Politico’s poll on Trump’s travel ban is fake news

There is only one problem with this story: it isn’t true.

A protester waves an American flag in front of the Supreme Court during a protest about President Donald Trump’s recent executive orders, Monday, Jan. 30, 2017 in Washington. CREDIT: AP Photo/Alex Brandon
A protester waves an American flag in front of the Supreme Court during a protest about President Donald Trump’s recent executive orders, Monday, Jan. 30, 2017 in Washington. CREDIT: AP Photo/Alex Brandon

This morning, Politico published a story with a provocative headline: “Poll: Majority of voters back Trump travel ban.”

“A clear majority of voters supports President Donald Trump’s travel ban on visitors from six predominantly Muslim countries, according to a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll,” the piece begins.

The story was quickly embraced by White House press secretary Sean Spicer.

There is only one problem with this story: it isn’t true.

Politico did not even ask a polling question ab0ut the latest version of Trump’s travel ban, which is expressed in a March 7 executive order. Rather, the poll asked about “new guidelines which say visa applicants from six predominately Muslim countries must prove a close family relationship with a U.S. resident in order to enter the country.” These guidelines are not Trump’s policy, but a requirement imposed through a per curium order of the Supreme Court.

We grant the Government’s applications to stay the injunctions, to the extent the injunctions prevent enforcement of §2(c) with respect to foreign nationals who lack any bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States. We leave the injunctions entered by the lower courts in place with respect to respondents and those similarly situated, as specified in this opinion.

Trump opposes allowing visa applicants from these countries to enter the United States if they “prove a close family relationship with a U.S. resident in order to enter the country.” Trump’s order dictates “that the entry into the United States of nationals of those six countries be suspended for 90 days from the effective date of this order, subject to the limitations, waivers, and exceptions set forth in sections 3 and 12 of this order.” There are exceptions for dual nationals or people who already have valid visas — but there is no exception for family members. The Trump administration is actively fighting this requirement.

In sum, Politico substituted a policy that Trump opposes, called it “Trump’s travel ban” and is using it to claim that “Trump’s travel ban has majority support.”

The Politico article acknowledges that “The POLITICO/Morning Consult question doesn’t mention Trump, nor does it refer to the president’s executive orders on immigration.”

Polling of Trump’s actual travel ban has consistently shown that a majority of Americans oppose it. This includes polls from CBS (51% oppose), CNN (53% oppose), Quinnipiac (55% oppose), Pew (59% oppose).