Public Supports Troops on Border

An ABC/Post poll finds that three-quarters of Americans say the United States is not doing enough to keep illegal immigrants out of the country -- and, given that view, the public broadly supports sending National Guard troops to patrol the border with Mexico.

Seventy-four percent support the idea of sending the Guard, which President Bush is expected to propose in a national address tonight. Twenty-five percent are opposed.

Support for the proposal peaks in Bush's political and ideological corner -- 85 percent of Republicans like the idea, as do 86 percent of conservatives. But it also wins support from about three-quarters of independents and moderates, and two-thirds of Democrats. It falls shorter among liberals, with 51 percent in favor, 47 percent opposed.

In another sign of the extent of its appeal, the proposal is supported by 76 percent in the so-called red states that Bush won in the 2004 presidential election -- and by about as many, 71 percent, in John Kerry's blue states.

Support for sending the Guard peaks in the East, the area of the country farthest from the border, and it's lowest -- but still 65 percent -- in the West, dominated by California and its large immigrant population. It's also more popular among whites (77 percent) than among nonwhites (60 percent).

National Guard for
Border Patrol
  Support Oppose
All   74%   25%
Democrats   64   35
Independents   73   25
Republicans   85   14
Liberals   51   47
Moderates   74   24
Conservatives   86   13
East   83   15
West   65   32

Separately, 77 percent say the country is not currently doing enough to keep illegal immigrants from coming into the United States, and 58 percent feel strongly about it -- numbers that have been stable in polls since early last year.

Concern about border security is quite high across political groups, ranging from 73 percent of Democrats to 80 percent of Republicans; and it takes in about eight in 10 moderates and conservatives alike, falling to 59 percent of liberals.

Sampling, data collection and tabulation for this poll were done by TNS.