A majority of voters would oppose having their town declared a "sanctuary" to protect criminal illegal immigrants, with most claiming the areas aren't safe.

The latest Rasmussen Reports survey said that 52 percent oppose the designation of "sanctuary city," while 35 favor it.

And 42 percent said that the areas are "less safe," compared to 17 percent who believe that they are "more safe."

The political divide is wide. "A plurality (48 percent) of Democrats favors living in a sanctuary community, but only 27 percent of both Republicans and voters not affiliated with either major political party agree," said the survey analysis.

The Trump administration has started to come down hard on the sanctuaries, claiming that their policies are a public safety threat. One, Montgomery County, Md., is in the middle of a firestorm after two illegal teens were charged in the rape of a 14-year-old in Rockville High School. Officials have suggested that they won't turn the teens over until after a trial.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials are stepping up efforts to seize criminal illegals held in America's jails. An estimated 600 sanctuary cities and jurisdictions are refusing those requests.

The administration on Monday began to call out those areas, and listed 118 that have recently blocked ICE from seizing the illegal immigrant and deporting them.

Other details from Rasmussen's analysis:

— Women worry less than men do about the safety of sanctuary communities but are only slightly more willing to live in one. Voters under 40 are twice as likely as their elders to be undecided whether their community should declared itself a sanctuary.

— Other minority voters are more strongly opposed to living in a sanctuary community than whites and blacks are. But whites are the most likely to feel that such communities are less safe.

— Sixty percent (60%) of Republicans say sanctuary communities are less safe than communities that do not protect illegal immigrants from federal authorities, a view shared by only 20% of Democrats and 43% of unaffiliated voters. Democrats are most likely to consider the level of safety about the same.

— Sixty-four percent (64%) of voters who oppose their community becoming a sanctuary for illegal immigrants think sanctuary communities are less safe. Among voters who favor their home becoming a sanctuary, 36% believe their community will be safer than others, while 48% feel the level of safety will be about the same.

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com