ATLANTA - A new FOX 5 poll shows most Georgia voters support Governor Nathan Deal’s decision not to accept Syrian refugees into Georgia.
The poll shows 58% of the Georgia voters surveyed approve of the governor’s decision, 35% disapprove and 7% are undecided.
OpinionSavvy conducted the poll Monday evening for FOX 5 of 469 registered voters in Georgia. It has a margin of error of 4.5%.
The poll follows Governor Deal’s announcement Monday that will not accept Syrian refugees in Georgia.
The governor also urged President Obama to suspend the resettlement program in the United States. Since 2012, Deal has demanded that the federal government limit the number of refugees sent to Georgia.
Talking about the poll results, FOX 5 political analyst Matt Towery said, “Support for Governor Deal's decision is very high. Republicans, as could be expected, supported the governor at well over 80%. But independent voters said they approved of the decision by nearly 65%. Democrats were split, with a plurality of 47% opposed but with a surprisingly high 40% favoring Deal's decision.”
Gov. Deal said Tuesday the state will `find out' whether he has the authority to prevent Syrian refugees from being resettled here.
Deal told The Associated Press on Tuesday that he doesn't expect the Obama administration to cooperate but has spoken with Republican members of Congress from Georgia and urged them to take action.
U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., joined other senators Tuesday in sending a letter to President Obama, urging his administrator to insure that no terrorists have infiltrated Syrian refugee movements to enter the United States.
In a news release, Isakson said, “Our screening process should be rigorous, and we must not allow for an increase to the number of refugees coming to our country until this administration puts forth a strong strategy for ensuring that radical jihadists are kept out of the United States,” said Isakson. “That is why I am joining my Senate colleagues in calling on the administration to provide to Congress with the specific measures that will be added to the screening process for Syrian refugees in the wake of the Paris attacks. We must immediately address these concerns publicly raised by the director of the FBI and the director of National Intelligence.”
The letter from the senators stated, “While our country has a long history of welcoming refugees and has an important role to play in the heartbreaking Syrian refugee crisis, our first and most important priority must be to ensure that any refugee who comes to the United States does not present a threat to the American people. We believe that an essential component of that effort is ensuring that no refugee related to the Syrian crisis is admitted to the United States unless the U.S. government can guarantee, with 100 percent assurance, that they are not members, supporters, or sympathizers of the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), also known as Daesh or ISIL.”
In a Monday news release, Governor Deal said, “In light of the terror attacks in Paris, I’ve issued an executive order directing state agency heads to prevent the resettlement of Syrian refugees in Georgia. Further, I call upon the Obama administration to work with the Georgia Emergency Management Agency/Homeland Security to confirm the backgrounds of the 59 Syrian refugees recently resettled to ensure they do not pose a security threat to our citizens. Until the federal government and Congress conduct a thorough review of current screening procedures and background checks, we will take every measure available to us at the state level to safeguard the safety of Georgians."
Deal stopped short of agreeing with calls by some Republican presidential candidates to give preference to Christian refugees. He said state officials don't know who the Syrian refugees are or where they live.
U.S. State Department records indicate 57 Syrian refugees have resettled in Georgia since Jan. 1.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.