CNN Poll: Do Americans agree with Obama on climate change and immigration?
January 22nd, 2013
05:00 AM ET
1 year ago

CNN Poll: Do Americans agree with Obama on climate change and immigration?

Washington (CNN) - Saying "we will respond to the threat of climate change," President Barack Obama used his second inaugural address to put the divisive issue back on the front burner. But according to a new national survey, Americans are divided over whether global warming is a man made phenomenon.

The president also used his speech to highlight the controversial issue of illegal immigration, and a CNN/ORC International survey released Tuesday also indicates that a bare majority of the public says the main focus of the federal government should be on developing a plan that would allow undocumented immigrants to become legal residents, rather than deporting them.

The president warned in his Monday address that failure to respond to climate change "would betray our children and future generations. Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms."

According to the poll, which was conducted last week, 49% agree with the White House that global warming is a proven fact and is due to emissions from cars, power plants and factories. That's twice as high as the number who say that global warming has not been proven, as well as the 24% who say that it is a proven fact but is not due to manmade sources. But the 49% figure is down seven points from 2007.

There's an expected partisan divide on the question, with two-thirds of Democrats saying global warming is man made. That number drops to 48% among independent voters and is at 28% among Republicans.

The president tried and failed in his first term to get a climate change bill through Congress. The president also came up empty during his first four years in the White House in trying to pass comprehensive illegal immigration reform though Congress.

But Obama has put the issue on his to-do list this year, and in his inaugural address he said "our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity; until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country."

By a 53%-43% margin, people questioned in the poll say that main focus of the federal government should be on developing a plan that would allow undocumented immigrants to become legal residents, rather than deporting them.

That's a switch from 2011, when by a 55%-42% margin, Americans said that deporting undocumented residents and stopping more of them from coming into the country should be the main focus of U.S policy on illegal immigration.

As expected, the poll indicates a partisan divide on the issue, as well as a generational divide, with younger people saying allowing undocumented immigrants to become legal should be the top priority, and a slight plurality of those 50 and older saying the emphasis should be on deportation and border security.

One of the president's biggest domestic accomplishments in his first term was passing a sweeping health care bill through Congress in 2010. In his inauguration address, Obama acknowledged that there is still much work ahead on this issue, saying "we must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care."

According to the poll, 51% favor all or most of the provisions in the Affordable Care Act, the official name of what many people refer to as "Obamacare," with 44% opposed to all or most of the provisions in the law.

"That's a switch from 2011, when a CNN poll indicated that a majority opposed all or most of the provisions in the health care bill," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

Minutes after his inauguration speech, the president signed documents making official his nominations for some top Cabinet posts, including former Sen. Chuck Hagel as defense secretary. The Nebraska Republican's nomination has been met with reservations, and even outright opposition, by some senators of both parties, who point to past positions he has taken on Israel, Iran and the war in Iraq.

According to the poll, 48% think the Senate should confirm Hagel.

"That's twice as high as the number who oppose his confirmation, but with three in ten uncertain of how they feel about the issue, the White House might breathe a little easier if support for Hagel were just over 50% rather than just under that mark," adds Holland.

The poll was conducted for CNN by ORC International on Jan. 14-15, with 814 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

soundoff (310 Responses)
  1. Name lynn

    president obama is a good man, what obama saying he is sticking with his words. Its them white house leaders an them republicans also boehner is trying to stop obama. Them white presidents lied to get in the white house an lied until the people voted them liers out the white house.

    January 22, 2013 05:14 am at 5:14 am |
  2. trex

    ........Tea Party GOP claims that.......... Global warming is a HOAX................right up to when the Mississippi dries up, and Georgia is our most southern state.

    January 22, 2013 06:59 am at 6:59 am |
  3. Wilson

    This country is in so much trouble. The sad part is, just over 50% of the population can't see it. Or, worse, refuse to see it. Or, even worse, are all for it. This country can survive Obama, but I don't think it can' survive the "obama voter."

    January 22, 2013 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  4. Gurgyl

    "Obama cant change the world, but he can help people. Obama cant please everyone yet he can please some people. Its just obama skin color when its comes to wimps, yet god cant please everyone an god is not going to please everyone. Now obama you do what is rite for the black people.

    January 22, 2013 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
  5. empresstrudy

    According to CNN and MSNBC current polling with 45% in favor of Obama indicates a landslide mandate for the ages unto the end of time. All Hail Obama

    January 22, 2013 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
  6. GLOBAL POLICY RESEARCHG

    In favour of this view

    January 22, 2013 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  7. Al-NY,NY

    maybe all the states that deny an accepted (by thinking people) trend should not be getting aid when a hurricane or tornado or drought hits them.

    January 22, 2013 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  8. Dean

    I'm counting the days.

    January 22, 2013 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  9. Wake up People!

    Keep thinking global warming is a hoax, while the intelligent people will work to do something about it. Wildfires, hurricanes, tornados and droughts, all allegedly caused by the liberals. Talk about doubling down on stupid....

    January 22, 2013 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  10. guest

    Yes, he has really helped minorities, to higher unemployment.

    January 22, 2013 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  11. vic , nashville ,tn

    Global warming is not true, government wants to control how much energy you can use
    Gun don’t kill people, just government wants to take your guns away
    I live in south people believe those ,its hard explain them that gun kill people andt Global warming is true

    January 22, 2013 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  12. Boo

    I laugh when I read some of the comments from "conservatives." It's like they all came out of their collective comas when Bush left office....what a pathetic bunch of whiners!

    January 22, 2013 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  13. GOP= Greed Over People (Party)

    Tea baggers bashing in 5 4 3 2 1...

    January 22, 2013 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  14. Steve Thompson

    In earlier times the Tea Party would have argued that the earth was flat and also the center of the universe. We need to act on important issues like global warming. Sadly I fear there are not enough backbones to keep our congress straight in their chairs when it comes time to take important votes. We the people are to blame because we keep sending these same idiots back to Washington each election cycle.

    January 22, 2013 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  15. Rick McDaniel

    In a word......NO! Absolutely NOT!

    Not unless you really want to be a peasant, reliant on welfare.

    January 22, 2013 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  16. Rudy NYC

    from the article:

    By a 53%-43% margin, people questioned in the poll say that main focus of the federal government should be on developing a plan that would allow undocumented immigrants to become legal residents, rather than deporting them.
    ---------------------–
    As much as I dislike the idea of not deporting illegals, the logistics of deporting thousands or millions of people would be a political disaster, both at home and abroad. Deporting many illegals of hispanic origin may preent some unique problems.

    I've known many people from Central and South America who were here illegally, though I had no concrete proof of it. Apparently racial discrimmination in the western hemisphere isn't limited to the US. Some of their neighbors would whisper about how "such and such" wasn't from the cities, but was actually a someone born from the jungle.

    These people had no birth records. If you tried to deport them, which country do you send them to? Their country of origin would tell that they have no record of the individual and would be corect in rejecting an attempt to deport them into that particular country. I've also learned that a significant portion of illegals from Central and South America are illegal for this simple reason: that they lack any documentation from their country of origin because they never had any in the first place.

    January 22, 2013 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  17. Alyson Stewart

    These are our priorities...when unemployment is high, our deficit is out of control, terrorism has once again killed Americans, and among poverty is up. He is deluded.

    January 22, 2013 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  18. MeapersoninUS

    Yes in total agreement with my President, he's the best ever.

    January 22, 2013 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  19. Chester

    I find it so funny that the conservatives can not see pass their-- man I have never seen so much hate in my life. Always looking for the bad side, how about some good news for once in your life. It is time that you guys step back and see that you work for the american people we don't work for you. I agree with Boo I find it so funny on how the conservatives look at things. It s like you guy just came out from under a rock or something.

    January 22, 2013 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  20. Rudy NYC

    Steve Thompson wrote:

    In earlier times the Tea Party would have argued that the earth was flat and also the center of the universe. We need to act on important issues like global warming.
    ------------------–
    The Tea Party would have been against written language, mathematics, moving out of caves, and cooked food.

    January 22, 2013 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  21. AMERICAN

    Climate change is real. Billions of 'animals' pouring trillions of tons of pollutants into a self-contained atmosphere for the past two hundred years do change the 'chemistry' of our environment. Agree, disagree, embrace or deny – it doesn't matter what you personally think, frankly, when we see it happening all around us. For the good of humanity people should take this seriously. Its obviously not a 'fast' thing but it is a 'profound' thing and the simple fact is we – the humans – do have some control on our outcome, so why – except for profit or laziness – would we not do it?!

    January 22, 2013 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  22. Nash

    When a major party "cheats" in an attempt to win elections, you have got to wonder who they really stand for. The law passed in the absence of a lawmaker to give Republicans advantage in Virginia is yet another proof that Republicans cannot win without cheating and even that, they can't cheat very well as the last election tells us. At least Armstrong cheated and won, Republicans failed even when they overwhelmingly cheated in a majority of states. I foresee Democratic dominance at the Presidential level for at least another decade.

    January 22, 2013 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  23. Wilson

    @Nash

    When a major party "cheats" in an attempt to win elections, you have got to wonder who they really stand for. The law passed in the absence of a lawmaker to give Republicans advantage in Virginia is yet another proof that Republicans cannot win without cheating and even that, they can't cheat very well as the last election tells us. At least Armstrong cheated and won, Republicans failed even when they overwhelmingly cheated in a majority of states. I foresee Democratic dominance at the Presidential level for at least another decade.
    --------------------------------------
    Riiiiiiggghhhhttttt. And the 60+ districts that had 0 votes for Republicans and 104 – 140% voter turnout for democrats don't count as cheating?? Your credibility is shot.

    January 22, 2013 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  24. Jonquil

    Who cares if Climate Change is man-made or not? We know that our behavior can accelerate or compound it. If there's anything we should reasonably do to slow it down or halt it, we should be doing it. That was a misleading survey question or it wasn't interpreted after the fact, in the way it may have been to those polled.

    I'm a Democrat and I see Climate Change as a mix of lots of different factors. What I care about, is focusing on those factors humans have control over.

    January 22, 2013 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  25. Jules

    Let's end all disaster relief and then see how many people think we should be doing something about climate change.

    January 22, 2013 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
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