Poll: Americans Lean Toward Court Decision That Halted Trump's Travel Ban

Opinions are still split on the ban itself, although approval for its implementation has fallen.

A relatively narrow plurality of Americans believe that a federal appeals court made the right call in refusing to reinstate President Donald Trump’s travel ban, a new HuffPost/YouGov survey finds, although they remain divided on the ban itself.

Forty-four percent of Americans say the court made the right decision in refusing to reinstate the ban after it was temporarily halted by a judge, while 37 percent say it made the wrong decision and 19 percent aren’t sure.

By a 21-point margin, 51 percent to 31 percent, Americans say that the judicial system should have the power to halt the president’s travel ban. And by a 24-point margin, 54 percent to 30 percent, they say Trump acted inappropriately when he disparaged the judge who temporarily blocked the ban in a tweet he sent earlier this month:

Opinions on all of this are split along the same partisan lines that have divided views about nearly every aspect of both the travel ban and Trump’s presidency itself. Eighty-nine percent of voters who backed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in last year’s presidential election agree with the court’s decision, while 88 percent of Trump’s voters disagree. Clinton voters almost universally believe that the courts should have the power to halt the ban, while nearly three-quarters of Trump voters say that the judicial system should not have that power.

Although the HuffPost/YouGov survey finds modest support for the court’s decision, it also finds Americans evenly split on the ban itself, with 45 percent approving and 45 percent disapproving.

HuffPost/YouGov’s initial survey after Trump’s executive order found Americans split 48 percent to 44 percent in favor of the ban, while other surveys, especially those conducted by pollsters using live interviewers, found considerably higher disapproval for the ban.

Why are Americans currently more likely to approve of the ban than to think the court made the wrong decision in refusing to reinstate it? The difference comes in part because, while 86 percent who disapprove of the ban think the court made the right decision, a smaller 76 percent majority of those who approve of it say the court was wrong. Fifteen percent of Americans who approve of the ban still say they aren’t sure whether the court made the right decision or not, while 8 percent believe that it did. (It’s possible that some are inclined to defer to the judicial system; it’s also possible that the somewhat convoluted nature of the ban’s current legal status, and thus the question, was unclear to some respondents.)

Regardless of how Americans feel about the ban, they’re now souring on the way it was implemented. Only 27 percent of Americans now think the government has done a somewhat or very good job of carrying out the ban, down from 41 percent in the previous survey. The majority, 51 percent, say it has done a job that was not very good or not good at all. 


The HuffPost/YouGov poll consisted of 1,000 completed interviews conducted Feb. 11-13 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.