U.S.

Americans Agree With Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Not Donald Trump: Spend Money on Education, Health Care, Not Border Wall, Poll Finds

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the Democrat from New York, has not yet taken her seat in Congress, but more Americans agree with her view of how to use the $5 billion that President Donald Trump has demanded for a border wall, a new poll shows.

Asked what the best use of $5.7 billion in federal funding was, only 19 percent of respondents in a Business Insider poll released Thursday said it was the border wall. 

The most popular use of the billions, among four options the poll presented, was paying health care expenses for a half-million Americans, the choice of 36 percent of respondents. 

Options for spending in the poll other than for the border wall were drawn from democratic socialist Ocasio-Cortez's tweet last week slamming Trump's demand for border funding. 

"And just like that, GOP discovers $5.7 billion for a wall. $5.7 billion," Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. "What if we instead added $5.7B in teacher pay? Or replacing water pipes? Or college tuition/prescription refill subsidies? Or green jobs? But notice how no one's asking the GOP how they're paying for it."

Congresswoman-elect Ocasio-Cortez also quote tweeted Washington Post reporter Jeff Stein's alternative uses for the $5.7 billion, including covering health care for hundreds of thousands of Americans and pre-kindergarten education for all American children.

The second most popular option for the funding was for infrastructure, at 30 percent. Coming in after border wall funding was paying for pre-K programs, at 15 percent. 

Unsurprisingly, most support for funding Trump's border wall came from very or moderately conservative respondents, at 53 percent. Among them, only 22 percent chose putting the money toward infrastructure and 16 percent said health care. 

Among respondents who leaned slightly conservative or liberal or did not identify with a political party, only 13 percent chose funding for the wall, while 39 percent said health care, 32 percent said infrastructure and 16 percent said pre-K.

Trump had continued to stand firm on his demand for border funding amid the government shutdown that had gone on for a week. 

"The Democrats OBSTRUCTION of the desperately needed Wall, where they almost all recently agreed it should be built," Trump tweeted on Thursday, "is exceeded only by their OBSTRUCTION of 350 great people wanting & expecting to come into Government after being delayed for more than two years, a U.S. record!"

The survey was conducted as a SurveyMonkey Audience poll from December 21 to 22 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. It included 1,025 respondents with 24 percent identifying as very or moderately conservative, 36 percent as slightly or neither conservative or liberal, and 28 percent as very or moderately liberal.

Ocasio-Cortez has criticized the Trump administration, calling it "criminal from the start" for its immigration policies and made a central issue of her campaign platform eliminating U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. 

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