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Poll: Americans Divided Along Party Lines About Arab Refugees


FILE - A group of migrants prepare to leave for a different camp, at a makeshift camp for refugees and migrants at the Greek-Macedonian border near the village of Idomeni, Greece, May 11, 2016.

FILE - A group of migrants prepare to leave for a different camp, at a makeshift camp for refugees and migrants at the Greek-Macedonian border near the village of Idomeni, Greece, May 11, 2016.

One day after a mass shooting killed 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump reiterated his support for a plan to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the United States.

At a campaign rally in New Hampshire Monday, Trump promised his supporters that, if elected, he would use the executive powers to "suspend immigration from areas of the world where there is a proven history of terrorism against the United States, Europe or our allies, until we fully understand how to end these threats."

Although the suspected Orlando shooter, Omar Mateen, was an American citizen, Trump suggested immigrants from the Middle East can come to the U.S. and radicalize people who are already here, or work to convince them online.

"The media talks about homegrown terrorism," Trump said. "But Islamic radicalism ... and the networks that nurture it are imports from overseas whether you like it or don't like it."

Poll on opinions on refugees from the Brookings Institution.

Poll on opinions on refugees from the Brookings Institution.

Middle Eastern countries

Refugees and immigrants from conflict ridden Middle Eastern countries like Syria, Iraq and Libya could "be a better, bigger more horrible version than the legendary Trojan horse ever was," Trump said.

But a recent Brookings Institution survey found Americans are far more welcoming of refugees than the billionaire candidate. Of those surveyed, 59 percent support accepting refugees, while 41 percent oppose it.

Those views are split right down party lines, with just 38 percent of Republicans supporting taking in refugees from Syria and the Middle East, compared to 77 percent of Democrats. But among Trump supporters, an overwhelming 77 percent said they oppose taking in refugees.

The Obama administration has set a goal of admitting as many as 10,000 Syrian refugees to the United States by the fall.Respondents of the surveys also were sharply divided on whether they would be willing to accept refugees from Syria in particular, with 61 percent of Republicans saying the U.S. should not accept Syrian refugees, compared to 27 percent of Democrats.

Trump supporters again overwhelmingly opposed accepting Syrian refugees, with 52 percent of them citing fear of terrorism as their biggest concern.

Refugees in the US

An overwhelming majority of those surveyed said Americans should welcome the refugees already in the country and help absorb them into society. But 21 percent said the Syrian refugees currently in the U.S. should be expelled.

Trump supporters favored expulsion by 67 percent, compared with 10 percent of Clinton supporters.

The survey also asked respondents if they support "a total shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on," as proposed by the Republican front-runner.

Among Trump's supporters, 80 percent backed the initiative. Only 14 percent of Clinton supporters did the same.

The survey was conducted by Brookings scholar and University of Maryland professor Shibley Telhami between May 20-31.

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