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. Lynda/Minnesota

    " the average Tea Party member is much better educated than the average American citizen."

    Yeah, well. If I lived in GlennBeckistan I could maybe see your point. However, I don't. See your point, that is. Or live in GlennBeckistan. I hear that he is planning a "retreat" on a grand scale similar to what Tammy Faye and Jimmy Baker tried back in the day. Let us know how that all works out once it's up and running.

    January 22, 2013 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  2. Larry L

    @Ancient Texan
    =================================================================================================
    Why would anybody be surprised to find that a group of older, white males would be better educated than the average citizen? They're also somewhat wealthier and predominately identify themselves as Republicans. Nobody is suggesting that demographic faces any unusual barriers to gaining an education or acquiring wealth. That population is also quite likely to be more "evangelical" and has more than a share of racists – as evidenced by the signs and slogans proudly displayed at Tea Party rallies before they started coaching their members to stop. It's angry old white people funded by the Koch brothers. Duh.

    January 22, 2013 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  3. jerseydevils76

    White unemployment is 6%. Black unemployment is 14%. And the focus is on Global Warming? Our economic recovery is at a crawl and this is his focus. Wow. New Norm, isn't that what they call it?

    January 22, 2013 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  4. Fair is Fair

    Rudy says:

    "The Stimulus, which the right wing publicly hated so much, was actually 40% tax cuts and credits. There was a tax cut included for middle class income levels, which has since been made permanent. This cut went beyond the "Bush Tax Cuts" for the middle class. It is also a significant contributor to our annual deficit and growing national debt."
    --------
    Untrue. Please be specific. WHICH FEDERAL taxes are lower NOW than they were on 1/20/2009, as you stated? YOU CANT. If you try, you will be found wrong. So tell the class Rudy... and be SPECIFIC.

    January 22, 2013 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  5. al

    President Reagan gave amnesty to about 10 million illegals and in doing so made taxpayers out of them. We should be doing the same in order to help balance our budget.

    January 22, 2013 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  6. rla

    the chief ideologue is still an ideologue

    January 22, 2013 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  7. Our Republic

    What do you get from this?
    Is it worth the freedom of future generations?

    January 22, 2013 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  8. blake

    Classic far left nonsense. Interesting that Obama avoided these issues during the campaign. The man is shameless.

    January 22, 2013 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  9. Suemac in WA

    He let the real leader get away through the demonizing of the press and administration. Romney would have tackled the real issues that threaten our future – the economu. Everything pales in comparison. Now we just sit back and wait for the dollar to tank.

    January 22, 2013 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  10. Rudy NYC

    Wilson wrote:

    Hmmmm, by the evidence that I see; each paycheck has dropped $52, deductions have decreased, extra taxes due to obamacare....give me some of the koolaide you are drinking, smoking, whatever, then I might be able to be happy about such a false outlook as well.
    --------------------
    That's not middle class income levels. You are also comparing 2012 net income with 2013, which is totally ignorant of the fact that I specifially mentinoed 2009 compared to 2013. Do the math, or have someone do it for you. You're paying less now.

    January 22, 2013 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  11. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    The climate is changing, and we are a part of it. People need to think where the deniers are coming from: anti-environmental groups, various industries that make money from fossil fuels like coal and oil, groups on the right that don't want business restricted in any way and those that don't understand the science thinking that humans can't have an impact on the planet. We need to do something and soon.

    We need to have changes done. I believe that changing fuel sources that power our world need to be completed soon. Fission power plans are good as long as there are several changes; need to develop reactors that can use the waste products from the reprocessing cycle; old reactors need to be more throughly inspected; new reactors need to be able to withstand earthquakes of at least 9 even in non-fault areas; passive safety features that would secure the radioactive material in case of problems; and secure creation, reprocessing and movement of all radioactive materials for fission power plants. This is to keep us going until fusion can be developed and wind, solar and wave technologies can be more consistantly fed into the power grid.

    January 22, 2013 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  12. Michael,Chapel Hill

    Reagan amnest emboldened illegls. More of them came. Now Obama election was based on his last minute policy of illegals. When the election of a Democracy could be hijacked thru the influx of people from another country, it is bizzare.It is conquering another nation.
    Also, cities and towns and busniness owners who cannot see beyon their own existence, tax ordinary law abiding citizens to provice for the illegals.
    Obama won an election thru last minute policy declaration on illegals...if it is want the nation wants US should not have an Immigration and Naturalization Service and we should open free immigration to everyone who lands in the US.

    January 22, 2013 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  13. Larry L

    @SuperD

    Global Warming is just like Obamacare.....It has nothing to do with Heathcare! and nothing to do with climate change. It's just another scam to regulate and control people.
    ================================================================================================== I see you've been listening to "Dr. Rush Limbaugh" the noted scientific expert on uh.. well.. nothing. The world's scientific community is finally in strong agreement regarding man's role in exacerbating the rate of climate change and even the outliers Rush once quoted have come on-board. Ignorance is not a virtue and rejection of science and medicine is one reason why the ultra-conservative has become a relic to our society.

    Healthcare was and is in crisis – with costs rising 7-9% per year. It's crippling our economy and will soon become the largest slice of the family budget – driving people out of their homes and still delivering below-average care. It had to get fixed and the Republicans offered absolutely nothing – except a Republican plan called "Romneycare". It was the model for Obamacare. Math is something right-wingers ignore when if conflicts with their revised reality.

    January 22, 2013 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  14. geggyg

    @fair is fair
    For low or middle income earners the tax rates are the same in 2013 as they were in 2009 , however the income thresholds when the different tax rates cut in have been increased so these taxpayers do pay less Fed income tax , basically everyone who less than $400,000 a yr pays less Fed income tax now than in 2009

    January 22, 2013 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  15. Namenic

    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.

    Proof republican voters are more subject to propaganda campaigns

    January 22, 2013 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  16. Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair demanded:

    Untrue. Please be specific. WHICH FEDERAL taxes are lower NOW than they were on 1/20/2009, as you stated? YOU CANT. If you try, you will be found wrong. So tell the class Rudy... and be SPECIFIC.
    -----------
    I don't normally conduct classes, but I do make exceptions when it comes to special education. The expanded the earned income credit for the lower income levels, and made a permanent adjustment to the Alternative Minimum Tax rates.

    January 22, 2013 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  17. betterdays

    Well, starting today we're more than halfway through this situation. Purely from the standpoint of time, that is. I haven't factored the collateral structural damage aspect.

    January 22, 2013 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  18. erin

    "49% agree with the White House that global warming is a proven fact"
    It's official. 51% of the American public are certified idiots.

    January 22, 2013 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  19. Fair is Fair

    "The expanded the earned income credit for the lower income levels, and made a permanent adjustment to the Alternative Minimum Tax rates."
    ------–
    An earned income credit applies only to middle class families with children under 18. The alternative minimum tax RARELY hits the middle class. Care to try again?

    January 22, 2013 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  20. The Elephant in the Room

    It is hard to look at the full slendor of the world and universe, it`s complexity, the vastness of the oceans & the splendor of mountains and valleys and not see some type of "intelligent design". It`s hard to say that we are here by "pure luck".

    But look Republicans, face the facts, the Earth is far older than 6,000 years old and that we humans are chaninging the chemistry of the world by way of our means of energy consumption.

    A car in a closed garage changes the chemistry when it runs from one that can support life to one which will destroy it. The same number of "oxide" compounds & elements are in the garage but they shift in an unhealthy way – just like climate change.

    January 22, 2013 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  21. dreamer96

    Dick Cheney, and GHWBush two men that worked their lives in the oil industry... For example Dick Cheney used his powers as head of NASA to order any scientific papers on Global Warming to be rewritten, or blocked from ever being published...The head of New York's Goddard space fight center, James E. Hansen, spoke publicly in 2004 about how Dick Cheney and GHWBush worked hard to block science research on Global Warming from reaching the general public, from ever being published...And GHWBush also made known cancer causing chemicals used in Natural Gas Fracking Wells, exempt from any control by the EPA....

    We could be growing our own oil safely using Algae farms....In 2009 Continental Airlines first flight tested 100% Algae jet fuel ..Their first passenger jet flight was Nov. 7th 2011..We could grow our oil safely on Algae farms and save our best underground water for drinking and much needed food crops...

    January 22, 2013 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  22. California Gary

    I got such a kick this morning hearing about the GOP complaining that there was no bi-partisanship in the president's speech. What a hoot........for the past four years they have rebuffed any and all efforts at bi-partisanship in their quest to make Obama a one term president. Now they have the nerve to ask "where is the bi-partisanship?".......yeah, right. Meet the new "in your face" Obama.......you should like him.......you basically created him.

    January 22, 2013 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  23. Andrew

    Global warming is natural event that man is helping speed up with pollution to the point the earth cannot keep up with any longer. The earth goes through climate changes like the droughts as well as ice ages by itself. The earth can recover itself, only if it is allowed to do so. If mankind can care take it's lawns to keep them green, it's up to us to take care of the earth. I think eventually the earth will shake us off like a dog shaking off fleas.

    January 22, 2013 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  24. Bob

    The economy is crap and Obama talks about the weather?

    Those weather crackpots have no credibility, could Obama possibly pick a more unimportant issue?

    January 22, 2013 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  25. Larry L

    Arguing taxes with Rudy NYC is always bad idea.

    I am curious as to why historically, an inverse relationship seems to exist between tax rates and the health of our economy. We had high rates during the Clinton years and the Bush tax cuts during the crash of our economy. Shouldn't the "job creators" have rushed in to a weak market and invested their capital when opportunity was "golden"? It appears to me they simply sat on their money, increased outsourcing, living large while the middle-class struggled. Why then does this trickle-down argument tend to constantly surface from the Republicans? Is is simply a ruse to protect the wealth of a relative few?

    January 22, 2013 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
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