February 19, 2019
NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll Results & Analysis, Border Wall, February 2019
More than six in ten Americans (61%) disapprove of President Donald Trump’s declaration of a national emergency to build a wall along the border between the United States and Mexico. And, a similar 58% do not think there is a national emergency along the border which warrants such an action. Do Americans consider Trump’s declaration to be an appropriate use of his presidential power? A majority (57%) assert the action is a misuse of his authority. 39% say it is a proper use of his presidential power.
“Beyond his base, President Trump has never built a convincing case for the border wall,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “Short of that, it is not surprising that many Americans are not on board with his emergency declaration.”
A sharp partisan divide underscores opinions on this issue. Most Republicans align with President Trump’s action while most Democrats and about six in ten independents oppose it. Notably, more than one in ten Republicans (12%) disapprove of the declaration of a national emergency to build a border wall, do not think there is national emergency (12%), and say it is a misuse (14%) of his executive power.
Americans who supported President Trump in the 2016 presidential election are squarely in the president’s corner. 87% approve of the president’s decision to use the declaration to build the wall. 90% perceive there to be a national emergency along the border, and 87% say the declaration of a national emergency to build the wall is a proper use of presidential power.
Of note, the attitudes of more than two-thirds of white Evangelical Christians are in line with those of President Trump. 67% approve of the national emergency, 70% consider the situation at the border to be a national emergency, and 69% think the declaration is a proper use of Trump’s power. However, more than one in five disapprove of the national emergency (26%), do not think there is a national emergency at the border (22%), and consider Trump’s declaration of a national emergency to build the wall to be an abuse of power (23%).
What do Americans think should happen next? 60% of U.S. residents — including 88% of Democrats, 60% of independents, and even 21% of Republicans — believe President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency to build a wall along the border should be legally challenged in court. 35% of Americans — including 70% of Republicans, 77% of Trump 2016 supporters, and 63% of white evangelical Christians — do not think it should be legally challenged.
A majority of registered voters nationally (54%) report President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency to build a border wall makes them less likely to vote for him in 2020. This includes 85% of Democrats, 55% of independents, and 11% of Republicans. 33% of voters say it makes them more likely to vote for Trump, and 12% report it makes no difference to their vote.