By Jon Reid
January 30, 2017 at 1:43 pm ET
President Donald Trump’s executive order on Friday that halts immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries contains provisions consistent with a campaign pledge to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the United States. Last month, voters, especially millennials, were skeptical he would act on that kind of plan.
A Morning Consult/POLITICO poll conducted Dec. 1 through Dec. 2 found that half of registered voters age 18 to 29 didn’t think Trump would temporarily ban Muslims from entering the country, whereas a plurality of respondents age 30 and up thought he would.
Overall, 42 percent of voters thought he would institute the ban, compared with 35 percent who thought he wouldn’t.
The Trump administration denies that the executive order constitutes a “Muslim ban,” even though it prohibits citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States for 90 days. It also blocks all refugees from U.S. entry for 120 days, while banning Syrian refugees indefinitely. The order, which does not mention any religion by name, says U.S. immigration officials will prioritize religious minorities when considering which refugees to allow into the United States.
Broken down by party, most Republican voters (51 percent) in December said Trump would ban Muslims, while a plurality of Democrats (43 percent) said he wouldn’t. Thirty-seven percent of independents thought Trump would implement a ban, while 33 percent said he wouldn’t.
The weekend protests of the executive order caught the attention of former President Barack Obama, who was “heartened by the level of engagement” from Americans, his spokesman, Kevin Lewis, said Monday.
“Citizens exercising their Constitutional right to assemble, organize and have their voices heard by their elected officials is exactly what we expect to see when Americans values are at stake,” Lewis said.
Reiterating what Obama has said before, Lewis added, “The President fundamentally disagrees with the notion of discriminating against individuals because of their faith or religion.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Monday he would call for a vote on legislation that evening to overturn the order. The vote is expected to be blocked by the Republican majority. In floor remarks on Monday afternoon, the New York Democrat said the order paints “the United States as a country at war with all of Islam” and “feeds right into the perception ISIS and other extremists want to create.”
“Eleven of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle have expressed reservations already,” Schumer said, noting that some GOP lawmakers have criticized the order. “I urge them and others to back up the words with action. Let’s repeal the order, and then sit down and thoughtfully and carefully construct a better way to keep our country safe from terrorism.”
A Morning Consult poll conducted Aug. 16 through Aug. 17 showed that 59 percent of voters, as well as 52 percent of foreign-born U.S. citizens, said they strongly or somewhat supported temporarily banning immigration from all countries with a history of terrorism “until the vetting process can be fixed.”
Another Morning Consult survey, conducted June 15 through June 18, found 56 percent of registered voters supported a temporary ban on U.S. immigration for citizens of Syria, and 55 percent supported blocking Iraqis. Fifty-three percent of voters supported stopping immigration from Libya, one of the seven countries listed on Trump’s executive order last week.
The June poll showed that 80 percent of Republicans supported banning immigration to the United States from Syria, followed by 76 percent backing a similar ban on Iraqi immigration and 75 percent supporting a ban on Libyan immigrants.
About half of independent voters in June supported a travel ban on Libyans (54 percent), Iraqis (53 percent) and Syrians (50 percent). Democrats were the least likely to support bans on immigrants from those countries. Forty-one percent supported a travel ban on Iraqis, 39 percent supported a ban on Syrians and 33 percent backed a ban on Libyans.
Eli Yokley contributed.