Seventy-nine percent (79%) of U.S. voters now say the military should be used along the border with Mexico to protect American citizens if drug-related violence continues to grow in that area.
This marks a 21-point jump in support for the use of the U.S. military along the border in just two months.
Only 10% now say the military should not be used in that fashion, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national phone survey. Eleven percent (11%) are not sure.
Republicans feel even more strongly about the use of the military than others. Ninety percent (90%) of GOP voters say the military should be used to protect U.S. citizens if the violence crosses into this country, compared to 72% of Democrats and 76% of voters not affiliated with either of the major parties.
President Obama has expressed concern about the rise of drug violence in Mexico and is reportedly considering sending the National Guard to the border if the high level of violence moves into this country.
POST YOUR COMMENTS BELOW
Eighty-two percent (82%) of voters are concerned that Mexican drug violence will spill over into the United States, including 50% who are very concerned. Just three percent (3%) are not at all concerned. There has been a sizable jump in this concern also over the past two months.
The majority of voters (52%) remain more concerned about drug violence than illegal immigration. Forty-one percent (41%) are more concerned about the illegals situation. These numbers are largely unchanged from the survey at the beginning of the year.
Also unchanged is the level of voter support for continued building of a fence along the Mexican border. Sixty-one percent (61%) say the United States should continue the fence, but 27% disagree.
Eighty-eight percent (88%) of Republicans are at least somewhat concerned that Mexican drug-related violence will spill over into the United States, with 60% very concerned. Eighty-one percent (81%) of Democrats are at least somewhat concerned, including 46% who are very concerned. Voters not affiliated with either party track very closely with Democrats on this question.
Yet the majority of GOP voters (53%) remain more concerned about illegal immigration than growing drug violence. Sixty-three percent (63%) of Democrats, on the other hand, are more concerned about drug-related violence. Unaffiliated voters give the edge to drug violence by a 50% to 44% margin.
Republicans also are more enthusiastic supporters of the border fence. Seventy-four percent (74%) of Republicans say the United States should keep building the fence, as do 53% of Democrats and 60% of unaffiliateds.
Clearly one reason for the higher level of concern about drug violence in Mexico is that far more voters are now following stories about it. Seventy-six percent (76%) say they have followed news stories about growing drug violence in Mexico at least somewhat closely, including 33% who are following it very closely. Only five percent (5%) are not following it at all. In early January, just 43% were following the news at least somewhat closely, with 19% following it very closely.
Even without the higher level of concern about drug-related violence, 74% of voters said in early December that the federal government is not doing enough to secure the country’s borders.
Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano told Fox News last week that the Obama Administration will soon unveil a plan aimed at stopping weapons bought in this country and money from drug sales here from going back into Mexico. This will help alleviate the violence between warring Mexican drug gangs, she said.
Homeland Security has announced that it is using money from the new economic stimulus plan to continue work on the border fence.