Survey finds Americans won’t budge on views of border wall; most oppose
(CN) – The federal government shutdown over funding for a border wall has lasted 26 days, the longest in U.S. history, but Americans are not interested in their party making any concession that would end the impasse, according to a Pew Research Center report released Wednesday.
President Donald Trump is refusing to end the partial shutdown unless Congress gives him more than $5 billion to construct a wall or barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border, and Americans who support the wall want the president to stand his ground.
Seventy-two percent of wall supporters told Pew researchers that any effort to end the government shutdown that does not include Trump’s requested border wall funding would be unacceptable.
But among the 58 percent of Americans who are opposed to substantially expanding existing border barriers, 88 percent say it would “not be acceptable” to pass a bill that includes funding for the wall, even if that is the only way to end the shutdown.
The Pew survey of more than 1,500 Americans, conducted between Jan. 9 to 14, found that there is both a wide partisan gap in views of the seriousness of the government shutdown, and a growing partisan divide over the issue of border wall expansion.
While 79 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaners say the government shutdown is a very serious problem for the country, only 35 percent of Republicans agree. Thirty-one percent of Republicans say the shutdown is a “somewhat” serious problem.
Republican support for expanding the border wall has increased from 72 percent to 82 percent over the past year, while Democratic support for the wall has dropped from 13 percent to 6 percent in the same time.
“Republican support for the wall is at a record high, while Democratic support has reached a new low,” according to the Pew report.
Sixty-nine percent of Republicans say that expanding the wall would lead to “a major reduction in illegal immigration into the U.S.,” while 70 percent of Democrats say that an expansion would not do much to curb illegal immigration.
Support for the border wall is more common among Americans who have not graduated from college, and much more common among white citizens than black or Hispanic Americans.
Forty-seven percent of white Americans favor expanding the border wall, while only 20 percent of black Americans and 23 percent of Hispanics favor expansion.
Forty-four percent of Americans with a high school degree or less, and 45 percent with some college completed, favor expansion of the wall, while 32 percent of college graduates and 29 percent of post-grads also favor expansion.
Overall, the American public disapproves of how the nation’s leaders are handling shutdown negotiations. Sixty-one percent of the public disapprove of Trump’s handling of the shutdown, 60 percent disapprove of the way Republican congressional leaders have been handling it, and 53 percent disapprove of the way Democratic congressional leaders have been dealing with the shutdown.