Poll Shows Majority Of Americans Oppose Administration’s Syrian Refugee Policy
Not surprisingly, a new poll shows that most Americans are at the very least skeptical about the Administration's plans regarding Syrian refugees.
One of the first polls to come out in the wake of last week’s attacks in Paris shows that Americans are strongly opposed to the idea of allowing Syrian refugees into the United States:
Most Americans want the U.S. to stop letting in Syrian refugees amid fears of terrorist infiltrations after the Paris attacks, siding with Republican presidential candidates, governors, and lawmakers who want to freeze the Obama administration’s resettlement program.
The findings are part of a Bloomberg Politics national poll released Wednesday that also shows the nation divided on whether to send U.S. troops to Iraq and Syria to fight the Islamic State, an idea President Barack Obama opposes, and whether the U.S. government is doing enough to protect the homeland from a comparable attack.
Fifty-three percent of U.S. adults in the survey, conducted in the days immediately following the attacks, say the nation should not continue a program to resettle up to 10,000 Syrian refugees. Just 28 percent would keep the program with the screening process as it now exists, while 11 percent said they would favor a limited program to accept only Syrian Christians while excluding Muslims, a proposal Obama has dismissed as “shameful” and un-American.
Here’s the chart showing the poll results:
The poll also found that terrorism and the seeming growing strength of ISIS have become serious public concerns among voters, something that is likely to influence the Presidential race in both parties going forward. If there’s any good news to be found in the poll, I suppose, it is the fact that the majority of Americans, and even the majority of Republicans, consider Islam to be a peaceful religion and the terrorists to not be representative of the majority of its adherents.
These results aren’t entirely surprising, of course. Even before the Paris attacks and the news that one of the men involved apparently made his way to Paris after having arrived in Europe as part of the flood of refugees that have hit the continent since the summer, the Administration’s refugee program was not popular with the public. A Quinnipiac University poll released in September showed that 53% of those polled opposed the Administration’s plan, with the results sharply divided by party. At that point, some 60% of Democrats supported the plan, while 71% of Republicans opposed it. Among Independents, 45% said they supported the plan. In the new Bloomberg poll, 69% of Republicans oppose the Administration’s refugee plan. Support for the plan among Democrats, meanwhile, has dropped to 46% among Democrats, with 36% now opposing the plan. This poll does not provide a breakdown for Independents. This would seem to confirm my initial assessment that the attacks in Paris has changed the political calculus surrounding the refugee debate, and goes a long way toward explaining the manner in which many American politicians, including nearly all of the nation’s Republican Governors and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, have reacted and the calls for a halt to accepting new refugees pending resolution of security concerns.
We’re likely to see other polling that confirms this finding regarding Syrian refugees in the near future and, indeed, it’s probably that the opposition to the program is only likely to increase in the near future. If the Administration truly intends to go forward with this plan, which it legally is free to do regardless of what the Governors say unless Congress can find a way to stop the process, then it has a choice to make. Either it ignores the calls of politicians, including a number of Democrats such as New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan and New York Senator Chuck Schumer, who is likely to be the leader of the Senate Democratic Caucus when the new Congress convenes in January 2017, or it can seek to change public opinion. So far, from my observation, the Administration has utterly failed to address the security questions in a substantive way. Unless it does so, public opinion is only likely to turn against it even more.
All this really proves is that Ailes’ propaganda machine continues to successfully spew its filth.
Americans are terrible at math, and worse at statistics.
Part of the reason these “security concerns” haven’t been addressed is the Administration is focused on the President’s world travels at the moment. Obama isn’t in DC at the moment, so doesn’t have his finger on the pulse of the fever swamp.
The other reason is that these “concerns” are ridiculous and stupid, and don’t even make logical sense. So we don’t let in any Syrian refugees, yet we’ll continue to let in anyone on a student or tourist visa? What if Canada or Mexico accept refugees and we don’t, and they just come from Canada or Mexico? What about all the refugees in Europe? Should we halt immigration from Europe and Latin America, to be more safe?
Republicans are already squirrel-diving deeper and deeper into the xenophobic racial and religious hatred. They can’t help themselves. If they merely said, “I have security concerns about Syrian refugees.” then maybe you could argue this was smart but evil politics. But calls to activate the National Guard to “round up” refugees? Calls to shut down mosques? Calls that 5 year old orphans are a security threat?
All Obama should do announce a press conference, dim the lights, and play W. Bush’s speech on Sept 17, 2001 on continual loop in the press room until people get the hint.
Well, I guess the good news is that we, as a country, are about 14% less xenophobic/bigoted than we were in 1939. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2015/11/17/what-americans-thought-of-jewish-refugees-on-the-eve-of-world-war-ii/
I am aghast that this issue has been handled so poorly by the White House and Dem’s in general. The people who will be arriving in the US tomorrow will have been in the ‘Program’ for over a year, They will have satisfied the FBI and the CIA. Their vetting will exceed by far that of any other immigrant. Which is how it ought to be, I suppose. But it is worthwhile to remember that when this program has been in the news previously it was because the process is so onerous and lengthy and the numbers admitted are so small.
The image of ‘Syrian refugees’ that the American eyeball is shown is the vast numbers trekking through eastern Europe and filling railway stations and all of them apparently un-registered and totally loose from any national identity. If that was our actual problem, I would agree that we have a YOOOOGE problem. In fact, we don’t.
We just need to show that we don’t have this problem. Someone else does and we need to react but to react intelligently. But — fer chrissake! — we don’t have that problem.
And while we’re on the subject: Who has been trying to mislead us about what our problems are? And why?
That’s what we ought to be talking about.
What is needed here is to have a thorough background check before they even get here.
Then, train the men at military bases and send them back to fight ISIS.
@Tyrell: Well, the typical screening process takes 18-24 months and only 2% are single men, so I’m not sure that will work…
I’ve never seen a president so clueless about keeping the public informed. Obama should have given an oval office speech about how refugees are screened. He should have given an oval office speech explaining the Affordable Care Act. There are other examples. Over and over I’ve had to rely on blogs and newspaper reports to fill me in on basic facts. I’ve heard recordings of FDR’s fireside chats during the 30’s and I even listened to a few of them during WW II. They kept the public informed at scary moments in our history and helped build support for the administration. Maybe I’m missing something because I don’t use social media. But I don’t think so. When it comes to keeping the public informed FDR knew what he was doing and BHO is a dunce.
@Stan: “If you like your insurance plan you can keep it”
“If you like your doctors you can keep them”. I know of a few people who lost both.
@JohnMcC: Serious question: what kind of a line can the WH espouse that will penetrate, say, Tyrell’s thick skull? In a free society, no strong non-profit media organs (BBC..) , with a profit-seeking press and profits to be made from hysteria, there is only so much the government cand do.
When did we take our eye off the ball?
ISIS attacks Paris and downs a Russian plane, and all we Americans can do is argue over Syrian refugees…
Are we really that clueless, that xenophobic, that afraid? What happened to that nation that used to boast about being a “shining city on a hill” and being able to fight “wars on two fronts?”
People can blame Obama all they want, but while we’re bickering over refugees, he’s been meeting with the military brass planning special operations and air strikes, coordinating diplomatic support for our allies, intelligence operations against our enemies. (And also representing the US at an Asian economic conference, too.)
(I’ll also say this. During conversations with friends and colleagues, the most common topic that comes up is the violent reprisals we would like to deliver to ISIS. It’s only after we look up at the TV playing CNN that we talk about refugees. I’m not going to go all “MSM” here, but this refugee thing is media -social, cable, print, blog, everything- driven.)
All of the info is out there and has repeated many times. Not only that, but any rational person would realize that it would be far easier for terrorists to get here by other means that are less restrictive, carefully vetted and SLOW.
Considering how quickly this has gone from simple fear of an infiltrator possibly getting in among refugees to full blown bed-wetting cowardice and now to pure xenophobia with calls for things like the Japanese-American internment camps, I almost wonder if Obama is just giving the wingnuts enough rope to hang themselves.
He has mocked the ‘tough’ guys who think they could cow Putin but are afraid of preschool war orphans. Beyond that he’s just sitting back and letting them prove him right.
The polls right now reflect fear. At some point Americans are going to get sick of looking so craven, esp compared to France and Germany.
So how many Yazidi Christians were in this group of Syrian “refugees” recently release onto our streets? The fact is the U.N. refugee agency who makes the initial selection has been controlled by Muslims for the benefit of Muslims and to the exclusion of Syrian Christians and other religious minority refugees for the last three years now, as Obama well knows. By the UNHCR own criteria, Iraqi and Syrian Christians who should have long ago been removed from Iraq and Syria have been systematically denied UN refugee status while Sunni Muslim fighting-aged men fill the ranks as “Refugees”.
Bed-wetting cowardice? Wow. Hmmm, I oppose the Syrian refugee plan and yet I don’t seem to be wetting the bed. Granted, my concerns are more political than anything, perhaps a bit meta, but the idea that everyone who opposes this plan must be a coward is a bit troubling, because, most Americans do in fact oppose the plan.
Canadians oppose the plan in identical numbers, 53%.
In the UK opposition has shot up by 22% to 49%, statistically the same as us.
Germans were opposed even before Paris. So they must be terrible pansies as well. Even among American Democrats about a third oppose the plan, despite the fact that this has somehow become a litmus test. As do independents by a wide margin.
So, we have the US, Canada, Germany and the UK all increasingly opposed. The numbers are weirdly identical. Which means, no, it’s not just our crazy xenophobic right wing, and no, it’s not because Obama hasn’t explained it well enough. The “west” is concerned about the logic of accepting these people at this time.
Polling shows 13% support for ISIS among Syrian refugees. Which would mean that in a group of 10,000 refugees, 1300 are favorably inclined toward this death cult. The Paris killers were not in our intel database, which rather calls into question the effectiveness of our supposedly exhaustive vetting of refugees. What database are we relying on? Assad’s card catalog? We cowardly bed-wetters smell bullshit.
To dismiss all this as some sort of unreasoning cowardly terror makes the smug feel smugger still, but if that poll of refugees is anywhere close to correct, and if the “vetting” is as full of holes as literally every other screening process ever, then the risk is that we are accepting 1300 ISIS sympathizers. Poll that and see what the numbers look like. You’ll find 70% of people are bed-wetting cowards. Maybe 80%.
@Tyrell: Over 10 million people now have health insurance due to the Affordable Care Act. I’m happy about this despite the fact that some people have had to find new doctors and insurance policies. As Spock tells us, the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. It isn’t the policies of the administration I object to, it’s the ineptness of BHO in explaining them.
And even more Americans opposed admitting Jews fleeing Hitler. I suppose that made them right in your eyes? After all, so much of the rest pf world had the same poll numbers, how could there be a whiff of moral cowardice or xenophobia there.
Right, because Syrians in 2015 = Jews in 1940. And 13% of Jews supported the Nazis?
There are 3 million refugees. If you want to do something to help them, open sanctuary areas in Iraq and Syria. That accomplishes a great deal more than letting 10,000 into the US. If this is a humanitarian concern, then that’s the most humanitarian approach – the greatest good for the greatest number.
The fact that the Left is so obsessed suddenly with this issue reveals that it is not primarily a humanitarian urge, since better humanitarian options are possible, but is rather some sort of weird expiation of our collective guilt over Iraq.
The Left is suddenly obsessed with the refugee issue?
From where I sit, the Right seems to be suddenly obsessed with this issue, and they’re successfully peeling off support from folks, like yourself, who are otherwise very much to their left. As has been demonstrated time and again here and everywhere else right wing thought is published, the refugee issue has been used to hammer the Obama administration for political gain.
“Chris Christie, what do you think of the Syrian refugees?”
Turning the pages of his talking points, he says, “You wanna know what I think? Lemme tell ya what I think.”
They’re not trying to keep this country safe from ISIS-sympathizing refugees or terrorists posing as refugees. They’re trying to get a bump in their poll numbers.
The refugee issue is only a part of a much larger problem. One in which our Republican governors, congressional leaders, or presidential candidates are woefully unprepared to handle.
@michael reynolds: wouldn’t the sanctuary areas become immediate targets for ISIS? The security issues would be incredibly difficult, and require a near prison-like level of control.
How do we control who gets in, and what they bring with them, when we cannot keep drugs out of prisons in the US, or keep prisoners in the US safe for the inmates who would elect not to engage in acts of buggary?
If we could make it work, then sure, but otherwise Im not sure taking refugees, putting them into a single location, and painting a big target on them is actually the greatest good for the greatest number.
@michael reynolds: Exactly how do we open sanctuary areas in Iraq and Syria? Do we just waive a magic wand and say Let There Be Sanctuary Areas? In order for people to live they need housing, clothes, and food. How do we provide these without sending more troops to the region?
On your broader point, refugees aren’t admitted willy-nilly. They’re vetted, and if you take the trouble you can read about screening procedures in the press and on the internet.
Regarding the danger from a terrorist attack, read Innumeracy by John Allen Paulos. You’re in a lot more danger when you go on a book tour than you are from an ISIL bomb.
Finally, I think you’re ignoring the good will aspects of a generous refugee policy. Because of our support of Israel, our invasion of Iraq, the Abu Ghraib horror, and Guantanamo, we have a poor image in Moslem eyes. I believe in the concept of soft power, and I think we’d do ourselves more practical good than harm in following Obama’s lead on the refugee question. And we need all the help we can get in restoring our position in the Mideast.
@Gustopher: You need look no farther than Sudan to see how such refugee camps work out.
I suppose they would be the counter to the GOP talking points though. Cameras showing the plight of little kids stuck in them might turn public opinion against the folks who advocated leaving them there.
Nah, what am I saying? They’d find some way to blame Obama and/or Clinton.
Too many Americans want to live in a comfy little world where nothing bad ever happens and there’s no risk anywhere.
This really does remind me of the whole Ebola panic.
We’re an AWFULLY bored populace, is all I can say.
P.S. It would be interesting to get a geographic breakdown of the “don’t admit those Syrian refugees” vs. “oh, go ahead, it won’t matter.” I predict a typical rural-urban split.
It’s pretty much a clone, but with “Syrian refugees” playing the part “American doctors/nurses with Ebola” did last year.
But when it comes down to misninformation, disinformation, mindless panic, and smearing the President? Essentially identical.
@Stan: Not only that, but it shows that we aren’t easily manipulated. ISIS wants us to respond by shutting out refugees and, in if they can really get their way, persecuting the Muslims already here. That gives them a pool of potential new recruits.
Refusing these refugees is not only contrary to American principles and human decency, it rewards ISIS for the Paris attacks, which makes it more, not less, likely that they will try to hit us.
Yeah, people? The Syrian refugees are already in camps, and 90% of them are going to be staying there. We have three million refugees, and we are talking about taking 10,000. With what Europe is likely to manage after all this, we may get 50,000 people out, net. So that’ll leave 2,950,000 people in camps. But hey, let’s say the West takes, I don’t know, a million total. That ain’t happening, but that still means 2,000,000 in camps.
A “safe zone” is not a camp For example, we could declare portions of the northern border with Turkey a safe zone. That includes towns and villages. Presumably the Turks would provide security and the West would pay the bills. Granted it could turn into another Gaza, but hopefully we and our allies would manage things a wee bit better than Hamas has done. Goods would flow across the Turkish border, plenty of medical, plenty of food, and perhaps eventually, work.
And from those safe zones we could begin to recruit people willing to be trained to fight ISIS. Even if you accept the patent nonsense about there being only 2% of fighting age, that would still be a potential recruiting pool of 60,000 men. Sign up 20% of those and we’d have ourselves an indigenous ground force. We’d have an actual division. We’d have half the number of ISIS fighters as exist, and our side would have those new-fangled flying machines.
In other words, better for the actual 3 million Syrians, better in terms of fighting ISIS, better in terms of not electing Trump or Cruz. Better in every way for everyone. Rational, logical, humanitarian, politically smart.
Of course all my liberal friends will instantly reject the idea.
Interesting that so many conservatives seem to believe – or want other fact-averse people to believe – that expensive health insurance plans sprang into existence because of ACA.
I guess that conservatives must have missed the period from 1994 to 2010, when health insurance premium rates were routinely increasing annually at rates of at least 3 to 4 times the rate of inflation. Each year, as a finance and contracts officer, I would receive annual notices of rate increases ranging from 9% to 12%, 15%, 18%, and finally, 21%.
I personally had to change my health insurance plan 5 times in 15 years and move to higher deductible plans and HSAs in order to get a more affordable plan, and yes, I had to change personal physicians twice while changing plans.
Dude, I’m in more danger from the cigar currently stuck in my mouth than I am from terrorism.
You all insist on the Liberal Model: All disagreement flows from a lack of education or from irrational bigotry. Condescending, smug, self-satisfied and wrong.
As for establishing safe zones, note my comment above. One way or the other almost all of these Syrians will be in camps until one side or the other wins and the war stops. Our 10,000 is .0033 of the total. We are not ‘saving’ all these people, we are making a gesture. So climb down off the cross, and spend five minutes actually thinking – not feeling, thinking – about the best way to deal with 3 million Syrians in the middle of a civil war.
The Turkish border, the Iraqi border, both in range of capable (Turkish) or not-entirely-helpless (Iraqi) local forces. Does not require an invasion. Does not require pushing up the vote totals for UKIP or France’s National Front or whatever Germany’s latest right-wing party is. Saves all 3 million. Yay! Right? Yay, cause we want to save those people, all three million, not just the trickle we’re talking about. Right?
Actually, no, I wouldn’t reject it out-of-hand. I agree with you that it’s a reasonable idea and could be a workable option.
What’s important is that the people fleeing Syria have a good non-IS option and that it be known to IS and the world that however it’s done we (the collective non-majority-Muslim nations) are ready to welcome those displaced by the fighting, either within our own borders or in areas we have safeguarded. IS wants nothing more than to have Donald Trump bloviating about closing mosques. It may be just talk, but it’s coming from a potential American President, and it does nothing but boost IS’ legitimacy and recruitment effort.
ISIS does not give two sh-ts how we “react.” That’s all nice propaganda, but this is not about impressing ISIS with how friendly we are to Muslims, it’s about keeping lines open to domestic Muslim populations here and in Europe. That’s what the ‘we love Muslims’ thing is about, and rightly so since any human intel we get will almost certainly come via those communities.
ISIS are stone cold murderers, and they are laughing their asses off at westerners. These are psychopaths, or perhaps people suffering from Antisocial Personality Disorder, to use the more medical term. As a person in touch with his inner psychopath, let me tell you, psychopaths are not on the receiving end of “messages.” People eyeing your throat and feeling the edges of their knives are not moved by kindness.
We did not have to alienate Muslims in the west. All we had to say was, “In view of this intelligence failure in Paris, we are temporarily delaying our admission of Syrian refugees into the US as we re-examine our procedures. In the meantime we are talking with our allies about safe zones.”
That’s it. That’s all Mr. Obama had to say. Instead he took out his shovel and started digging, and Democrats jumped into the hole with him.
Ah, I see now–I haven’t been clear enough. I’ve posted a lot about some reactions being “what IS wants” but that’s been a bit confusing. It’s not IS’ view of our reactions I consider paramount.
What I’m saying isn’t that it matters very much how IS views our reactions, but how other Muslims–both within our countries and in the refugee pool–view our reactions. If they believe they will be unwelcome, if they believe they will be persecuted in non-Muslim countries, it will be that much easier for them to see IS as a viable option. They will move to the “caliphate” because, even with the oppressiveness of IS rule, they will at least be safe.
This is also why Trump talking about closing mosques and issuing special IDs to Muslims is terrible. It creates the impression among a vulnerable population that they have nowhere to go but the waiting arms of the Islamic State.
That’s why I won’t dismiss your idea of “safe areas.” Offering the refugees safety–wherever we (again, collective “we” non-Muslim-majority nations) do so–is what’s important. Giving them an option to go somewhere IS can’t reach them, can’t appeal to their basic survival instinct, is what’s important.
Declare Muslim enclaves in Bosnia a UN protected “safe area.” Send the Dutch in to provide security. The West pays the bills.
Nothing but win.
Meanwhile, thousands of Bosnian refugees were settled in St. Louis. They’re thriving. In our country. It’s awesome.
Seriously? YOU are arguing this point? You more than anyone here instantly boils down Republican opposition to almost anything to bigotry and idiocy. Now when the actual cause of disagreement is bigotry against Middle Easterners and Muslims and ignorance of actual risks you flip the script. It is truly bizarre.
and THAT is the dumbest thing you have ever written. If Daesh didn’t want to provoke a response they wouldn’t support terrorist acts on Western targets. The political reaction out of fear is at the core of the definition of terrorism. It is the f-cking point of the exercise.
a majority of us opposed obamacare too, he didn’t care/listen then either.
Well, aren’t you just adorable. Bless your heart.
@Tyrell: Ya know, I’m willing to bet you that there are more people who gained coverage and doctors that they didn’t have before. But if you think that the fact that you know somebody who claims that Obamacare is a hoax make a pattern of evidence, go ahead with your shibboleth. I’m sure it will convince the gang at the diner anyway.
@bookdragon: Yeah, but we’re not talking about rational people here; we’re talking about conservatives–and apparently Reynolds (which, I have to admit, really surprises me).
Yeah, maybe the unicorns can take them in.
@michael reynolds: Yeah, and if we wish really hard…
The presumptions that you make are breathtaking. Have any examples of this working in the recent past? Among Turks, Iraqis, and Syrians?
@Grewgills: sorry, realists sometimes suck the faux positive energy from the room sometimes.
meanwhile in mali………..reality happens, and the usual suspects are in play.
You are precious. I’m sure your momma loves you.