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Monmouth University Polling Institute

Public Balks at Trump Muslim Proposal

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

But most say the government not doing enough to protect US

West Long Branch, NJ – Donald Trump’s proposal to ban Muslims from entering the US receives little public support in to the latest national Monmouth University Poll.  In fact, more Americans believe that radicalized US citizens pose a greater threat than terrorists who infiltrate our borders.  At the same time, a majority support sending US ground troops to the Middle East to fight ISIS.

Few Americans (32%) believe the US government is doing enough to prevent a future terrorist attack on American soil, while 59% say it is not doing enough.  The public was more divided in January, when 44% said the government was doing enough and 49% said it was not.  However, they are not persuaded by a number of proposals put forth in recent weeks to stop such attacks.

Donald Trump’s proposal to ban all Muslims from entering the United States generates little support, even among his fellow Republicans.  Just 26% of Americans are in favor of this idea while 67% are opposed.  Majorities of Democrats (83%), independents (64%), and Republicans (52%) oppose such a ban.  In fact, only those voters who specifically support Trump for the GOP nomination favor such a ban (61% to 29% opposed).  Among other Republicans and Republican-leaning voters, nearly 2-in-3 (65%) oppose a ban on Muslims entering the country, with only 26% in favor.

At the same time, most Republicans are glad that Trump is raising this issue.  Overall just 39% of Americans feel Trump is saying things that need to be said while 48% say he is making things worse.  Among Republicans, 68% agree that Trump should speak out on this, including 92% of Trump supporters and 50% of Republican voters who support another candidate for their party’s presidential nomination.

Few Americans (32%) would like to see Trump run as an independent if he fails to win the GOP nomination, while 61% say he should not.  This sentiment runs across all partisan groups.  Few independents (34%) and Democrats (29%) would like to see Trump mount an independent candidacy.  A similar number of Republicans (35%) would like to see Trump run as an independent.  However, there is a sharp divide among voters who already support Trump – 60% of whom would like to see him mount an independent bid if he does not secure the nomination – and Republican voters who do not support Trump – 80% of whom think he should call it a day if his nomination quest fails. 

“Trump may have made headlines with his proposal, but public support is largely limited to those voters who already back him for the GOP nomination.  He does not appear to have generated independent voter support that will be crucial in a general election campaign,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, NJ.

The poll also found that Americans are more likely to oppose rather than support a couple of other anti-terrorism proposals.  This includes profiling possible terror suspects based on ethnicity or religion (43% support and 48% oppose) and preventing Syrian refugees from entering the US (42% support and 50% oppose).  Republicans, though, support both the profiling (65%) and Syrian refugee (62%) proposals.

More Americans believe that US citizens who become radicalized (46%) pose a greater threat of attacks on US soil than terrorists from overseas who infiltrate the country (36%).  Only Republicans are nominally more likely to feel that non-US terrorists (43%) present a greater threat of future attacks than homegrown terrorists (38%).

“After San Bernardino, perhaps the public feels that measures to limit immigration would have little impact,” said Murray.

Just over 3-in-4 (78%) Americans say that the Islamic State terrorist group, or ISIS, is a major threat to national security.  Another 15% say it is a minor threat and just 4% say ISIS poses no threat.  These results are basically unchanged from January when 75% felt ISIS posed a major threat to US security, 19% a minor threat and 3% no threat.  Republicans (92%) are more likely than independents (76%) and Democrats (70%) to see ISIS as a major threat.

Two-thirds (68%) of the public feel the US government is not doing enough to defeat ISIS.  Just 24% say it is. Those who say the US is not doing enough includes 85% of Republicans, 69% of independents, and 51% of Democrats.

A 57% majority of Americans support sending US ground troops to the Middle East to fight ISIS, while 37% are opposed.  Majorities of Republicans (75%) and independents (58%) support the deployment of ground troops, but only 40% of Democrats agree.

In fact, a plurality (47%) believes that ISIS can be defeated only with US combat troops.  Another 25% say that ISIS can be defeated without US forces being on the ground, but 19% believe ISIS cannot be stopped even with a US military presence.  Interestingly, more Americans felt that ISIS was unstoppable at the beginning of the year (32%) than do today (19%).  In January, 45% said US troops were needed to stop ISIS and 17% said ISIS could be stopped without American forces.

The Monmouth University Poll also found that Pres. Barack Obama’s job rating has slipped in the past two months.  It now stands at 40% approve and 51% disapprove, compared to a more positive 47% approve and 45% disapprove in October.  Congress’s job rating remains in the gutter at 16% approve and 73% disapprove.

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone from December 10 to 13, 2015 with 1,006 adults in the United States.   This sample has a margin of error of ± 3.1 percent.  The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, NJ.

 

The questions referred to in this release are as follows:                       

1.      Do you approve or disapprove of the job Barack Obama is doing as president?

2.      Do you approve or disapprove of the job the U.S. Congress is doing?

3.      A question about the Islamic State terrorist group, known as ISIL or ISIS, which is active in the Middle East right now.  Is ISIS a major threat, a minor threat, or not a threat to U.S. security?

4.      Do you think the U.S. government is doing enough or not doing enough to defeat ISIS?

5.      Regardless of whether you support or oppose having troops in the Middle East, do you think that the ISIS terrorist group can be stopped without having U.S. combat troops involved, can be stopped only if U.S. combat troops are involved, or cannot be stopped even if U.S. combat troops are involved?

6.      Do you think the U.S. government is doing enough or not doing enough to prevent a future terrorist attack on American soil?

7.      Which do you think poses a bigger threat of future attacks on U.S. soil – [CHOICES WERE ROTATED] terrorists from overseas who infiltrate the country or U.S. citizens who become radicalized?

8.      Please tell me whether you support or oppose each of the following: [ITEMS WERE ROTATED]

         Sending U.S. ground troops to the Middle East to fight ISIS

         Passing a law to prevent Syrian refugees from entering the U.S.

         Profiling possible terror suspects based on ethnicity or religion

         Banning all Muslims from entering the U.S.

9.      Have you heard or read anything about Donald Trump’s proposal to ban all Muslims from being able to enter the U.S., or not?

10.    Do you think Trump is saying things that need to be said or is he making things worse?

11.    If Donald Trump does not win the Republican nomination for president, do you think he should run as an independent, or not?

The Monmouth University Poll was sponsored and conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute from December 10 to 13, 2015 with a national random sample of 1,006 adults age 18 and older.  This includes 654 contacted by a live interviewer on a landline telephone and 352 contacted by a live interviewer on a cell phone, in English.  Monmouth is responsible for all aspects of the survey design, data weighting and analysis. Final sample is weighted for region, age, education, gender and race based on US Census information.  Data collection support provided by Braun Research (field) and SSI (RDD sample).  For results based on this sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling has a maximum margin of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points (unadjusted for sample design).  Sampling error can be larger for sub-groups (see table below).  In addition to sampling error, one should bear in mind that question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of opinion polls.

Click on pdf file link below for full methodology and results by key demographic groups.

Download this Poll Report with all tables

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- Monmouth University Polling Institute