July 8th, 2008
12:01 PM ET
14 years ago

Americans divided on border fence

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/07/08/art.fence.gi.jpg caption="Americans are divided over building a 700-mile long border fence."]

(CNN) - On the same day both presidential candidates are set to address a major Latino group meeting in Washington, a new poll shows Americans are closely divided when it comes to building a fence along the country's border with Mexico.

According to a new survey from CNN and the Opinion Research Corporation, just over half of Americans nationwide favor building the 700-mile long fence, while 47 percent oppose the idea.

Watch: Congressmen square off on border fence

The poll, conducted on June 26-29, surveyed 1,026 Americans and carries a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

CNN Polling Director Keating Holland notes Republicans and Democrats are sharply divided on the issue along partisan lines.

"The American public is closely divided but the two parties are not," he said. "Fifty-eight percent of Democrats opposed a fence on the Mexican border, while 66 percent of Republicans favor one. Independents mildly favor a fence, by a 55 percent-44 percent margin."

Though the issue of illegal immigration played a prominent role in the Republican presidential primary, it appears to be well overshadowed heading into the general election by the nation's economic woes, the war in Iraq, and other issues. A recent CNN/ORC poll showed American's ranked the issue ninth in importance to their vote this November.

Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama, both of whom are scheduled to speak before the League of Latin American Citizens in Washington Tuesday, both voted to authorize the building of the fence in the Senate last year. It carries a price tag of over $3 billion. (Read more on the candidates' immigration stances)

Watch: The border fence's environmental impact

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (313 Responses)
  1. Dr. Gene W. Laramy, Prescott, Arizona

    Your polls are a bunch of bull crap. Nearly 90% of Americans favor the fence. Read American Solutions if you don't believe it.

    July 8, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  2. Joe in NY

    Something (common sense) tells me that most people who support the fence in Mexico have never been to Mexico or even outside the US of A.
    I've been to both countries Canada and Mexico. I can tell you from experience that I am not worried about the Mexicans taking the technical-medical job in an air conditioned office that I have. All they want to do is integrate and be part of the American Dream even if they have to work like slaves.
    Canadians on the other hand are very educated, speak English, and love to commute into the US to take those jobs that don't require much dishwashing or hammering! (The good jobs)
    I say the Fence is a dumb idea inspired by ignorance and racism!
    Long live the American dream!
    And God Bless Vancouver! If I weren't american I'd be a Canadian.

    July 8, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  3. Ratgurl

    The border fence will not solve the problem, and will only serve to introduce environmental complications. The immigration issue needs to be solved via diplomacy, & perhaps by America's government helping Mexico to dissolve their corruption problem so that Mexicans feel their own country has something to offer them.

    July 8, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  4. Old Stradlater


    Illegal aliens can't vote, only citizens can. Moron.

    July 8, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  5. Chuck

    Call for volunteers to build it and watch how many people show up. The fence will be up by the end of July.

    July 8, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  6. Elizabeth in Illinois

    The idea that the US government could effectively guard both our huge borders is ludicrous. Picking up illegal border-crossers and dropping them back off in their own country makes about as much sense as capturing live mice in your basement and dropping them off at your back door.

    If you want to guard our borders, you need to remove the impetus to cross the border in the first place. Stop the hiring of illegal aliens and you stop the border crossings. They won't bother to come if there are no jobs for them to take.

    July 8, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  7. Tim

    McSame is a flip flopper that can't even remember where he stands on anything. He only kicks Bush under the bus when it suits him. He will fund raise with him behind closed doors, but bad mouths him in the light. McSame will lose and then he can go back to the Senate telling war stories. He is so out of touch with reality.

    July 8, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  8. indiePA

    Fence or no fence...instead of our Army reserve serving in Iraq, they should be defending our borders. Yes, I said defending. When you have a Mexican president meeting with American political leaders to determine ways to change the laws under cover of darkness to benefit the ILLEGALS crossing from Mexico, it's time for the citizens who care about this country to speak up. Contrary to what the president of Mexico stated (that "wherever there is a Mexican, it is Mexico"), this is the United States of America.....NOT MEXICO!! Employers who employ ILLEGALS should be fined heavily. Aid to Mexico should be diverted to pay the cost of the health care, education and incarceration of ILLEGALS until they return to their native land. Legal immigrants are welcome....ILLEGALS are not!!

    July 8, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  9. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    When does Cindy McCain release her tax returns?!

    You know, like everybody else she said should?!?!?!

    July 8, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  10. Nancy


    DON'T FALL FOR republicans poising as HRC SUPPORTERS...




    July 8, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  11. Monica for Obama in Indiana

    Build the fence, so what about the price tag? We spent a lot more over in Iraq

    July 8, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  12. asdf

    If we're calling for security, we should block of those Canadians too. Lots of people (probably including terrorist) hop on a plane to Canada and drive to the US.

    July 8, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  13. Molly Weasley

    Considering the fact that the majority of immigrants who are in the country illegally are NOT from Mexico (they are from a whole host of countries throughout the world), to focus on a border fence is pretty dumb.

    July 8, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
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