Americans are sharply divided over President Donald Trump's order to temporarily block US entry for all refugees and citizens of seven Muslim countries, with more approving the measure than disapproving, according new opinion poll.
The 30 to 31 January poll found that 49 per cent of American adults said they either “strongly” or “somewhat” agreed with Mr Trump's order, while 41 per cent “strongly” or “somewhat” disagreed and another 10 per cent said they don't know.
But the responses were split almost entirely along party lines. Some 53 percent of Democrats said they “strongly disagree” with Mr Trump's action while 51 per cent of Republicans said they “strongly agree.”
Mr Trump's executive order banned refugees from entering the United States for 120 days, and it placed an indefinite hold on Syrian refugees. It also blocked citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
The president, who campaigned on a promise to bring what he called “extreme vetting” to the nation's immigration system, said the order he signed on Friday was meant to protect the country and its borders. “This is not a Muslim ban,” he said.
But confusion over who was covered by Mr Trump's order left travellers, airlines and foreign governments scrambling to get clarity from US officials, many of whom were also bewildered.
The Reuters/Ipsos poll found 31 per cent of Americans feel “more safe” because of the ban, compared with 26 per cent who said they felt “less safe.” Some 38 per cent said they felt the United States was setting “a good example” of how best to confront terrorism, while 41 per cent said the country was setting “a bad example.”
The controversial orders Donald Trump has already issued
The controversial orders Donald Trump has already issued
1/9 Trump and the media
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer takes questions during the daily press briefing
2/9 Trump and the Trans-Pacific Partnership
Union leaders applaud US President Donald Trump for signing an executive order withdrawing the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations during a meeting in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington DC. Mr Trump issued a presidential memorandum in January announcing that the US would withdraw from the trade deal
3/9 Trump and the Mexico wall
A US Border Patrol vehicle sits waiting for illegal immigrants at a fence opening near the US-Mexico border near McAllen, Texas. The number of incoming immigrants has surged ahead of the upcoming Presidential inauguration of Donald Trump, who has pledged to build a wall along the US-Mexico border. A signature campaign promise, Mr Trump outlined his intention to build a border wall on the US-Mexico border days after taking office
4/9 Trump and abortion
US President Donald Trump signs an executive order as Chief of Staff Reince Priebus looks on in the Oval Office of the White House. Mr Trump reinstated a ban on American financial aide being granted to non-governmental organizations that provide abortion counseling, provide abortion referrals, or advocate for abortion access outside of the United States
5/9 Trump and the Dakota Access pipeline
Opponents of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines hold a rally as they protest US President Donald Trump's executive orders advancing their construction, at Columbus Circle in New York. US President Donald Trump signed executive orders reviving the construction of two controversial oil pipelines, but said the projects would be subject to renegotiation
6/9 Trump and 'Obamacare'
Nancy Pelosi who is the minority leader of the House of Representatives speaks beside House Democrats at an event to protect the Affordable Care Act in Los Angeles, California. US President Donald Trump's effort to make good on his campaign promise to repeal and replace the healthcare law failed when Republicans failed to get enough votes. Mr Trump has promised to revisit the matter
7/9 Donald Trump and 'sanctuary cities'
US President Donald Trump signed an executive order in January threatening to pull funding for so-called "sanctuary cities" if they do not comply with federal immigration law
8/9 Trump and the travel ban
US President Donald Trump has attempted twice to restrict travel into the United States from several predominantly Muslim countries. The first attempt, in February, was met with swift opposition from protesters who flocked to airports around the country. That travel ban was later blocked by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The second ban was blocked by a federal judge a day before it was scheduled to be implemented in mid-March
SANDY HUFFAKER/AFP/Getty Images
9/9 Trump and climate change
US President Donald Trump sought to dismantle several of his predecessor's actions on climate change in March. His order instructed the Environmental Protection Agency to reevaluate the Clean Power Plan, which would cap power plant emissions
Democrats were more than three times as likely as Republicans to say that the “US should continue to take in immigrants and refugees,” and Republicans were more than three times as likely as Democrats to agree that “banning people from Muslim countries is necessary to prevent terrorism.”
Most Americans, however, don't think the country should show a preference for Christian refugees, as Mr Trump has suggested. Some 56 per cent, including 72 per cent of Democrats and 45 per cent of Republicans, disagreed that the country should “welcome Christian refugees, but not Muslim ones.”
At the weekend, protesters swarmed major US airports where some immigrants had been temporarily detained because of the order. Legislators, including some from Mr Trump's Republican Party, denounced the decision as discriminatory and counterproductive for national security.
More than a dozen state attorneys general said they would work together to fight the order, and the top federal government lawyer, Sally Yates, was fired after she refused to defend it.
The Reuters/Ipsos poll was conducted online in English in all 50 states. It gathered poll responses from 1,201 people including 453 Democrats and 478 Republicans. It has a credibility interval, a measure of accuracy, of 3 percentage points for the entire sample and 5 percentage points for the Democrats and the Republicans.