July 8th, 2008
12:01 PM ET
13 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. Ruben

    I much rather see those 3 billion used like this:
    "3 billion dollar prize to the first alternate fuel engine/ground breaking development with REAL world applications".
    Heck even 1 billion would do, save two for agricultural and medical research.
    ...what an incentive to the world, talk about bang for the buck...a real gasoline free engine...for 1 billion...and then I woke up.
    P.S. Not a tree hugger either but a fence and its wildlife impact would be devastating from a scientific point of view. I wish policy makers could really understand the scope of this decision with political neutral eyes and end their popularity quest...and the I woke up again. The fence could look pretty, but it will not work. Is that simple.

    July 8, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  2. Joe in NY

    We should have the guys who built the Berlin wall do it for us. Smart thinking eh!
    Secure the borders..Keep those Canadians OUT!

    July 8, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  3. Roofin Reality, Houston, Tx.

    Hussein times 3,
    The good news for you is that Senator McCain is leading by enough in states that will give him 230 electoral votes.
    The bad news, for you, is that Senator Obama is leading in states that gives him 305 electoral votes.
    It doesn't count for anything except a blog today. But, if the numbers continue to hold, Obama is going to win,

    July 8, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  4. Jenny from IN

    A border fence is so idiotic....

    "Didn't you hear? Immigrants have never heard of boats OR ladders!"

    I mean, really.

    July 8, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  5. Kevin NM

    If anyone ever traveled or lived in Mexico you would understand that Mexican citizens are in a very similiar situtation as we are. Their Government is just as corrupt as ours. Their Government does not listen to the voices of their people either. A fence is a joke and everyone that lives on the border knows it. People from Mexico will cross 110 degree temperatures to get into this country risking life and limb. Do you think a fence will actually stop them.

    July 8, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  6. G from the D, (Detroit that is)

    The next thing you know the Republicans will be suggesting minefields . . . Oh wait a minute someone already said that. Are you kidding me?! What about Canada . . . They have a larger border so theoretically the flowrate of illegals into our country could be higher there!! Wait we are only concerned about the Mexicans because they are stealing our jobs picking fruits and vegetables in the fields. Ummmmm . . . What about the Engineering and Technical Jobs being taken by Canadians in Michigan where the unemployment rate is 8.5%. You know what I think . . . If you are not an American Citizen and the State Unemployment Rate is above the national average . . . You need to find another state to get a work visa in. I don't care about a fence between Mexico. Mexicans should because 66% of Republicans HATE you!!

    July 8, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  7. Stephen - Los Angeles, CA

    The San Diego triple border fence works like MAGIC!
    Illegal crossings dropped by over 95%.
    The fence has been PROVEN to work.

    A fence is not the ONE AND ONLY tool, it is just ONE in the toolbox.
    We need comprehensive enforcement: more boots on the ground,
    interior enfocement, crackdown on employers, crackdown on sanctuary cities, prosecuting those, who are aiding and abetting illegal aliens, purging the government, at ALL levels of agents supporting foreign interests, etc.

    July 8, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  8. Californian Conservative

    We need to enforce our current laws and change the ones that are no longer serving this country prior to building a fence.

    We can no longer grant citizenship to those who are born on US land. US Citizenship should only be granted upon birth to children of those who are legal resident aliens or US citizens and the parents must prove it. If they fail to prove it, the child does not receive US citizenship and reverts to the citizenship of their parents. Children who are not legally present in the US are not entitled to free education, public services, etc.

    Next, employers of illegal immigrants need to be hit hard and forced to pay up. We can divert the money received from these companies to social security. That way, we can continue to give out 'emergency' payments of $500/month to elderly new immigrants who will never contribute a dime to our system.

    And lastly, we need to deport our criminal aliens. Many countries, such as Vietnam, will not allow deported Vietnamese citizens to return to their country. Instead, they just languish inside US jails that are paid for with your tax dollars. I say we just deport them anyways. If the governments of these countries don't want them, it's up to them to decide what to do with their criminal deported citizens.

    July 8, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  9. LessDependence

    See what less dependence on oil can do: "The Honda FCX Hydrogen Fuel Cell Concept Car will most likely be dubbed the 3rd generation Honda FCX H2 car when it rolls off production lines in 2008. The newest Honda FCX Concept Car is more advanced than the current 2005 Honda FCX hydrogen car that is currently being used in fleet vehicles by different governmental agencies."

    July 8, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  10. Paul C. Palmetto Bay, FL

    There is no way the politician will get serious about illegal immigration so we are doomed to a 20 year amnesty cycle.

    July 8, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  11. Rudy NYC

    Is the fence part of McCain's job creation package?

    July 8, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  12. Liz from Atlanta, GA

    There's a better way to secure our borders than to fence us up like animals in a zoo. People always refuse to think outside the box. Was I the only one who had to take a creative thinking course in college?

    Obama '08 The revolution is coming. . . .

    July 8, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  13. maggie

    maggie July 8th, 2008 3:08 pm ET

    A wall along the Mexican border reminds me of the Berlin wall. why can't we work with Mexico and allow an allowable migrant population to work here during the seasons needed. We need to have a much better relationship with Mexico and Canada (will we put up a border there)?

    July 8, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  14. bohica

    Joe in NY, is a real genius. Why didn't we think of that, we could shoot on site. After all the Canadians are a real problem, with all the crimes, and the drain on our school and health systems, they've been causing. Its outrageous and something must be done. Lets not waste our time on the southern boarder, they are potential Obama voters.

    July 8, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  15. Michael, Lorain, Ohio

    Politics aside, the basic laws of supply and demand apply here. No matter what you do, you won't stop illegal border crossings and illegal immigration without addressing the demand to come to this country. Frankly the whole fence idea is a complete waste of my tax dollars it won't stop people from coming over.

    July 8, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  16. suck up china

    how u fellingwhen illegal rape ur family and steal ur car and sell drug to ur kids and cops never catch them just runnaway to mexico without border, liberal love it

    July 8, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  17. suck up china

    FENCE !!! YES WE CAN

    July 8, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  18. Al from Tx

    If you don't live in a border state, you really can't grasp the idea of a border fence. It will not work and is a waste of tax-payer money. Immigration reform yes. Border fence is a joke. It will not work. If you throw in the environmental implications as a result of this fence, it becomes a laugh-fest.

    It might help a solid crossing area such as San Diego, but as a border protection gadget, it will easily fail.

    Who is going to repair this fence once it begins to be destroyed by illegals? More tax payer money for a faulted system?

    We need real ideas, not political ploys by someone trying to get elected or re-elected.

    Real answers, not political agendas.

    July 8, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  19. love free loader

    LOU DOBBS IS THE MAN without lou dobbs this country alraeady sold out to drug cartel

    July 8, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  20. hmm

    Putting a fence up would be like putting a bandaid on a heart attack victim's chest. Wouldn't help anything ..would just be a pointless gesture to show that the problem is acknowledged.

    July 8, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  21. Robert

    Fence is not the answer. There are aother ways to deal with illegal immigration. Didn't the United States of America helped to demolish the Berlin wall?
    Why the United States wants to govern the whole world? There are a lots of issues that involves immigration. Don't you all have freedom to go anywhere and stay everywhere without being asked even for a visa? Why so many senior are moving to other latin american countries? has anybody send them back here?
    KKK those who oppose the real values of america.Don't take your freedom for granted

    July 8, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  22. love free loader

    LIBERAL LOVE ILLEGAL ALIEN WHOS SOLD OUT DRUG RAPE UR KIDS ABUSE UR DOG SCREWING UR PUBLICK SCHOLL UR ER.

    TO ALL LIBERAL USA HAVE UNIVERSAL HEALTCARE LIKE DEMOCRATS EMPTY PROMISE BUT ONLY FOR ILLEGAL ALIEN...FREE LOADER , MATERNITY FREE.

    CAN U ANSWER TO ALL BLEEDING HEART...WE HAVE UNIVERSAL HEALTCARE WHY ONLY FOR RATS DESSERT????

    July 8, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  23. adam

    to bad the headline isn't "Americans Divided By Boarder Fence" (we should have fenced off Texas after the Alamo).

    July 8, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  24. ILLEGAL= NEW DEMOCRATS VOTES

    50 MILLIONS ILLEGALS MEAN 50 MILLIONS NEW DEMOCRATS VOTES,NO WONDER THEY WANT ALL MOVE HERE

    July 8, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  25. CALI DUDE

    The fence that McPain Flip Flopped "over'....lol 🙂

    July 8, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
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