The Democrats have tried to paint a picture of President Donald Trump as a madman who is manufacturing a crisis on the southern border and a government shutdown to serve his own ends. Illegal immigration is nothing to worry about, they lament. However, a recent YouGov/Economist poll shows that the American people disagree.
Of the people surveyed, 62% agree with the president on illegal immigration. Only 7% of the respondents say that people arriving illegally over the border is “not a problem.” Despite this, the survey shows that Trump may not be gaining the optics he had hoped for when he decided to make a grand push for a border wall and refused to accept the budget proposed by Congress.
Legal Immigration Okay
Do these numbers mean that Americans are a bunch of xenophobes? According to the same poll, most don’t mind immigration if it’s done legally. A third of people want to keep the current rate and a quarter want to increase it. Only a quarter want to reduce legal immigration.
The U.S. spends more on foreign aid to Afghanistan alone every year than the proposed budget for the wall.
This means that most people who see illegal crossings as a serious problem don’t mind immigrants who are vetted and who enter the country on a visa.
When it comes to the ongoing dispute over the status of the wall, the people appear to assign roughly equal blame to the president and the Democrats, although Trump gets the bulk of it. Most Americans don’t want or like a government shutdown – 62% want the parties to come together and find a solution, while 61% said they want a president who compromises to get things done.
Overall trust in the government and the respective parties is low. Only 34% think the country is heading in the right direction. The survey results leaves an impression of a deeply polarized populace with a large segment being highly uncomfortable with the tone and level of agitation in politics.
Although half the respondents say that they have consumed “a lot” of news about the government shutdown, their proposed solutions strongly suggest that the Republicans and Trump have failed to convince Americans that the underlying cause for the budget disagreement is unreasonableness from the Democratic leadership. According to 40% of respondents, Trump should accept the original $1.8 billion offered to him for border security, but 24% say that the Democrats should approve the president’s request and fund the wall fully. Only 19% say they should meet somewhere in between.
What the voters have been missing is that $5 billion is nothing, relatively speaking. The amount barely registers as a blip or rounding error in the federal budget. The real story is not that there is a big disagreement over spending. The military budget alone is in the order of $600 billion. The U.S. spends more on foreign aid to Afghanistan alone every year than the proposed budget for the wall.
The issue has never been money. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has said that she would not give any amount for the wall. She declared the wall to be “immoral.” Thus, most Americans have failed to realize that the debacle has nothing to do with money, and no amount of compromise on the figure can bring about an agreement.
The president probably understood that he was losing the media war on what the government shutdown was all about, and that might be why he gave his primetime Oval Office address, much to the consternation of the leftist media.
Whether the speech changed any minds remains to be seen.