James Mattis meets with President-elect Trump
James Mattis meets with President-elect TrumpREUTERS

Half of Americans approve of President Trump’s executive order temporarily halting the entry of refugees into the United States and placing broad restrictions on the entry of foreign nationals from seven Muslim countries across the Middle East and Africa.

Despite overwhelmingly critical coverage by media outlets and even criticism from senior GOP legislators, 49% of Americans say they back the executive order, compared to 41% who oppose it, a new Reuters/Ipsos poll indicates.

Other recent polls by Rasmussen Reports and Quinnipiac also showed more Americans approving than disapproving of the ban.

According to Rasmussen, 57% of likely voters back a temporary ban on refugees from the seven Muslim nations named by the executive order, while just 33% oppose. The Quinnipiac poll, which surveyed registered voters, showed Americans back the ban 48% to 42%.

Senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain hit the refugee ban, arguing it sent the wrong signal.

"This executive order sends a signal, intended or not, that America does not want Muslims coming into our country," the two said in a joint statement.

But according to the Reuters/Ipsos poll, Graham and McCain are very much in the minority in the Republican Party. Just 13% of Republicans say they oppose the ban, compared to 82% who back it.

Among Democrats, 23% agree with the executive order, while 70% say they disagreed with it.

While supporters of the move have touted it as a way to reduce the threat of terror attacks against the US homeland, nearly half of Americans believe it will have no impact on US security.

Forty-three percent said the move will not make the US either more or less safe, while 31% said it would increase security, and 26% said it would make America less safe.