Margaret Talev, Bloomberg, November 18, 2015
Most Americans want the U.S. to stop letting in Syrian refugees amid fears of terrorist infiltrations after the Paris attacks, siding with Republican presidential candidates, governors, and lawmakers who want to freeze the Obama administration’s resettlement program.
The findings are part of a Bloomberg Politics national poll released Wednesday that also shows the nation divided on whether to send U.S. troops to Iraq and Syria to fight the Islamic State, an idea President Barack Obama opposes, and whether the U.S. government is doing enough to protect the homeland from a comparable attack.
Fifty-three percent of U.S. adults in the survey, conducted in the days immediately following the attacks, say the nation should not continue a program to resettle up to 10,000 Syrian refugees. Just 28 percent would keep the program with the screening process as it now exists, while 11 percent said they would favor a limited program to accept only Syrian Christians while excluding Muslims, a proposal Obama has dismissed as “shameful” and un-American.
Terror in general, and specifically ISIS, the group that claimed responsibility for last week’s attacks, are cited by a combined 35 percent of Americans as the top issue in the survey conducted Nov. 15-17. That’s about the same as concerns about jobs, immigration, health care and the federal deficit combined. ISIS alone is the top issue for 21 percent of Americans, up from 11 percent in September. Terrorism is the top issue for 14 percent, up from 7 percent two months ago.
Despite ongoing tensions between the U.S. and Russia, 53 percent of Americans favor a U.S.-Russia military coalition to fight Islamic terrorism.