CNN Poll: Do Americans agree with Obama on climate change and immigration?
January 22nd, 2013
05:00 AM ET
2 years 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. not in WI

    So let me get this straight. We don't want our grandkids to face bad weather, but its okay to leave them a mountain of debt?

    January 22, 2013 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  2. penguin

    I like how the right wing nuts claim polls are biased in favor of liberal positions and then baldly claim the vast majority of the Nation's citizens believe in the conservative philosophy. They must still believe what's his name won the election

    January 22, 2013 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  3. blf83

    As Sarah the aPALlINg would not say in this instance, "You betcha!" The majority of US citizens want the President to be able to accomplish much on these priorities.

    January 22, 2013 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  4. Sniffit

    "The last cry of the intellectually impotent."

    It's tempting to ask who needs Grover Norquist's bathtubs to drown stuff in when we can just wait for the intellectually insipid who follow him and his ilk to "darwin' themselves, but I suppose the answer is that these idiots will take all of us and everything we love with them just out of spite in response to reality simply refusing to obey their ideology.

    January 22, 2013 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  5. Lynda/Minnesota

    grams

    Take a look at the temps in the upper midwest,,,,,All are way below zero..The west suffered freezing temps for almost 2 weeks, setting record lows....Global warming is a big farce.
    ----------------------–

    Yes, today and a few other days we've experienced typical upper mid-west "below zero" weather. However, not nearly as many sub zero days as we are generally accustomed to suffering through in a January – February time frame. Neither has it been my experience in Minnesota to suffer through a full month of 100+ degrees, which sadly, HAS become the new norm in Minnesota this past decade ... give or take a few in between months. Minnesota has never been prone to droughts either ... which we've now been under for a few years as well. Very little rain, very little snow. Climate change, I expect.

    January 22, 2013 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  6. FajitaBob

    AHA! It doesn mater what you say. I have now free hospital free rents and all card for grocrery! And I have broght my family in to vote (we won)! You can no stop us takeing back our Mexico country! Now will all be Untied Stat de Mexico! Viva! This prove how stupid America to give us! Obamba give me all free! Soon the Fajita be el Presidente de US on your next vote! VIVA!!! We take all moneys fom rich give to me famly bring more famly to US! VIVA!

    January 22, 2013 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  7. Pete

    Just remember Bushs paid actors in lab coats debunking Al Gores climatechange and was caught red handed..Or how Pres.Carters solar panels were taken down by Reagan because he believed in nuclear proliferation over climate change being put all Americas money into nuclear weapons and to hell with everyone else,middleclass,poor and otherwise..That's the history of republicans ,all wars ,all debacles no matter as long as it doesn't effect them,just like todays 2% protected by a republican led congress and senate,they haven't changed its just more publized...

    January 22, 2013 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  8. snowyowl

    Let's get one thing straight: While there is a political controversy over human-induced climate change, there is no scientific controversy. The science says that human-induced climate change is a fact. The political issue is: Are we going to let willful ignorance and greed trump sensible climate policy?

    January 22, 2013 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  9. Larry L

    @not in WI

    So let me get this straight. We don't want our grandkids to face bad weather, but its okay to leave them a mountain of debt?
    ================================================================================================== Debt will be the least of their worries if they become homeless refugees without food and challenged by unmanageable medical and social problems. That's an increasingly realistic scenario if the trends aren't in some way mitigated. It's possible to address more than one problem at a time – especially when the President and Vice President aren't oilmen in bed with big oil.

    January 22, 2013 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  10. John

    What is wrong with people? It DOES NOT MATTER if people caused it-what matters is, is it a problem large enough to care about? And then, if it is, is there anything we can do about it?

    For what it is worth, building a fire adds warmth, not cold-th. So the human contribution has been warming not cooling. SO what, we need warmth to survive. Either way it is not a matter of politics. It is a matter of our continuing survival. So decide if it matters and go from there. You are a moron if you are hung up in a blame game. And blinded by stupidity if you still think it is not real. It is real, now do something besides avoid responsibility.

    January 22, 2013 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  11. Dick Guzinia

    Partisan, arrogant, marxist, neighborhood organizer.
    Dangerous in the extreme. Wrecking the country.

    January 22, 2013 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  12. Fair is Fair

    Sniffit

    99% of scientists agree on what the objective, measurable, observable data is and what it shows about climate change: MSM reports on scientists' conclusions as though it's all up for debate and oh-so-dubious and that denial and skepticism is a legitimate position.
    ------
    Not saying that "climate change" isn't occurring. What I, personally, am skeptical about is whether it's being caused by man or if it's part of the earth's natural cycle... if the former, what can be done about it, and if the latter, understanding that nothing can be done about it. The Vikings didn't call what they discovered "Greenland" because it was a big chunk of ice.

    January 22, 2013 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  13. The Real Tom Paine

    -just askin

    The Real Tom Paine
    -just askin
    so was the poll taken in new york or california or massachusetts? i doubt that 814 people were evenly distributed around the country. 60% of urban voters support obama, 43% of suburban voters support obama and only 27% of rural voters support obama. want to skew a poll? that how you do it.
    *******************
    So are we to conclude the incrediably accurate polls that FOX and Dick Morris used were taken solely in Texas and Nebraska?
    --–

    what does any of this have to do with cnn's poll? i was simply pointing out how easily a poll could be skewed. I could produce a poll that showed the usa was located in europe if i polled 814 people on the beach in southern california. location of responders does matter. surely you are not saying that is untrue?
    *****************************
    No, I am not. And you conveniently left off the rest of my post in your effort to skew my point in your favor. I was agreeing with you, actually, but you screamed about CNN's bias as though THAT were unique. No poll is ever totally unbaised, but you act as though bias is a creature of CNN alone. Surely you are not saying that is true.

    January 22, 2013 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  14. Rudy NYC

    Dean wrote:

    No mention of jobs......guess Obama knows he can't do anything about them so he changes focus.
    ------------------
    Jobs? That is not typical inauguration speech material. That's more State of the Union to me, where you present your vision to the Congress and the nation how you as POTUS intend to tackle the problems and challenges facing the nation now and in the future.

    Besides, don't conservatives always say that government doesn't create jobs. That the private sector creates jobs. Remember how enthusiastically the right wing disagreed with "you didn't build that"? Remember? They asserted that government had nothing to do with job creation. That all job creation was performed by the private sector. Remember?

    "Nice try, but we gotcha."

    January 22, 2013 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  15. Healthcare

    Wait until more of the Obamacare goes into effect year end 2013: The approval rating will slip under 40%. We'd be far better off with a universal plan at this point.

    January 22, 2013 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  16. The Real Tom Paine

    -Sniffit

    "The last cry of the intellectually impotent."

    It's tempting to ask who needs Grover Norquist's bathtubs to drown stuff in when we can just wait for the intellectually insipid who follow him and his ilk to "darwin' themselves, but I suppose the answer is that these idiots will take all of us and everything we love with them just out of spite in response to reality simply refusing to obey their ideology.
    *************
    Of course they will. It fits their apocolyptic view of the world nicely, so they can kill us all with a Psalm on their lips. When all else fails, make a conspiracy up out of thin air, then make it become a self-fulfilling prophesy.

    January 22, 2013 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  17. pjoe

    Of course not all Americans agree with the President's agenda. When has that ever happened?

    The President won. Gay rights, global warming, and big government will be his priorities. That's what the people who supported him voted for ... so expect it.

    January 22, 2013 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  18. Sniffit

    "AHA! It doesn mater what you say. I have now free hospital free rents and all card for grocrery! And I have broght my family in to vote (we won)! You can no stop us takeing back our Mexico country! Now will all be Untied Stat de Mexico! Viva! This prove how stupid America to give us! Obamba give me all free! Soon the Fajita be el Presidente de US on your next vote! VIVA!!! We take all moneys fom rich give to me famly bring more famly to US! VIVA!"

    And there we have it. The Teatrolls hate America's middle-class so much, they even outsource their astroturf comment board trolls.

    January 22, 2013 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  19. Geezustakethewheel

    Here we go again – another CNN liberal poll.

    January 22, 2013 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  20. Sniffit

    "Take a look at the temps in the upper midwest,,,,,All are way below zero..The west suffered freezing temps for almost 2 weeks, setting record lows....Global warming is a big farce."

    Yes, long-term data trends and piles of scientific collected data from longitudinal studies of tens of decades in length...those are all disproven by a day or two worth of anecdotal "evidence."

    January 22, 2013 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  21. Wake up People!

    I'm no scientist or climatologist so I can't say whether it's all mans fault. Actually I doubt it is only due to us human beings. But I can tell you last year Michigan had the mildest winter ever. I have lived here my entire life and I never remember a March that was warmer. We had around 20 days of 80 temps. That definitely isn't normal. I actually went to middle Michigan(closer to the thumb area) for a funeral on March 16. I was there for about 5 days and each and every day I wore either a summer dress, capris and even shorts. That is definitely not the norm for Michigan. We also experienced a heck of a drought last summer. I do believe this is something we need to know a lot more about.

    January 22, 2013 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  22. Dan

    If we're going to address climate change and carbon output, it needs to be done in a way that doesn't kill the economy and doesn't just result in carbon output being shifted to China. Kyoto seemed more about global redistribution of wealth than climate change and China and India built huge numbers of coal plants.. Also, don't allow Goldman Sachs or any of the big financial companies to manage or even own a stake in it. Goldman owned 10% of the Chicago carbon exchange that was being pushed previously.

    January 22, 2013 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  23. UDidntBuildThat

    Larry L... It's possible to address more than one problem at a time – especially when the President and Vice President aren't oilmen in bed with big oil.
    _____________________________
    No Obama & Biden are in bed with their environmentalists campaign contributors (Solyndra & Ever Green) and Wall Street, GE, Goldman Sachs etc. I guess that's much better than Bush right?

    So the economy is not big deal right? High unemployment, higher gas, food, clothing prices, & middle class making less and less since Obam took office – no problem. Everything is all A-OK. Under Bush huge problem but not now. The main problems we face is climate change and oh lets flood our economy with more workers & give all illegals amnesty. Their votes are need to keep Dems in office.

    Hey America while u were under the wave of HOPE and CHANGE, your gas bill double, groceries went up, health insurance went up, cost of living went up, unemployment stagnat, economic recovery stagnant, debt increase the most, middle class income declines every year. All this happened when Obama promised this would not happen. Yet u voted for more of the same. So lets enjoy more of the same. As long as their is a DEM in the WH, its all good!

    January 22, 2013 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  24. Squigman

    Debt, debt, debt, debt, debt. It's even money that most of the people giving comments about the (so called) debt crisis, are the ones most to blame for the debt crisis to begin with. It would be nice to know if all of you (so called) conservatives, are completely debt free. No credit card debt. No Mortgage. No unpaid bills of any kind. Do any of you have a business? If so, it's more than likely that you have, or have access to some form of revolving credit line. You have to have this to stay in business, and expand. But to read some of the comments on this site one would think that no debt is ever needed by any person, or group of people. Get off your high horse for once. Realize that most of your worries and frets about the future are purposely put in your heads by a news media hell bent on keeping the masses stampeded. The masses kept off balance are easily controlled. Get hep to this fact for once. WAKE-UP.

    January 22, 2013 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  25. Sniffit

    "Do Americans agree with Obama on climate change and immigration?"

    Haha..."real" Americans do....

    /ketchup chips

    January 22, 2013 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
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