- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The first poll of its kind has found that Americans are sharply divided on the Obama administration’s proposal to accept a much greater number of refugees from Syria and other countries over the next two years to aid European allies dealing with a growing global migrant crisis.

The Pew Research Center study, which surveyed 1,502 adults, found that 51 percent of Americans approved of the plan to boost the number of  refugees the country will accept, while 45 percent disapproved and only 4 percent did not know about the situation.

On a visit to Europe last week, Secretary of State John F. Kerry said the U.S. would accept 85,000 refugees from around the world in 2016, up from the previous limit of 70,000, and that the total would rise to 100,000 in 2017. Washington was under pressure to act as countries across the Middle East and Europe dealt with a new wave of people fleeing the civil war in Syria and other conflicts.

The poll results showed a split between the political parties, with 69 percent of Democrats said they would welcome more refugees, while 67 percent of Republicans disapproved of taking in more refugees.

When asked how the U.S. should be doing in responding, 44 percent said the U.S. government should be doing more, 31 percent said the country is doing all that it should, 19 percent said the U.S. should be doing less, and 6 percent said they did not know. Some 50 percent of Democrats believed the U.S. should be doing more compared with 35 percent of Republicans.

Hispanics and younger Americans were also particularly supportive of increasing limits on taking in new refugees, with more than 60 percent of each supporting the idea.

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