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Eeastern Washington voters concerned about family separation policy

August 4, 2018

Voters in Eastern Washington’s congressional district have concerns about the Trump administration’s policy of separating families arrested for illegally entering the country, a new survey suggests.

In a poll of 400 voters late last month, they were likely to say the policy is inhumane, that Congress should take action to hold the agencies in charge of that policy accountable, and to be more likely to vote for a candidate who opposes the policy.

A poll of likely mid-term voters in the 5th Congressional District by Global Strategy Group showed 90 percent were familiar with the “zero tolerance policy” that resulted in separating families arrested at the border. Two-thirds supported Congress taking action to hold the officials and agencies accountable. Fifty-four percent said the policy was inhumane while 31 percent said it was necessary. Fifty-one percent said they were likely to support a candidate who opposed the policy while 37 percent said they’d support a candidate who supported it.

Asked to rate the job the administration was doing on reuniting children and parents, 49 percent poor or not good, while 39 percent said excellent or good.

Pollsters also asked those voters their opinion of President Donald Trump and their incumbent congresswoman, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who is seeking re-election this fall.

The national firm conducted similar polls in key congressional districts for Equity Forward Action, an organization that monitors the activity of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. That department is responsible for immigrant children separated from their parents when they are arrested for illegal entry into the United States.

McMorris Rodgers has called on the administration to stop its policy of separating families who are seeking asylum while Congress should pass a law to clarify that such separations shouldn’t happen.

Mary Alice Carter, executive director of Equity Forward, argued that McMorris Rodgers should do more. As a member of a House committee that has oversight over the department, she should “get to the bottom of what happened and hold the Trump administration responsible for this cruel policy.”

In the poll, 45 percent of voters said they had a favorable view of Trump and 50 percent an unfavorable view. Asked about McMorris Rodgers, 45 percent had a favorable view and 44 percent an unfavorable view.

Those results were similar to a poll of 403 voters conducted for The Spokesman-Review and other Eastern Washington news organizations in April by Elway Research Inc. In that poll, 45 percent of respondents said they approved of the job Trump was doing and 49 percent disapproved. Asked about McMorris Rodgers, 45 percent approved of the job she was doing while 45 percent disapproved.

Both polls had a margin of error of about 5 percent.

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