ST. LOUIS — A recent poll by CBS News shows that Americans are nearly evenly divided on President Trump's call to build a wall along the U.S. southern border with Mexico, but with a slight edge of support for a border wall. The same poll found overwhelming support for either deporting or detaining families (including children) who are caught crossing into the United States illegally.
The poll, conducted Thursday and Friday, also showed that more Americans than not also support either detaining or deporting families of illegal aliens.
The poll shows 51% support for building a border wall, even if it means that a complete wall cannot be finished. 48% say that building a wall is, "a bad idea".
CBS News' poll, which was coordinated with YouGov, also found that most Americans are not on the same page as many Democratic candidates on the issue of illegal alien families.
48% of those polled say that the families should be sent back to their original countries, 11% say the parents should be arrested, 4% say the parents should be arrested and their children detained in a separate facility, and 21% say the entire family should be allowed into the U.S. and "report back for a hearing".
Many Democratic politicians and those running for office have pushed emotionally-charged rhetoric over President Trump's "zero-tolerance" immigration policy. The fight over how to handle children who enter the U.S. illegally, but accompanied by an adult claiming to be a parent or family member escalated from Capitol Hill and the White House to social media and rallies around the country during the past week.
Many Trump Administration officials were either directly confronted by angry groups at their homes, as they attempted to have dinner with family, or were told to leave a restaurant because they work for the administration.
However, the poll released by CBS News shows that the groups may not have the amount of support many thought they did, which some political experts say is not a good sign for Democrats heading towards the mid-term elections in November. At the same time Trump's original policy of keeping children separate detention centers has even less support, even though President Obama oversaw the same conditions with little media scrutiny, but his latest calls to deport families without hearings does have major support among the voters.
The poll has a margin of error of 2.6%.
In the meantime, Gallup published the results of a more basic poll on immigration, which asked respondents who they felt about "immigration" and then "legal immigration". The Gallup poll made no mention of "illegal immigration" and did not appear to mention the family issue, as the poll was conducted June 1-13, before the story built momentum nationally. The Gallup poll has a margin of error of 3%. Gallup's latest poll on Trump's overall support showed that he gained about 5% support since the end of May.