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. GortRules

    As Widow pointed out, this is just another Obama misdirect. He's got zero answers on jobs and the economy, so instead he's going to focus like a laser on issues that really aren't issues or have no real answer. To the 50.6% who voted for this guy....what were you thinking?

    Question for the day: Is Obama's "we must make the hard choices" comment or Pelosi's "we have to pass it so you can find out what's in it" comment going to be the defining statement regarding ObamaCare?

    January 22, 2013 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  2. Patriot

    Squigman, you are a high school dropout if you think that over $17 trillion in debt is all part of growing and expanding. Get some education you are a disgrace.

    January 22, 2013 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  3. Big Al

    "The president warned in his Monday address that failure to respond to climate change "would betray our children and future generations."

    Wonder what CNN and its democrat party would be saying if the "Dust Bowl" era was presently upon us?

    "The Dust Bowl was the name given to the Great Plains region devastated by drought in 1930s depression-ridden America. The 150,000-square-mile area, encompassing the Oklahoma and Texas panhandles and neighboring sections of Kansas, Colorado, and New Mexico, has little rainfall, light soil, and high winds, a potentially destructive combination. When drought struck from 1934 to 1937, the soil lacked the stronger root system of grass as an anchor, so the winds easily picked up the loose topsoil and swirled it into dense dust clouds, called "black blizzards." Recurrent dust storms wreaked havoc, choking cattle and pasture lands and driving 60 percent of the population from the region. Most of these "exodusters" went to agricultural areas first and then to cities, especially in the Far West."

    January 22, 2013 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  4. Craig

    What a bunch of garbage these polls are. What questions were used and how were they posed? Polls can be completely flip-flopped, depending on how one asks the question. Interesting that they did not included that information. Lemmings.

    January 22, 2013 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  5. The Real Tom Paine

    -Ancient Texan

    Widow- You have explained the situation 100% correctly, but the Obamabots won't read your contribution, or if they do will be venomous in rebuttal.
    *****************
    Yes, she did give the accepted Party Line well, and she did it in authentic Right-Wing gibberish, complete with mangled syntax and grammar. I can see why you lapped it up like a dutiful Objectivist tool. When will you be moving to Glenn Beck's planned community, where you can live the life Ayn Rand envisioned? All you have to do is help him come up with 2 Billion dollars to fund his little Utopia.

    January 22, 2013 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  6. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Soon Christians will be thrown to the lions."

    Oh, goody. More GOPer circus talk to lighten up the conversation. Including Zoo animals (to bolster up the debate).

    January 22, 2013 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  7. The Real Tom Paine

    -Ancient Texan

    The president won with 51% of the vote. 47% did not vote for him and another large percentage of the population that were registered voters diidn't vote for anybody. So to say the entire nation is happy with the outcome may not be correct. AN estimated 20 million evangelical Conservatives stayed home on election day for whatever reason, but just may finally come alive in 2014 and insert sanity back into the equation.
    ***********************
    How will they insert sanity into the equation? Will they tell us that evolution is a lie from the Pit of hell, or will we be discussing legitimate rape again? They don't care about the country, all they care about are their souls, and as a committed follower of Ayn Rand, you have to reject Christianity as a tool of the State and a means of interfering with your philosophy of extreme self-interest. Don't you read the memos from the RNC anymore?

    January 22, 2013 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    "A focus on gay and lesbian rights and climate change during a time of economic disaster looming speaks volumes about the president.'

    A focus on gay and lesbian rights and climate change during a time of economic disaster looming speaks volumes about the MSM. The fact that you get distracted and assume that the MSM's chosen narrative of pushing the hot-button issue and taking the focus of THEIR REPORTING off the economy and jobs, and taht you assume based on that REPORTING that Obama's somehow not planning to address economic issues...that speaks volumes about YOU.

    January 22, 2013 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  9. Larry

    First, just because he talked about climate change and immigration doesn't mean every other issue is giong to be ignored completely. I know, I just lost the republican crowd who are sure I'm wrong. Climate change and immigration do deserve some time in the discussion room so this is just a start of that discussion (no need to panic and start shooting people republicans just take it easy). A little more effort to discover and use other energy sources won't kill anyone, I hope the oil, gas, and coal back me up here, and immigration will require jobs to immigrate to so perhaps the state of the economy will have some impact on it.

    January 22, 2013 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  10. Craig

    The Statists made up their mind on "climate change" years ago and will not listen to an alternate opinion on the subject.

    Interesting how China and India have been installing coal-burning power plants at the pace of about 1 per week for the last ten years, yet the global temperature (per the green-nuts 100% accurate system of measurement) has not gone up. Evidently, it is only the behavior of the United States that affects global temperature.

    I'm still waiting for someone to explain how the Earth has experienced multiple ice-ages, followed by warming periods where all the ice melted, all before people even existed. How did that happen without MAN affecting the climate?

    I'm not saying man does not have the ability to affect the climate, but to consider the Statist's version of climate change as "settled science" is horribly pretentious, and extremely premature.

    January 22, 2013 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    "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."

    Which means that the MSM will now focus with tunnel-vision on that issue and other hot-button issues he raised in order to rile up the right wing rabble and get them all worked up over the incalculably illogical assumption that "if the MSM isn't reporting about what Obama's doing on the economy, then that means he's not doing anything." He raised some controversial issues we have to address as a nation and a society. Does that mean he's focusing on them to the exclusion of all else? No. If you believe that's the case just because the MSM sees the controversial issues as red meat to throw at the most radicalized groups in the populace, then you're a complete and utter freekin idiot and deserve to be led around by a nose ring like the MSM is doing to you. The reality is, after the GOP/Teatrolls' epic fail on the debt ceiling, fiscal cliff and, soon to be, the budget, the economic issues just aren't as controversial anymore, so the MSM is shifting focus to the ones that can be leveraged into better click-bait. Once again, ad revenue rules ALL
    "journalistic" decision making.

    January 22, 2013 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  12. Ali

    Sounds like it's the same old same old. Give poll respondents a choice between only deporting everyone or amnestying everyone, with no mention of enforcing the law so that illegal aliens will leave. Nice way to rig your answers.

    January 22, 2013 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  13. Sniffit

    "Climate change and immigration do deserve some time in the discussion room "

    They both also have massive affects on the economy, jobs and future economic conditions, so the entire Teatroll ranting hissy fit about "OMG Obama's not addressing the economy" is just more proof that when the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. No, GOPers/Teatrolls, "tax cuts" are not the only think to be discussed and talked about when addressing economic issues...there will be myriad other very important aspects to any solution we craft.

    January 22, 2013 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  14. Name Trish

    Of course these polls are bogus!! Especially from CNN, and other biased news stations. Just puppets, no real journalism. I wasn't polled. Hmmmm, imagine that, you never see anyone with hard facts against Obama get any time. I want to know about the spending, the deficit, economy, jobs, you know CNN, real news things, important things!! You actually had someone reporting on what Michelle was wearing, who cares!! That is not news, and btw, she looked like she should be at a night club, no respect!!

    January 22, 2013 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  15. darth vader's daughter

    I am sure he should be focusing on back door banking so the great legal citizens of the United States don't incur another fiscal clift. Sorry people free rat gifts gives you fiscal clift!

    January 22, 2013 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  16. Wilson

    @The Real Tom Paine

    -Ancient Texan

    Widow- You have explained the situation 100% correctly, but the Obamabots won't read your contribution, or if they do will be venomous in rebuttal.
    *****************
    Yes, she did give the accepted Party Line well, and she did it in authentic Right-Wing gibberish, complete with mangled syntax and grammar. I can see why you lapped it up like a dutiful Objectivist tool. When will you be moving to Glenn Beck's planned community, where you can live the life Ayn Rand envisioned? All you have to do is help him come up with 2 Billion dollars to fund his little Utopia.
    ---------------------------------
    I keep seeing this "Ayn Rand" mentioned. Usually to denigrade the right. I'm not familiar with that name. Being a conservative leaning independent, I guess it is time to do some research.

    January 22, 2013 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  17. mike

    We need to focus on many different issues amongst global warning here may be a few ways to reduce pollution.solar energy thermal energy or wind powered.as for industrial plants they should put in some kind of filtering system to reduce emissions.as for immigration the government should conduct a international background check gathering up their public records to see if they have a criminal record with no felonies to be able to come into the united states.we don't want terrorism to repeat itself so therefore background checking is essential to the process before and legalization to become a u.s citizen also might I include history of any mental illnesses should checked into as well.

    January 22, 2013 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  18. don in albuquerque

    Ummmm Craig, have you happened to check out any photos of China lately. Much worse, MUCH, MUCH worse then the brown cloud floating over Denver. And just think we showed em how to do it by golly. We should be so proud.

    January 22, 2013 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  19. dt

    We aren't paying our current bills and people on here think tax cuts are the answer? Ok. I consider myself a liberal so I like the idea of a retirement that Mitt Romney can't sell off if he ever controls my company. Thats a good thing in my eyes. But not paying for it? That makes even less sense. What also makes little to no sense is the dogmatic approach of "if we aren't paying our bills, we have to spend less"... Why can't we just pay the bills? Its not that difficult. If you really don't like the social programs out there which allow this ridiculous market economy to run wild, then cut them. But ACTUALLY CUT THEM. Don't just say you'll cut them, and then lower taxes, and then keep the spending. Thats the Republican signature. Actually cut spending and see what happens. Well, they know what will happen. Cowards and liars.

    Most people don't understand that when you talk about governments, SPENDING is actually good. Without financing, government is actually not capable of running at a net loss. People dont understand that.

    January 22, 2013 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  20. Larry L

    @Craig

    I'm still waiting for someone to explain how the Earth has experienced multiple ice-ages, followed by warming periods where all the ice melted, all before people even existed. How did that happen without MAN affecting the climate?
    ================================================================================================
    Get somebody to explain the concept of a curve... It's the rate of change that is impacted by man's activities. We've always had climate change – but other than after catastrophic events like meteor strikes or major volcanic eruptions, we've never seen the rate of change so steep. The science works – as evidenced by the now almost 100% agreement from the scientific community on that fact. Do you really believe the liberals of the world have conspired to attack the oil industry? A few oil industry "scientists" still claim to reject the science but nobody with valid credentials is left to voice their objections. Just the fossil fuel industry lobby, Fox News drones, Dr. Limbaugh and Dr. Beck.

    January 22, 2013 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  21. Tea party supporter

    Give illegals U.S. citizenship.

    NEVER.

    January 22, 2013 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    Big Al...

    You neglected to mention why "the soil lacked a stronger root system of grass as an anchor.". It was because the farmers over worked the land to grow wheat until it would not grow anymore. In spite of the warnings about the climate systems of that time in that region, the farmers continued to try to work the soil because they were greedy for the money that came earlier from a healthy wheat market. Prior to the settlement and over working of the land, that region was lush with natural vegetation with deep roots and rich soil. The dust bowl was an artifact of the free market and greedy men. Sounds a lot like today's financial industry!

    January 22, 2013 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  23. Dave

    The people that don't believe in global warming are the same people that don't believe in science, and that the Earth was created, literally, in 7 days (including the 7th day for rest). Just because the can't understand it...IT DOES NOT EXIST.

    January 22, 2013 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  24. Liberty

    ‎"I have often wondered at the smugness with which people assert their right to enslave me, to control my work, to force my will, to violate my conscience, to stifle my mind—yet what is it that they expect to depend on, when they lie on an operating table under my hands? Their moral code has taught them to believe that it is safe to rely on the virtue of their victims. Well, that is the virtue I have withdrawn." – Atlas Shrugged

    January 22, 2013 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  25. SOUTHERN HOTTIE

    @ Ancient Texan

    You're exactly just that. Ancient. Go away, please.

    January 22, 2013 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
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