Americans Would Rather Send Troops Abroad Than Take In Refugees At Home

In the wake of the Paris attacks, a new HuffPost/YouGov poll finds the public's mood is increasingly bellicose.

There's considerably more support for sending U.S. ground troops to fight the Islamic State than there is for accepting the Syrian refugees fleeing from the terrorist group, a new HuffPost/YouGov poll finds.

Americans are broadly sympathetic to the plight of refugees and convinced other nations have an obligation to help. A 53 percent majority think people who flee war or political oppression should have the right to seek refuge in other countries, while 23 percent don't. Fifty-six percent believe that refugee crises are a problem for the entire world, not just neighboring countries.

But there's less consensus that the U.S. should be part of the solution. While 38 percent of Americans say the U.S. should take in refugees, 39 percent say it should not, with the remainder unsure. Most don't think the U.S. has a special role to play as a haven for people escaping war in their home countries.  

While Democrats are more likely than Republicans to say the nation should accept refugees, support among both groups has dropped significantly in the past two months.

Asked specifically about the Syrian refugee crisis, half say that the U.S. should take in fewer refugees than it does now, while 11 percent believe the current level is about right. Just 22 percent want to take in more.

Those attitudes line up with other recent surveys that found Americans unwilling to take in Syrian refugees, as well a long history of recalcitrance to accept other groups fleeing conflicts spanning much of the 20th century.

In contrast, the U.S. public is increasingly willing to back military action. Forty-eight percent of Americans say they support sending U.S. ground troops to fight ISIS, up 13 points from the end of October, while 32 percent are opposed. Sixty-eight percent of Republicans are in favor, while Democrats are about evenly divided between support and opposition.

"Slamming the door in their faces would be a betrayal of our values," he said. "Our nations can welcome refugees who are desperately seeking safety and ensure our own security. We can and must do both."

The HuffPost/YouGov poll consisted of 1,000 completed interviews conducted Nov. 16-18 among U.S. adults, using a sample selected from YouGov's opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population.

The Huffington Post has teamed up with YouGov to conduct daily opinion polls. You can learn more about this project and take part in YouGov's nationally representative opinion polling. Data from all HuffPost/YouGov polls can be found here. More details on the polls' methodology are available here.

Most surveys report a margin of error that represents some, but not all, potential survey errors. YouGov's reports include a model-based margin of error, which rests on a specific set of statistical assumptions about the selected sample, rather than the standard methodology for random probability sampling. If these assumptions are wrong, the model-based margin of error may also be inaccurate. Click here for a more detailed explanation of the model-based margin of error.

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