It’s no secret that the Republicans’ latest effort to get the country to pay its fair share for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is deeply unpopular.
Now, as the Trump administration prepares to begin selling off billions in American military and other assets to pay for a border wall, a new poll finds that Americans have more pressing concerns about the budget, race relations, and immigration.
The Washington Post-ABC News poll of 1,017 adults conducted Monday through Wednesday finds that 52 percent of Americans have no trust in the administration to deliver on its promise to “make America great again,” while 37 percent have no confidence in the president.
And when it comes to immigration reform, only 23 percent of those polled trust the president’s handling of the issue, while 71 percent are dissatisfied.
It’s not clear whether those sentiments will translate into support for a new border wall in the form of a physical barrier, a “virtual” border fence, or a combination of the two.
Trump’s border wall idea has drawn support from Republicans who have long been opposed to such a measure.
“We’re not going to spend any money on a wall,” said Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., in March.
“If we don’t get it done, we’ll pay for it.”
But the poll results suggest that the White House is not taking this approach seriously.
When asked which way they view the administration’s handling on border security, 49 percent of respondents said that the administration should be more proactive, while 45 percent said the opposite.
Only 14 percent said they were not sure, and 9 percent did not respond.
And the president has made it clear that he will not fund the wall without support from Congress, suggesting that he would rather use his leverage over Republicans in Congress to pressure Congress into approving the border wall than have to make that commitment himself.
The poll results indicate that the Trump-GOP strategy of trying to force the administration into a political corner on immigration could backfire.
When the pollsters asked whether Americans would be less likely to vote for the Republican Party in a midterm election if the party did not pass a bill to pass the border security wall, 56 percent said that they would be more likely to defect to the Democrats, while 38 percent said it would be the reverse.
But when the question was posed in the context of how many people support Trump’s plan to spend $1 trillion to build a border fence and to pay the costs of a border security fence, only 40 percent said there would be fewer voters who would vote for Republicans in a House election in the 2020 midterm elections.
The fact that the president seems willing to go the extra mile to force a vote on a border barrier suggests that his political leverage could be just as effective as his rhetoric.
If the border barrier becomes a legislative priority, the poll suggests that he could be more successful in pushing Republicans to support the bill.
It is not known how many Americans support the border fence.
The survey was conducted from March 18 to 20 among 1,015 adults and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.