Saturday, August 09, 2014
What do voters really think?
On the one hand, they strongly believe the major differences between President Obama and congressional Republicans are mostly about politics and not honest disagreement over the issues.
Attorney General Eric Holder even suggested recently that the differences are motivated by racism, although voters strongly reject that claim.
On the other hand, a closer look at the major issues of the day finds clear differences of opinion between voters in the two major political parties, suggesting that the president and his congressional opponents are really just mirroring what their voters want.
Take health care. Voters in general still expect Obamacare to make health care worse and more expensive in America. But Democrats continue to champion the new health care law as they have from day one. Republicans and unaffiliated voters remain strongly opposed.
Most voters rate the federal government’s handling of illegal immigration as poor and think states should be able to act on their own to stop the problem. They also favor use of the National Guard in their own state to deal with illegal immigrants.
Just over half of voters now give the president poor marks for his handling of immigration issues, the highest level of criticism we’ve found to date. Fifty-four percent (54%) believe Obama wants most of the new illegal immigrants in the country to stay here despite majority support for their quick deportation.
But, again, a closer look shows that while Republicans and unaffiliated voters are strongly in favor of deporting these illegal newcomers, Democrats prefer to find ways to let most of them stay in this country.
In the latest major confrontation, the GOP-led House of Representatives voted to sue the president for exceeding his constitutional authority by making changes in the health care law after it had been passed by Congress. Most voters agree the president does not have the right to change laws without Congress’ approval, but they doubt a House lawsuit will stop him from acting on his own. Democrats, of course, tend to think the president should be able to go it alone; Republicans and unaffiliateds strongly disagree.
Sixty-seven percent (67%) of all voters say America is a more divided nation than it was four years ago. Democrats blame the congressional GOP for the division; Republicans blame the president, and unaffiliated voters think they’re both to blame.
Among all voters, the president's daily job approval rating remains in the high negative teens as it has been for much of his presidency.
At the same time, the number giving Congress good or excellent marks for its job performance has been in single digits most months since April 2011.
One thing we’ll be watching, though, especially with midterm elections coming this fall: Republicans have jumped out to a four-point lead over Democrats on the latest Generic Congressional Ballot after trailing for most weeks this year. Is this a hiccup or a major shift? You better believe both political parties will be watching.
Remember, too, that only 23% of all Likely U.S. Voters now think the country is heading in the right direction. But there are also some interesting changes in our economic indicators: Americans, for one thing, are more optimistic about their job prospects than they have been for most of the past five years.
Consumer and investor confidence remains at levels seen for much of this year and last but is still well ahead of post-2008 meltdown lows.
Speaking of elections, do Texas voters want Governor Rick Perry to run for president?
Things are looking up for Republicans in the North Carolina Senate race. The GOP is counting on a pick-up in North Carolina if it’s going to take control of the Senate.
After fending off Tea Party opposition in the state’s Republican primary, Texas Senator John Cornyn looks comfortably on the road to reelection.
The marquee governor’s race between Greg Abbott and Wendy Davis in Texas is closer than it was earlier this year.
Look for our new video election update every Friday to catch up on the week’s polling.
At week’s end, the president announced that we are bombing selective targets in Iraq. We’ll let you know early in the week how voters feel about that.
With Libya descending further into political chaos, voters aren’t sure it was a good idea for the United States to help overthrow the longtime dictator there and definitely don’t want any further U.S. involvement in the troubled North African country.
Despite his increased involvement in foreign policy hotspots like Israel and Ukraine, Secretary of State John Kerry continues to draw decidedly mixed views from U.S. voters.
While senators argue over the level of detail the CIA is willing to release about its secret activities, a sizable number of voters continues to believe the intelligence agency tortured likely terrorists, but slightly more think the information obtained that way helped in the War on Terror.
In other surveys last week:
-- Voters remain strongly pro-choice when it comes to giving parents options on the kind of school they want their children to attend.
-- Charitable giving is up, but not when it comes to political parties or candidates.
-- The Internet is becoming a destination for fundraising as “crowdfunding” websites like Kickstarter, GoFundMe and IndieGoGo are being used to fund everything from medical expenses to major motion pictures. Are Americans willing to give online?
-- Most Americans still agree that finding new sources of energy is essential and think renewable sources are a better long-term investment than fossil fuels.
-- It’s been seven months since Colorado began the public sale of recreational marijuana, and opposition to legalization of pot on the state level appears to be going down.
-- Is there a driverless car in your future?
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