While many oppose President Donald Trump's order to temporarily block US entry for all refugees and citizens of seven Muslim majority countries, most Americans approve of the measure, says a new opinion poll.
A Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted from January 30 to 31 found that 49 per cent of American adults were "strongly" in agreement with Trump's order, with 41 per cent disagreeing with it. The final 10 per cent said they were unsure.
The president, who campaigned on the promise of "extreme vetting" to the nation's immigration system, said the order he signed on Friday was meant to protect the country and its borders. "This is not a Muslim ban," he had said.
But confusion over who was covered by Trump's order left travellers, airlines and foreign governments scrambling for clarity from US officials, many of whom were also bewildered.
The Reuters/Ipsos poll found 31 per cent of Americans feel "more safe" because of the ban, compared with 26 per cent who said they felt "less safe." Some 38 per cent said they felt the United States was setting "a good example" of how best to confront terrorism, while 41 per cent said the country was setting "a bad example."
The Reuters/Ipsos poll culled together responses from 1,201 people including 453 Democrats and 478 Republicans.
The responses were split almost entirely along party lines. Some 53 per cent of Democrats said they "strongly disagree" with Trump's action while 51 per cent of Republicans said they "strongly agree."
Democrats were more than three times as likely as Republicans to say that the "US should continue to take in immigrants and refugees," and Republicans were more than three times as likely as Democrats to agree that "banning people from Muslim countries is necessary to prevent terrorism."
Protesters have marched to major US airports over the weekend, where many immigrants had been temporarily detained because of the order. More than a dozen state attorneys general said they would work together to fight the order, and the top federal government lawyer, Sally Yates, was fired after she refused to defend it.
Trump's executive order banned refugees from entering the United States for 120 days, and it placed an indefinite hold on Syrian refugees. It also blocked citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.