3. Americans seem OK with lowering the number of refugees accepted by the U.S., but outright bans are not likely to be popular.
Americans think the U.S. accepts too many refugees, whether Syrian refugees specifically or all refugees. In July 2016, when the U.S.’s goal was to allow 10,000 Syrian refugees in per year, an Associated Press/GfK Knowledge Networks poll found that 53 percent of Americans thought the U.S. should allow fewer Syrian refugees to enter the country. Only 11 percent thought we should accept more, and 33 percent thought that level was about right.
But the same Marist poll showed a full Syrian refugee ban was less popular. More Americans (49 percent) thought we should continue our current policy for Syrian refugees than institute a temporary ban (43 percent). And according to a CBS News survey from October, 61 percent of respondents said the “U.S. should allow refugees from Syria into the United States as long as they go through a security clearance process.”
A September 2015 NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, meanwhile, gave respondents four choices: whether to take in more Syrian refugees, fewer refugees, maintain the 10,000-refugee policy, or take in no Syrian refugees at all. Only 24 percent of respondents selected no refugees. However, this number increased to 38 percent in a December, 2015 version of the poll after the terror attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California. While a total ban on Syrian refugees is unlikely to be popular, therefore, opinion about it could ebb and flow based on the extent to which Trump is able to tie his policy to terrorism concerns.