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Poll shows federal workers don't prefer a border wall to getting paid

Dylan Stableford
·Senior Writer
·3 min read
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President Trump has claimed repeatedly that most federal workers support his tactic of shutting down the government to enforce his demand for a border wall — including those directly affected by it. But a new poll of government employees shows that few actually do.

According to the survey conducted by the Government Business Council and GovExec.com and released Tuesday, 71 percent of federal workers oppose the shutdown, compared to just 21 percent who support it. Just 34 percent of federal employees surveyed support Trump’s demand for funding for the wall, while 56 percent oppose it. And of those workers against the wall, more than 80 percent say they are strongly opposed to it.

Amid the longest government shutdown in U.S. history, most federal workers say they oppose President Trump’s demand for border wall funding. (Photo: Leah Millis/Reuters)
Amid the longest government shutdown in U.S. history, most federal workers say they oppose President Trump’s demand for border wall funding. (Photo: Leah Millis/Reuters)

Meanwhile, a pair of recent national polls show most Americans blame the president for the shutdown. According to a CNN survey released Monday, 56 percent of Americans oppose a border wall, while 39 percent favor one. And according to a PBS NewsHour/Marist poll released Wednesday, 54 percent say Trump is to blame for the impasse, while 31 percent put the blame on Democrats in Congress. (Five percent of those polled blame congressional Republicans.) And more than 70 percent believe shutting down the government in order to reach an agreement on policy is a bad strategy, compared to just 22 percent who do.

Among those who consider the strategy flawed: 35 percent of Republicans.

Trump is demanding Congress allocate $5.7 billion that would go toward construction of a physical barrier on the U.S. border with Mexico in exchange for reopening the government. Democrats are refusing to do so, and want the government reopened while negotiations continue.

President Trump at the border with Mexico
President Trump tours the southern border in McAllen, Texas, on Jan. 10. (Photo: Evan Vucci/AP)

The shutdown, now in its 26th day, is the longest in U.S. history. About 800,000 federal employees have been affected. Approximately half of those are continuing to work without pay, although they are likely to receive back pay after a budget is passed. The rest are furloughed.

For the first time ever, a funding impasse is affecting active-duty military personnel.

On Tuesday, U.S. Coast Guard Commander Adm. Karl Schultz advised more than 40,000 active duty members that they would not be receiving their regularly scheduled mid-month paycheck.

“To the best of my knowledge, this marks the first time in our Nation’s history that service members in a U.S. armed force have not been paid during a lapse in government appropriations,” Schultz wrote in a letter to them. “I recognize the anxiety and uncertainty this situation places on you and your family, and we are working closely with service organizations on your behalf.

“You have proven time and again the ability to rise above adversity,” he added. “Stay the course, stand the watch, and serve with pride. You are not, and will not, be forgotten.”

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