There’s been a fairly steady drumbeat of headlines through the month of June proclaiming that Donald Trump has slipped, fallen behind or wasted the first six weeks of the general election. But every time terrorism raises its ugly head again, the Democrats tend to take a beating and it appears that the Orlando attack was no exception. A new poll from Morning Consult shows that Trump is trusted slightly more than Hillary Clinton when it comes to keeping the nation safe against the threat of Islamic terrorists by a plurality of 41-37 percent.
What’s perhaps more interesting in this survey is one of The Donald’s “least popular” ideas: the temporary ban on Muslim travel or immigration to the United States. This proposal has been condemned by Democrats, Republicans and media mavens alike. You’re hard pressed to find anyone willing to stand within shouting distance of a camera and say they agree with him. Now, I still have no idea how such a thing would work in practice unless someone has come up with a Muslim DNA test I haven’t heard about, but our media and political thought leaders might not be on the same page as the rest of the country.
Following the Orlando shooting, Trump reiterated his call for a temporary ban on Muslims traveling to the U.S. Overall, Americans are largely split on the idea. Almost half (48 percent) said they support a ban, 40 percent said they oppose and 11 percent said they didn’t know or had no opinion.
There is a major divide on this issue along party lines. Almost half of Republicans (49 percent) said they strongly support this proposal, compared with 26 percent of independents and 16 percent of Democrats.
That’s only two points short of a majority supporting a Muslim travel ban. When respondents were given more specific choices in terms of banning travel from particular nations, the numbers shifted even more in Trump’s favor.
Despite all the “conventional wisdom” coming from cable news talking heads, you can find majorities of Americans who are in favor of banning travel and immigration from six majority Muslim nations. Syria and Iraq are at the top of the list for obvious reasons, being the homeland of ISIS, but Afghanistan, Pakistan and Libya aren’t far behind. Even Saudi Arabia pulls majority support for a ban which is a bit more puzzling.
The really strange numbers in the chart come from the lower end of the list. There’s now a plurality in favor of banning all immigration from Mexico. (Understandable, I suppose, with all of the criminal illegal alien news regularly coming our way.) But… Belgium? Shutting off the flow from Belgium garnered support from nearly a third of respondents. But the real shocker was that almost one quarter were in favor of banning immigrants from… Canada. I’m not sure if that one is based on a concern over terrorists coming in across the northern border, a general “just close all the damn borders” attitude or healthy number of folks who still choose to Blame Canada. I would just remind the 23% who chose that option that if we ban immigration from Canada, they may turn around and do the same to us. And Lena Dunham has promised to move there if Trump wins. If they impose a ban on us we may be stuck with her, so that’s something you might want to take into consideration.
Either way, the numbers remain pretty clear, and this isn’t the first time we’ve seen it. For all the talk about xenophobia, isolationism, nationalism and all the rest, Americans aren’t listening to the scolding coming from the talking heads on their TV screens. There is understandable angst over a continued flow of people arriving here from locations which are being ripped apart by terrorism and Trump has tapped into that national sense of concern.