructionism to Obama.

    And Trump is still engaged in payback of his own, which meshes with the GOP’s.

    When will it stop?

    Also, it may go as far back as Watergate. Nixon suffered a fate worse than humiliation.

  2. al Ameda says:


    And Trump is still engaged in payback of his own, which meshes with the GOP’s.
    When will it stop?
    Also, it may go as far back as Watergate. Nixon suffered a fate worse than humiliation.

    I understand you point.
    I’m beginning to think that it goes back to the Civil War, and all the unresolved baggage that non-Confederates carry from losing the war.

  3. de stijl says:

    Gingrich begat everything.

    Gingrich is the reason that Rs are perpetually irresponsible (and nowadays reprehensible)

    Yeah, he played with existing tropes and never inventing anything new, but he weaponized Limbaugh and brought that strain into national attention.

  4. de stijl says:

    Gingrich + Limbaugh in the ’90s brought us ruin and national degradation during the Bush 43 ‘ Cheney era.

    We were attacked by Saudi nationals, so let’s invade and occupy Iraq. Why not? Daddy left that business undone per influential hangers-on. Why the eff not? So let’s just vote overwhelming for the AUMF – seems reasonable.

    We lost any pretense at our “honor” there in Iraq because we decided that torture was okay if we did it.

    We were set on a really bad path by idiots who were convinced they were super-patriots.

    America has been irreparably harmed by that.

  5. de stijl says:

    Do Rs really think that “The Wall” will solve anything.

    No fooling. Honest question.

  6. Kathy says:

    @al Ameda:

    Have you thought about ending the war?

  7. Kathy says:

    @de stijl:

    Gingrich + Limbaugh in the ’90s brought us ruin and national degradation during the Bush 43 ‘ Cheney era.

    You’re not wrong, but that is the how, not the why.

    It’s like saying Poland was conquered because their army couldn’t stand up to the Wehrmacht. it’s true, but that’s not the reason Poland was invaded in the first place. That has to do with hitler’s and Stalin’s ambitions, and that has to do with how WWI ended, and also with some earlier history involving Poland, Russia, and Germany.

    So, Gingrich and Limbaugh are the murder weapon, so to speak, but not the motive.

  8. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @al Ameda:

    I’m beginning to think that it goes back to the Civil War,

    The mistake was the whole “with malice toward none and charity toward all” thing. Lincoln had no idea of how bitter the pill of having to treat inferiors decently was going to be. Unfortunately, “we will hunt them down and kill them all” was just as bad as a solution and wouldn’t have lead to a better outcome.

  9. Teve says:

    @de stijl:

    Language: A Key Mechanism of Control

    Newt Gingrich’s 1996 GOPAC memo


  10. de stijl says:


    Frank Luntz is also complicit. I vaguely remember he semi-apologized some years back. Sorry, pal. Too late – the damage is already done and you actively helped.


    that is the how, not the why

    I could answer to the why, but does it really matter? They polluted discourse, and made every legislative action a binary win-or-lose zero sum game where winning was the primary goal. It’s College Republican rat-f*cking at the federal level.

    Because they have shitty values and didn’t get enough hugs. Because winning is better than losing so let’s take that to an extremely absurd level.

  11. de stijl says:

    Per my mandate I am honor bound and now have to plug a song. The problem is that I’ve been listening to The Mountain Goats and AJJ both of whom I’ve previously plugged so that’s off the menu. That’d be cheating.

    So it’s gonna have to be Public Enemy / Chuck D. Rebel Without A Pause

    Chuck D was the man. Terminator X

  12. de stijl says:

    Contemporaneous and coherently true to the PE plug ethos, NWA’s F#ck The Po-lice

  13. de stijl says:

    To those who missed my previous installments here are The Mountain Goats. Folk punk. From The Sunset Tree album this is Up The Wolves and it is glorious!

    Alternatively, AJJ (fka Andrew Jackson Jihad) is also folk punk, but much more raw than The Mountain Goats. The album is titled “People Who Can Eat People Are The Luckiest People In The World” and it is exactly what it says on the tin.

    It is demented social anxiety meets absurd social commentary. The chance that you will hate them is fairly high. Be forewarned. (Full album)

    I think they’re fucking awesome.

    A safer entry point is People II: The Reckoning