Majority Oppose Use Of National Emergency To Build Border Wall

Most Americans oppose the idea of the President using a "national emergency" to get funding for his border wall. Will that matter to him?

A new poll from CBS News shows that the vast majority of Americans oppose the idea of President Trump declaring a “national emergency” to get his wall built:

Sixty-six percent of Americans overall say President Trump should not declare a national emergency if Congress does not fund a border wall, although most Republicans (73 percent) think he should.

If government funding runs out on Feb. 15 and there’s still an impasse over wall funding, Americans don’t want either side to force another shutdown.

Seventy-three percent of Americans want Mr. Trump to continue negotiating while keeping the government open, rather than demand wall funding if that forces a shutdown. A similar number (75 percent) say congressional Democrats should also continue negotiating, rather than deny funding in a move that might force a shutdown.

But there are partisan differences underlying these views. Republicans are split on what Mr. Trump should do on Feb. 15 if there is no deal. Fifty percent of Republicans say he should demand funding for a wall, even if it means another shutdown, while 50 percent think he should continue to negotiate while keeping the government open.

Most Democrats (65 percent) want their own party in Congress to continue negotiating with the government open, while a third think they should refuse to fund a wall if it means another government shutdown.

While one would think that the fact that the vast majority of Americans oppose using the seemingly phony excuse of a “national emergency” to get funding that he cannot get from Congress, the President is likely buoyed by the fact that a basically equal number of Republicans seem to support the idea. Of course, one has to ask those Republicans how they’d feel if a future Democratic President used the excuse of a “national emergency” to expand the nation’s gun control laws or address climate change. I’m guessing that they would not be quite as enthusiastic.


FILED UNDER: Borders and Immigration, Climate Change, 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. Kylopod says:

    Kevin Drum and Greg Sargent made an interesting point today. To summarize: Under the National Emergencies Act, Pelosi’s House can pass a resolution stopping a president from using emergency powers. McConnell’s Senate could vote it down or refuse to bring it up for a vote, but it would put them on record as effectively greenlighting Trump’s move. That probably wouldn’t stop them, but at least it won’t be easy for them to duck responsibility for it.

  2. CSK says:

    I can tell you precisely what the Trumpkins will say: This poll is from CBS; therefore, it’s fake news.

  3. Kathy says:

    I wonder whether Dennison thinks his bases is either the majority of the country, or representative of the country at large (ie Democrats really want a wall, but they just won’t admit it).

    Or maybe he thinks he’s the boss of the country, and the voters work for him?

  4. CSK says:


    I think he and his base like to assure themselves they’re the majority.

  5. Kathy says:


    I’ve long maintained that a government cannot pursue only popular policies. Sometimes a policy is deeply unpopular, but necessary or right.

    When this happens, and there is time, a good leader will sell their policy to the public, trying to generate support for it. Bush the younger did so with his ill-considered adventure in Iraq, Obama with the ACA, and plenty more examples. In fact, selling their policies is an appreciable fraction of the work US presidents do.

    Trump hasn’t even tried to sell his vanity wall. Sure, his base loves the idea. But they did so even before Trump. Remember all those lofty proclamations about not even considering doing something about immigration reform until the “border is secure”?

    The base gets you nominated. It may get you elected, or help to. It will not keep you in office if you neglect everyone outside it.

  6. Matt says:

    if a future Democratic President used the excuse of a “national emergency” to expand the nation’s gun control laws or address climate change. I’m guessing that they would not be quite as enthusiastic.

    When I bring that up it usually stops them in their tracks. They go from YEAH LETS DO IT to “oh shit” at least 90% of the time. The remaining just don’t care and probably just want everything to burn down.