Perhaps the most well-known component of the Trump presidential campaign – and certainly that garnering the most media attention – is the Republican candidate’s plan to construct a massive wall along the U.S. southern border with Mexico to prevent immigrants from Latin America from entering the United States. Trump met with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto for an impromptu visit last week to discuss U.S. – Mexico relations, just hours prior to delivering a policy speech in Arizona predicated upon immigration reform. However, despite the attention Trump’s plans for mass deportations and a 2,000-mile wall have attracted, an important question has been paid little mind: how does the public feel about all of this?
According to the most recent CNN/ORC poll – the very poll that depicted Trump leading Clinton by two percentage points in a four-way race – Trump’s plans are wildly unpopular among the American public. Roughly 60% of respondents oppose the construction of a border wall, and a whopping 74% say that it’s unlikely Mexico would pay for the barrier, as Trump has suggested time and time again.
Additionally, nearly two-thirds of those surveyed stand in opposition to Trump’s plans for mass deportations. Even among Trump supporters, 45% do not support plans to deport all people living within the country illegally – a policy that Trump’s campaign has softened in recent weeks.
Despite these figures, however, there is still a narrow divide among voters over which candidate is best fit to address America’s immigration policy. CNN breaks it down as follows: “Among registered voters, 49% say they trust Clinton on the issue, 47% Trump. Those who trust Clinton on immigration overwhelmingly say the nation's top immigration priority should be finding a way for those in the country illegally to stay (71%), while the Trump backers are more focused on stopping people from entering the country illegally (56%).”
This discrepancy between priorities will inevitably be a point of contention between Trump and Clinton on the debate stage.
Despite the unpopularity of Trump’s immigration reform proposals, this does not appear to be affecting his poll numbers as much as recent revelations over Clinton’s email scandal have been affecting hers. Her eight-point lead over Trump has shifted into a two-point deficit in a little over one month, suggesting that media coverage of the way Clinton Foundation donors were granted easier access to State Department meetings and the fact that Clinton’s team has permanently misplaced 13 cellular devices containing potentially damning conversations is taking a large toll on her national polling.
Are you shocked by the public polling on Trump’s immigration policies?