Amid Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s controversial suggestion that America set-up a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,” New Jersey residents split down the middle on whether to accept refugees from Syria, according to the latest Rutgers-Eagleton Poll.
Ten percent are unsure, while 45% agree and the same number disagree on whether New Jersey should remain open to refugees from Syrian conflict.
Most of those who oppose Syrian refugee resettlement in New Jersey also supported Gov. Christie’s insistence that even refugee children should be barred.
Only a quarter of those initially opposed to Syrian refugees in the state would make an exception for children.
While many oppose Syrian refugee resettlement, 34% percent of New Jerseyans think the number of immigrants in the state is too high -- down seven points in the past four months.
Nearly half think the number is just right.
More than a third (34%) say that immigrants make the overall quality of life in New Jersey, while 38% say they don't have much of an effect either way. Another 19% say immigrants make the quality of life in the Garden State worse.
“Over half of U.S. governors – including New Jersey’s own – have said they will refuse to accept Syrian refugees in the wake of the Paris attacks, even though immigration policy is a federal, not state, responsibility,” said Ashley Koning, assistant director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling at Rutgers.
Eight in 10 of those New Jerseyans polled worry that another attack will happen on American soil, while seven in 10 say they fear that one will occur in or near New Jersey.
A full 86% of Garden State residents who were polled support surveillance and security checks in public places such as stadiums, movie theaters and shopping malls.
Still, most New Jerseyans believe the U.S. government is generally doing well in reducing the threat of terrorism.
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Rutgers noted that a fifth of the poll was completed prior to the Dec. 2 shootings in San Bernardino, Calif. About half of all interviews had been completed by Friday, Dec. 4, when the FBI declared it was investigating the shooting as an act of terrorism, the university said.
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