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. Greatly concerned

    Worst president ever.

    January 22, 2013 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  2. Nancy

    I agree with fedup, our country needs to stop entitlements. If you work and cannot make it, that is fine. In my business I see people that have not worked a day in their life in our country get social security, food stamps, prescriptions for $3.30 and $1.10 copay and still complain that prescriptions were free before, and get phones. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out who has worked and who has not.

    January 22, 2013 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  3. Larry L

    @SuperD

    Did it ever occur to you that if even Climate Change (or whatever you want to call it) even if it were true (it's not). The utter idea that man could do something to make the Earth change is a narcissit view.
    =================================================================================================== The need to deny facts could be called "delusion" defined as: "An idiosyncratic belief or impression maintained despite being contradicted by reality or rational argument, typically as a symptom of mental disorder". Study the actual science before you speak. Do not use Fox News as your source of scientific information and challenge the credentials of those you quote.

    January 22, 2013 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  4. Dean

    Global warming, immigration.........................Hey Obama how about some jobs????????

    January 22, 2013 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  5. Amy in Cali

    Any solution to illegal immigration STARTS with ensuring that another 20 million illegal immigrants don't invade the USA over the next 10 years. That means the southern border must be fenced and defended. After that I would recommend adopting the very same laws Mexico has in place. They are far harsher than our own. Why should the USA, and the American taxpayer, ALWAYS be played for suckers? No other country on the planet has the open borders that we do. Enough is enough.

    January 22, 2013 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  6. just sayin

    well it is sooo refreshing to know we can move on to other more pressing issues now that the economy is fixed and everybody is back to work and we aren't running trillion dollar yearly deficits anymore.... unbelieveable.

    January 22, 2013 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  7. chuck finley

    There is NO journalism on tv with the exception of Fox. The media are a bunch of leftists who are almost 100% in the bag for the President. They leftists act like he is a god, they worship him because he is promoting socilism

    January 22, 2013 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  8. Scrappyike

    Did CNN survey people at the Immigration office? Really.....There are many more other priorities than immigration reform.

    January 22, 2013 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  9. penguin

    I'm convinced we're a Nation of mostly idiots who lack mathematical and scientific reasoning skills. We are fed information that , if heard often enough, becomes "truth". For example, the top "income" earners are job creators who create jobs with the money saved with the Bush tax cuts. No statement could be further the truth. Or the earth is only 6,000 years old because some guy's read of the Bible says that how old the earth is. I see no hope for mankind

    January 22, 2013 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  10. Al-NY,NY

    chuck finley

    There is NO journalism on tv with the exception of Fox. The media are a bunch of leftists who are almost 100% in the bag for the President. They leftists act like he is a god, they worship him because he is promoting socilism
    ----------------------

    BWWAAAAAAAAA! I nearly lost my lunch reading this. "Fox news said Obama is a socialist, so he is. Fox says Obama is an alien from the planet Krypton, so he is. Fox says"....well you can all fill the blanks with whatever Faux Snews will say next and this mindless drone will regurgitate it as gospel

    January 22, 2013 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  11. LetusBeObjective

    Obama's top priority should be jobs, make rule that bring the investor back into the country, change the rules that don't work. Give incentive like tax breaks to corporations for number of job created within the border, to create investment and justification for taxing, which is required to reduce the deficit, make dollar valuable Obama should also focus on drilling and reducing gas prices to attract investment.

    January 22, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  12. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    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.
    -------------------------------------------------
    ABSOLUTAMENTE California Gary.
    Well stated.
    Meanwhile, I almost dropped dead whena Eric Cantor, no less, admitted that the President went to each and every table and shook hands with each and everyone.
    You can't make these people up, and evidently nothing THIS President does will make them happy. I am therefore very glad Gary that he's stopped trying to THEM happy and is concentrating on keeping US smiling.
    FORWARD with THIS President America.

    January 22, 2013 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  13. jerrymcm1970

    I always find it hilarious when news organizations poll the general public about complex scientific issues about which the vast majority have very limited knowledge.

    Try polling climate scientists exclusively and see what result you get.

    January 22, 2013 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  14. Bob

    This "Poll" was of 814 people called by phone. IE. virtually useless. Such a small sampling does NOT represent the citizens of the country .he vote for Obama was very nearly a half and half split but the press continues to ignore the fact that almost half of the country disagrees with him.... and as his policies take effect more will desert him.

    January 22, 2013 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  15. Larry L

    @Amy in Cali

    Any solution to illegal immigration STARTS with ensuring that another 20 million illegal immigrants don't invade the USA over the next 10 years. That means the southern border must be fenced and defended.
    =================================================================================================== Are you or your family members willing to pick the fruit, process the meat, do the brutal masonry work, landscape the lawns, of any of the other tasks we've relegated to immigrants? Maybe all we need is a national I.D. card required for each hiring action and financial transaction – renting homes, cashing checks, medical care, schools, etc. The card could be high-tech and difficult to replicate. It could give immigrants an opportunity to work limited by electronic coding on the card and data base. Employers would scan the card for every hiring and go to jail when they're caught violating the procedure. Why can't that work?

    January 22, 2013 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  16. Donna

    jerrymcm1970
    I always find it hilarious when news organizations poll the general public about complex scientific issues about which the vast majority have very limited knowledge.
    Try polling climate scientists exclusively and see what result you get.
    ------

    You mean the same ones that were predicting a new ice age in the seventies??? Or do you mean the ones that were caught manipulating the numbers to back up their bogus global warming contentions?

    January 22, 2013 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  17. VEW2012

    You bet WE the majority do agree with him.

    January 22, 2013 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  18. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Hey Obama how about some jobs????????
    -------------------------------------------------
    Please forward that concern to the congressmen that you elected in 2010.

    January 22, 2013 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  19. Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair wrote:

    Absolutely, positively UNTRUE. Our family had made over $50K for the past 20 years. We have NEVER been subjected to the AMT. What are you on???

    Oops, I almost forgot. The EIC does not apply to income levels that could remotely be called middle class, which has absolutely nothing to do with children. You are confusing another feature of the Stimulus which was only applied for two years."

    Nothing to do with children???????? Now I know you're blowing smoke. Here's the deal, Rudy... no children under 18, no EIC. Period. You're either woefully uninformed, or you're blatently spewing mistruths.
    --------------------
    Read what I wrote, not what you were looking for me to write. I was speaking about how the EIC applies to income levels, which means a middle income family with children under 18 does not qualify. It's all about your income level first and foremost, not whether or not you have children.

    Just because you are not aware of the AMT. does not mean you did not fall under its' jurisdiction. The AMT exemption was increased to ncreased to $48,450 ($74,450 if married filing jointly) in 2011. I suggest that you look it up. The "AMT exemption" means that incomes below that level do not need to recalculate as per AMT. If your income is over those levels then your taxes should have been calculated twice, and you should have paid the larger amount. I would stop bragging about not paying the AMT if I were you.

    January 22, 2013 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  20. Tommy G

    Obama's and the Democrats agenda is driven by the 2014 House and Senate elections. It has nothing to do with the needs of the country.

    January 22, 2013 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  21. John Geheran

    While I wish the President well, his "Damm the torpedoes , full ahead" spending and "big government" philosophy will almost certainly come back to haunt him, if not during his second term, then his successor's. To say he is playing with fire would be a gross understatement. Just ask anyone in Greece, Spain, Portugal, et al.

    January 22, 2013 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  22. ShawnDH

    Bob whined: "This "Poll" was of 814 people called by phone. IE. virtually useless. Such a small sampling does NOT represent the citizens of the country .he vote for Obama was very nearly a half and half split but the press continues to ignore the fact that almost half of the country disagrees with him.... and as his policies take effect more will desert him."
    _________________

    President Obama was the first president in over half a century to be elected with over 51% of the vote TWICE, and his inauguration attendance broke records for a first and second inauguration. I guess that's Americans abandoning Obama. Swing and a miss. Try again.

    January 22, 2013 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  23. Pam from Iowa

    I think we need to end Medicare for people like @Nancy!
    If she can condemn it, then obviously she will never need it and has amassed afew million in her 401K to pay all her medical bills with cash when she is no longer working!
    If her elderly Mother is getting Medicare coverage , it needs to end RIGHT NOW! Let them eat cake!!!

    January 22, 2013 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  24. LBLA

    I noticed that a balanced budget or putting any control on spending is not on the agenda. Nothing will happen anyways when the Polarizer in Chief continues his "my way or the highway" strategy, ignoring any opportunity to make a compromise with House Republicans. A stark contrast to the empty words that spewed out of his famous DNC Convention speech "There is not a liberal America and a conservative America. There is a United States of America".

    January 22, 2013 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  25. Consequence

    Why would a nation founded upon law and justice and enshrined in a Constitution grant another amnesty to illegal immigrants. the first one was a mistake, looking the other way all these years was a mistake, when Bush tried to promote it several years ago, it was a mistake and, now, with Obama, we are to believe it is all of a sudden the right thing to do? With Hispanic citizens advocating for illegal immigration, this principle only serves Obama at the election box.

    January 22, 2013 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
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