On June 26, 2017, the Supreme Court partially lifted injunctions blocking Trump's travel ban in a per curiam decision, while simultaneously ruling to narrow the ban's scope to apply only to foreign nationals from countries Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen who could not prove a "credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States". This appeared to have increased support for Trump's travel ban, ostensibly because of the Court's ruling that the ban's breadth would be narrowed, but perhaps also due to the added credibility and legitimacy the Supreme Court gave to the Trump administration regarding the executive order's constitutionality.
Following the Supreme Court's decision, a Politico-Morning Consult poll asked respondents in mid-June the following question: "As you may know, the U.S. Department of State recently outlined new guidelines which say visa applicants from six predominately Muslim countries must prove a close family relationship with a U.S. resident in order to enter the country. Knowing this, do you support or oppose these new guidelines?". The 60% - 28% split in support expressed by respondants marked the highest level of support ever recorded on a poll relating to support of Trump's travel ban, with support exceeding opposition by a 32-point margin. Averaging the last four polls we've tracked, we found that 49% of the American public support the ban, with 43% opposing it - a 6-point margin. One of the polls in this latest average include a Rassmussen poll taken in early June which predated the Court's ruling, showing that 50% of the public expressed support for the ban with only 41% opposing.
We've tracked 22 polls published within the past year, with differing phrasing of their question and methods of gauging support, and smoothed out the data through an average in order to see the bigger picture of the level of support for Trump's travel ban, and what we see is that the overall perception of the ban with the public is more nuanced than probably what most of its detractors or supporters think.
|Pollster||Polling period midpoint||Pct. support||Pct. opposed||Margin of support|
|Quinnipiac University||November 16, 2016||50%||44%||+6|
|Quinnipiac University||January 7, 2017||48%||42%||+6|
|Rassmussen||January 26, 2017||57%||33%||+24|
|Reuters/Ipsos||January 31, 2017||49%||41%||+8|
|Gallup||January 31, 2017||42%||55%||-13|
|Gallup||January 31, 2017||42%||55%||-13|
|Public Policy Pollster||January 31, 2017||47%||49%||-2|
|CNN/ORC||February 1, 2017||47%||53%||-6|
|YouGov||February 1, 2017||48%||44%||+4|
|CBS News||February 2, 2017||45%||51%||-6|
|Quinnipiac University||February 4, 2017||46%||51%||-5|
|Quinnipiac University||February 4, 2017||44%||50%||-6|
|Public Policy Pollster||February 8, 2017||45%||49%||-4|
|Pew Research Center||February 10, 2017||38%||59%||-21|
|Quinnipiac University||February 19, 2017||43%||49%||-6|
|NBC News/Wall Street Journal||February 20, 2017||44%||45%||-1|
|Quinnipiac University||March 4, 2017||42%||51%||-9|
|Quinnipiac University||March 19, 2017||43%||55%||-12|
|Quinnipiac University||March 19, 2017||42%||52%||-10|
|McClatchy-Marist Poll||March 25, 2017||43%||52%||-9|
|Rassmussen||June 5, 2017||50%||41%||+9|
|Politico-Morning Consult||June 30, 2017||60%||28%||+32|
|Four-poll Moving Average||49%||43%||+6|
|Four-poll Moving Median||47%||47%||+0|
|All-polls Total Average||46%||48%||+2|
|All-polls Total Median||45%||50%||+5|
|Maximum Ban Support||60%||28%||+32|
|Minimum Ban Support||38%||59%||-21|
You may have seen wildly-conflicting data from polls about Trump's travel ban in the media. Some of this is expected, and is merely due to sampling error and differences in pollsters' methodologies. When conducting a poll, a pollster must determine what its intended target population in its sample is - who exactly it wants to poll. For example, in order to create a poll of the world's scientists' beliefs on key issues, a poll must be representative of the overall population of the world's scientists. Knowing this, what influences a poll's result significantly is what segment of the population the poll is attempting to capture through its random sample. One can easily talk of a pollster who polls the U.S. population - but there's a tricky distinction needed to be made between which
Americans its respondants will be representative of - the U.S. general population, the U.S. population of registered voters, or the U.S. population of likely voters? This ranges from All Voters, Registered Voters, and Likely Voters in the sample of their poll. These methodological differences of what segment of the population a U.S. pollster is surveying account for a lot of the differences in travel ban polling, generally with Likely Voter models being more representative of the voting electorate, with Registered Voters and All Voters polls being more Democratic-leaning by around 2 points
(since they also include Americans who are less likely to vote) but are more representative of the overall U.S. voting AND non-voting population. However, what accounts for the majority of the variance between the travel ban's polling numbers, even more than the aforementioned methodological factors, are the differences in the ways in which pollsters pose their question.Polls that did not mention Trump in their questioning marked a staggering increase of 10 points in the margin of support for the travel ban.
On average, throughout all 22 polls in our database, polls which mentioned President Trump in their question wording received 44% support and 51% opposition for his travel ban, a 7-point margin for opposition (these 12 polls that mentioned Trump in their questioning from Reuters/Ipsos, Gallup, Public Policy Pollster, CNN/ORC, YouGov, CBS News, Pew Research Center, NBC News/Wall Street Journal, Quinnipiac University, and McClatchy-Maris). Those that did not mention Trump in their name showed 48% support and 44% opposition, a 4-point margin for support (those ten polls in our data which do not include Trump in their questioning includes polls from Quinnipiac University, Rassmussen, and Politico-Morning Consult). That being said, this change looks dramatic, but it could also be slightly exaggerated, since a large factor could be that polls that are Democratic-leaning like Public Policy Pollster are more likely to ask a question involving Trump to try to skew their results than a Republican-leaning one like Rassmussen, meaning that also differences in polling methodologies other than questioning could also be a big factor.
Additionally, a YouGov poll from early February showed that Trump's travel ban had a 4-point margin of support (48% to 44%) - and it had very clearly mentioned Trump in its wording: "President Trump recently signed an executive order banning travel for people from seven Muslim-majority countries – Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia – for 90 days, and suspending the admission of refugees for 120 days. Do you approve or disapprove of this ban?". This indicates that even though part of the variance between polls is accounted for by differences in wording in the questionnaire design, most likely not all of it is, as other methodological factors come into play
(for instance, YouGov is an online pollster exclusively, as is Politico-Morning Consult, a pollster which found a 32-point margin of support in late June).
View our table below, and check our our spreadsheet which displays data we culled about the poll results, moving average, and exact wording for every poll available regarding Trump's travel ban.
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