Voters split on need for 'security barrier' on southern border, oppose 'a wall': poll

Voters split on need for 'security barrier' on southern border, oppose 'a wall': poll
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Voters are divided about whether the United States should build "a security barrier" along the southern border, though more oppose building "a wall."

The Harvard CAPS/Harris poll released exclusively to The Hill on Tuesday found that registered voters are split when asked whether they "support building a security barrier on the Mexican border," with 51 percent opposing it and 49 percent supporting it.

Trump has said there’s a “crisis” at the border and called for $5.7 billion in funding to build a wall, but Democrats have refused to provide funding for that purpose, leading to the longest government shutdown in US history.


But voters are more opposed to the idea of "building a wall on the Mexican border," with 55 percent opposing it and 45 percent supporting one.

Meanwhile, Trump is enduring the brunt of the blame for the shutdown — 51 percent of registered voters say he bears the most responsibility. Twenty-four percent believe Trump and Congress are equally responsible for the shutdown, while 21 percent say it falls on congressional Democrats.

“The public blames Trump for the shutdown, but support for the wall has been edging up and there are no real winners with Trumps approval rating holding steady and Pelosi and Schumer being widely disliked,” said Mark Penn, co-director of Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll.

But crucially, more than three-quarters — 76 percent — of voters believe that Trump and congressional lawmakers should compromise to end the shutdown. Meanwhile, nearly a quarter — 24 percent — believe both sides should “stick to their principles.”

The Senate will hold votes on Thursday for two dueling bills that would reopen the government.

One of the votes will be on Trump’s proposal to provide$5.7 billion in border wall funding in exchange for a three-year extension of protected status for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders.

The other would be a vote on a three-week continuing resolution (CR), which would reopen the government and continue negotiations between the parties on border security.

It's unclear if either bill will reach the 60 votes needed to advance.

“The majority of the country is behind a compromise of boarder security plus help for DACA recipients,” Penn said. “I believe whoever is seen as compromising will be the winner.”

The Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll online survey of 1,540 registered voters was conducted from Jan. 15 to 16.

The Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll is a collaboration of the Center for American Political Studies at Harvard University and The Harris Poll. The Hill will be working with Harvard/Harris Poll throughout 2019.

Full poll results will be posted online later this week. The Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll survey is an online sample drawn from the Harris Panel and weighted to reflect known demographics. As a representative online sample, it does not report a probability confidence interval.