Build it high, build it far, build it fast. But build it.
You know who agrees with me on that? Everyone. Yes, even Hispanics.
Democrats split 44/43 in favor, the closest any group comes to outright opposition. Every demographic tested, be it sex, age, race, party ID, household income, or region, tilts towards supporting a wall, with no group besides Dems less than 10 points net in favor. Black voters have an outright majority of 55 percent behind the idea. Two words, my friends: President Trump.
There’s an obvious caveat, though. YouGov framed this issue in its most basic terms, asking, “Do you support or oppose building a fence on the border with Mexico?” If you’re a lefty pollster eager to produce a more sour response, there are various ways you could tweak that question. A substantive way would be to include the price tag: “Do you support or oppose building a fence on the border with Mexico that will cost many billions of dollars while the United States is running large budget deficits?” Another is to emphasize logistical complications: “Do you support or oppose building a fence on the border with Mexico even though many stretches of land are considered unfenceable or held by private owners?” Still another would be to tug the heartstrings: “Would you support or oppose building a fence on the border with Mexico knowing that it would increase the risk of death for immigrants trying to enter the U.S. illegally?” I’m actually surprised YouGov resisted the urge to put a thumb on the scale by opting instead for a question that relies entirely on the respondent’s knowledge of the border fence. Plenty of polls about the Iran deal, by contrast, have framed it in rosy terms, not mentioning that the deal expires in 15 years or that Iran will be allowed to inspect itself for violations to some degree. And even so, the polling on the deal has been terrible. Imagine how much worse it could be.
Anyway. Despite the strong support for the fence here, I think most border hawks would tolerate substituting other security measures so long as they proved effective in reducing illegal immigration. The fence is mainly symbolic: We can argue over how many illegals it would actually deter but we can’t dispute that it would demonstrate in an unusually (and literally) concrete way that the federal government really does want to reduce the flow of illegals across the border. That’s the most basic disconnect between the GOP base and its leadership in Washington. It’s not simply that Boehner and McConnell have done a bad job of getting illegal immigration under control, it’s that no one believes they even want to. Getting them to build the fence is a test of that commitment. And Trump, the builder, knows it, which is why it’s such a key part of his anti-amnesty pitch.