Despite outcry from elites, GOP front-runner Donald Trump's campaign platform to crack down on Muslim immigration and radical U.S. mosques has strong popular support, even among independents and many Democrats.
Beltway pundits have roundly condemned the proposals — which Trump doubled down on last week in his first official campaign ad — arguing they are "racist" or "Islamophobic." Or as the New York Times described them, the rantings of "a madman." Nearly all of those running for the White House, Democratic and Republican candidates alike, have denounced or dismissed the policies.
But their supporters, along with the public at large, see merit in them, according to a new IBD-TIPP poll.
The national survey of 967 adults, conducted Jan. 4-8, found that almost half — 48 percent — of Americans support a temporary ban on foreign Muslims entering the U.S.
Trump proposed such a moratorium last month, after two devout Pakistani Muslims shot 35 county government workers at a Christmas Party in San Bernardino, killing 14. It was the worst act of Islamic terrorism on American soil since 9/11.
Also, 53 percent of Americans said mosques in the U.S. "should be monitored more closely by the authorities for radical activities," another Trump proposal, which would reverse an Obama administration policy to limit such surveillance. A simple majority (51 percent) said they don't think the Muslim community has done enough to help law enforcement root out terrorists in its ranks.
In addition, 77 percent said Muslims in the U.S. need to speak out more against the violence being committed in the name of their religion. Even Democrats are troubled by the silence from the Muslim community. Seventy-four percent said they'd like to see Muslims be more vocal against terrorism and extremism.
More surprising, 33 percent of Dems back a moratorium on foreign Muslim immigration, and 40 percent of them support more intense surveillance of U.S. mosques.
Independents tend to hold Muslims in greater suspicion than the general population, according to the IBD poll, which has a margin of error of +/-3.2 percentage points. Fully 50 percent of them said they'd like to see a temporary ban on immigrants from Muslim countries, while 51 percent agreed that American mosques should be put under heavier surveillance by the FBI.
What's more, 56 percent of independents said Muslims aren't doing enough to work with counterterrorism officials and report possible extremists in their midst.
Republican respondents, by comparison, support by overwhelming margins a ban on Muslim immigration and tougher controls on mosques — 64 percent and 71 percent, respectively. Also, 61 percent of them doubt that the U.S. Muslim community is fully cooperating with authorities in terrorism investigations.