Poll: Voters support allowing Syrian refugees

A majority of voters now support admitting refugees from Syria into the United States, a reversal from a year-and-a-half ago, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday.

Fifty-seven percent of registered voters support accepting Syrian refugees into the country, the poll shows, while only 38 percent oppose accepting refugees from the war-torn, Middle Eastern nation.

The last time Quinnipiac asked the question, in December 2015, just 43 percent supporting accepting refugees from Syria, while a 51-percent majority opposed allowing them to come to the U.S.

The new survey was conducted April 12-18, shortly after an apparent chemical attack on areas of northwestern Syria that the U.S. and its allies assert was conducted by forces of Bashar Assad’s government. President Donald Trump ordered airstrikes on a Syrian airfield in response on April 6.

Support for accepting refugees still splits largely along party lines. The vast majority of self-identified Democratic voters, 86 percent, support accepting refugees. Among GOP voters, just 23 percent supporting accepting refugees, while 73 percent oppose them. Independent voters back admitting refugees, 58 percent to 37 percent.

There is a gender gap: Men back admitting Syrian refugees by a 9-point margin, 52 percent to 43 percent. But female voters support accepting refugees by a 30-point margin: 62 percent to 32 percent.

White voters overall back Syrian refugees, 55 percent to 40 percent. But there is a sizable gap by educational attainment: College graduates back allowing refugees by 33 points, 64 percent to 31 percent. But half of white voters without a college degree oppose allowing refugees, compared to 46 percent who supporting admitting them.

Poll results released Wednesday showed support for the decision to bomb the Syrian airfield: 61 percent of voters say it was the right decision, while only 31 percent said it was the wrong decision. But voters are split on whether Trump should have sought congressional approval for the action: Half say he should have, while 46 percent say he had the power to authorize the strike.

Overall, the poll shows a slight uptick in Trump’s approval rating, with 40 percent now approving of Trump’s job performance, up from 35 percent two weeks ago. But 56 percent of voters still disapprove of how Trump is handling his job, with half of voters disapproving strongly.

The poll surveyed 1,062 registered voters, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

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