Politics and Public Opinion, Polls

The polls this week: Obamacare, the sequester, and immigration


ACA bleeds: The Kaiser Family Foundation released its latest monthly update on attitudes toward Obamacare and found support for the law at its lowest point since passage in 2010. Thirty-five percent in the April poll viewed the law favorably and 40% unfavorably. As discussion heats up about the bill’s costs and implementation, more people have moved into the “don’t know” column, now also at a high point, 24%, on this question in Kaiser’s polling.

Fox News updated its trend on President Obama’s handling of health care and 43% of the registered voters in the poll approved and 53% disapproved. During the fall campaign, the president’s marks on handling the issue were better. In the new poll, 41% said they would vote to keep the law, while 54% said they would vote to repeal it.

In a late March CBS News poll, 5% said health care was the most important problem facing the country. Forty-one percent volunteered the economy.

Foggy on the sequester: CBS and Gallup recently updated questions on the sequester. The results show a remarkable stability in attitudes. Negative evaluations outweigh positive ones, but many aren’t sure about the sequester’s impact.

Fifty-two percent told Gallup that they didn’t know enough to say if the sequester was good or bad for the country. Seventeen percent thought it was a good thing, and 30% bad. In a late March CBS News poll, 28% thought the sequester was good for the country and 41% bad. The proportion saying it had no effect was 23%, up from 12% two weeks earlier. Asked whether it would help, hurt, or have no effect on the economy in a separate April CBS/New York Times poll, 10% said it would help, 46% hurt, and 35% no effect.

People were also uncertain about how the sequester would affect them. Sixty-two percent told Gallup they didn’t know enough to say about its effects on them personally. Of the remainder, 24% said it was a bad thing for them personally and 11% a good thing.


Fences and visas: In the new CBS/New York Times poll, 40% said they trusted the Republicans in Congress more to make the right decisions about immigration issues, and 43% said they trusted Obama more.

Eighty-three percent in the poll favored a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants if they met certain requirements “like paying fines and back taxes, passing criminal background checks and learning English.” Eighty-four percent of Republicans and 87% of Democrats approved. Of those who favored a path to citizenship, 56% said illegal immigrants should be allowed to obtain legal status while the border was being secured, and 35% only after it was secure.

Republicans and Democrats who favored a path to citizenship differed sharply on whether border security should be a prerequisite. Republicans said obtaining legal status should come only after the border was secure (49%) while 43% said this should happen while it was being secured. Democrat’s responses were 25% and 66%, respectively.

In a new Quinnipiac poll, 52% said illegal immigrants should be allowed to stay and eventually apply for citizenship, and 30% said they should be required to leave. Eleven percent said they should be allowed to stay but not become citizens. Support for a path to citizenship was down slightly from three earlier Quinnipiac polls.

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