Americans oppose taking in Syrian refugees and think their governors should reject them.
Dozens of Republican governors and one Democrat have announced opposition to accepting Syrian refugees into their states. According to the latest YouGov poll, a majority of Americans think the governor of their state should reject Syrian refugees. The partisan split of the governors reflects the partisan split of the population they serve. More than 3/4 of Republicans think their governors should reject Syrian refugees, while only 1/3 of Democrats feel that way.
American opposition to taking in Syrian refugees is not just at the state level. More than half of Americans oppose the US taking in Syrian refugees who pass a government security screening. Our analysis reveals nearly the same partisan divide.
Previous YouGov polling suggests it would be wrong to place all the blame for opposition to Syrian refugees on the recent terrorist attacks in Paris. Back in September, YouGov asked if Americans would support allowing more Syrian refugees to move to the United States; nearly half opposed. Even then, Republicans were still adamantly opposed while Democrats supported nearly two to one.
On the September survey we also conducted an experiment in which we asked about any US responsibility to accept refugees. Half of panelists were asked about any US responsibility to accept refugees fleeing from "other countries", while the other half were asked about refugees fleeing from Syria specifically. Overall, a majority of Americans think the US does not have a responsibility to take in refugees. In the case of Syrian refugees, the familiar partisan pattern appears where majorities of Independents and Republicans think the US does not have a responsiblity and nearly a majority of Democrats think the US does. However, in the generic case of "other countries", more Democrats think the US does not have a responsibility.
This suggests Americans do not have an anti-Syrian refugee issue, but rather an issue with refugees in general.