The White House moved up the president’s announcement that he was nominating Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court by two days, possibly to distract from the firestorm of criticism over his chaotic rollout of his refugee policy.
But maybe the White House didn’t have to worry.
New polls show the policy may not be as unpopular as all those protests over the weekend suggested.
Here are 3 things to consider when it comes to the politics surrounding the president’s executive order:
1. What little polling there is seems to confirm the White House’s confidence
At the White House on Wednesday, press secretary Sean Spicer was happy to point to polls that showed support for the president’s order. Spicer singled out a Rasmussen poll, showing 57 percent of Americans favored a “temporary ban on refugees from Syria.”
Rasmusssen is hardly considered a reliable and well-conducted poll. But Spicer also pointed to a Reuters poll, conducted with more traditional methods by Ipsos, which showed 66 percent of Americans agreeing with the statement “the U.S. should limit refugees” (which it already does).
Those numbers sound like solid support for the administration’s position. After all, securing the border and protecting citizens from the threat of terrorism is what most Americans expect from their government but …
2. There’s lots more in those polls
Dig deeper into that Reuters poll, and you’ll see something else:
When you ask people if they agree or disagree with “Trump’s order,” 49 percent agree, 41 percent oppose.
That’s good for the White House. But when Reuters asked should the U.S. show a preference for Christian refugees (as the president has suggested), 56 percent say no.
And, in perhaps the most important finding, the country is — no surprise — very divided by party over this order —
- 53 percent of Democrats say they strongly disagreed with Trump’s action;
- 51 percent of Republicans say they strongly agreed.
So once again, Trump has jumped into an issue both feet first that has deep partisan divides. This approach worked for him during…