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. GlobalResident

    In this discussion, we need to focus on the poles. Tuktoyaktuk, on the coast of the Arctic Ocean, has in the past 20 years twice had to move its residences back 20-50 feet from the beach as the ocean has risen. The frozen tundra is thawing causing problems with potable water and with waste disposal never before experienced. Allergies have risen in the Arctic because of summer flora previously unseen in the North. Insects never before present in the Arctic are now also commonplace in summer. The Arctic ice cap has shrunken significantly. The spoken history of the Inuit goes back many centuries and none of these change events have been previously noted. These are just a few of the anomalies under study not only because they pose serious challenges to northern residents specifically, but also to global populations.

    January 22, 2013 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  2. Ferret out the BS

    While many decry climate change being a snow job and just normal climatic shifts; perhaps you're right. But let me offer this; is it so wrong to build more efficient less polluting automobiles? Is it wrong to try to curtail carbon emmissions from coal burning? Is it wrong to investigate and come up with better technology to enhance our human imprint on this planet? What about wiping the Dolphin population through purse seigning so we can satisfy our tuna cravings? I'm not saying that carbon credits are the way to go but we should start somewhere, shouldn't we? I'll tell you this, driving through L.A. now doesn't involve gagging and burning eyes, barely seeing the sun through smog along with the stench of sulfur. Did anyone see what Beijing looked like last week, is that what we should strive for? The scientists have proven though that the ozone layer is depleting and with that comes less moderation of sunlight hitting the Earth's surface.

    January 22, 2013 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  3. Independent

    @NB....sounds like his first term!!! Oh wait, he has the majority in both houses!!! LOL He is and will always be the do nothing president that is good at speaking, unfortunately that is all he is good at!

    January 22, 2013 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  4. steffan

    20 plus years ago, New Zealand invested billions in hydro-elecric, solar, wind, and geothermal energy production. Meanwhile, we started processing bio-fuels and encouraging energy responsible usage by consumers and producers. Now almost 80% of all energy used is from renewable sources and we are independent of carbon based fuels from the unstable and dictatorial regimes around the world that use oil money to fund terrorism and oppression. On this end of the world, we are experiencing the worst effects of climate change and we know it is real and not some part of a "liberal" conspiracy. Energy independence based on renewable sources is cheaper and better than burning polluting carbon based energy. Many people are living in an old world thinking mode and missing the point that the USA could easily convert from being a country with 6% of the world's population contributing 30% of global carbon output. to a responsible member of the global community.

    January 22, 2013 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  5. Independent

    before you all start jumping on my comment, he has the majority for 2 YEARS not all four, either way he still did NOTHING USEFUL!!!

    January 22, 2013 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  6. annieL

    We need to convert swords into ploughshares NOW. Cut a third of the Pentagon budget and convert every dollar saved into green energy jobs. Do it smart, of course, not just throwing money at any "green" company. Research, of course. But focus on small-scale technologies for end-users. I would love to be able to generate my own power to heat and cool my home and water but it's just too complicated and expensive right now to recoup costs in energy savings. Ditto for home insulation and green cars. Somehow they've got to come up with simple, reliable and cheap green tech for consumers and once they do, the jobs will explode. Anyway, green energy intiatives could re-employ a lot of military-industrial contractors now working on high-tech weapons and hardware and also our new college grads in science, engineering and other technologies as well as construction workers. It could be equivalent to the NASA "space race" of the 60s in excitement and competition with countries already ahead of us. And produce JOBS for Americans.

    January 22, 2013 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  7. The Real Tom Paine

    -Rick McDaniel

    CNN polls are always so biased for the Dem socialists, they are nothing but propaganda.

    47% of America oppose Obama, in all of his policies. Additional numbers will oppose him on various issues.
    ********************************
    ALL of them? Earlier today, you stated the need for a new party that was fiscally conservative because you felt the government has no place interefering in a woman's right to an abortion. Funny thing is, Obama feels that way as well, so you must be in that 53% that agree with Obama on something. You failed your own standard.

    January 22, 2013 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  8. Independent

    @Garyinco....Ya and it is a high of 20-25 here in Utah so what is your point. We are at about 4300 feet. It is called weather cycles!!!! Look at the history of the earth, it has happened since the beginning. I will agree that Man is not helping but we are not the sole cause of it or even close to it! I think getting the debt and economy back on track should be MUCH HIGHER priority but look who is in the White House.....worthless!

    January 22, 2013 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  9. Hillcrester

    Rick McDaniel–you are way off base. The majority who voted for Romney are typically GOP-favoring and do not "oppose Obama" but preferred the GOP candidate. The extreme opposers are a small outlier group of no significance except in anonymous Internet comment "rooms." You are part of an isolated minority who talk mostly to each other.

    January 22, 2013 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  10. Sniffit

    "before you all start jumping on my comment, he has the majority for 2 YEARS not all four, either way he still did NOTHING USEFUL!!!"

    Sorry, but you have to have 60 in the Senate, not just a majority now...and the fact is, the Dems didn't have that as a result of Franken's election lawsuit and the fact that Ted Kennedy passed away in August 2009. Then Scott Brown swore his oath in February 2010. Claims that Obama and the Dems could have passed "anything they wanted" for the first two years of Obama's first term just don't comport with reality.

    January 22, 2013 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  11. PM

    If this were a Republican nominee, the headline would read – LESS THAN 50% SUPPORT HAGEL NOMINATION

    January 22, 2013 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  12. bill

    Americans have spoken with the re-election of President Obama and with the beat down mitt and the GOP took in all of the swing states. No longer should the GOP and highly funded special interest organzations like the NRA be able to hold America hostage and I think we need to finish the job by voting in representatives in 2014 and 2016 who will actually serve the American people and help dig us out of this economic and social mess created by the GOP.

    January 22, 2013 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  13. bill

    America has already spoken on this issue with the butt kicking the GOP took during the Presidential election. It's time for the obstructionist GOP to either get onboard and serve the American people or get voted out in 2014.

    January 22, 2013 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  14. 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.

    January 22, 2013 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  15. 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? Remember how Karl Rove looked on election night? If you wanted skewed, innacurate polling, look at the fair and balanced folks before you complain about bias from CNN.

    January 22, 2013 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  16. Donna

    jerrymcm1970
    Donna
    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?
    ---------––
    No Donna, I mean the ones who, unlike you, have a vast knowledge of the subject.
    The "Climategate" fiasco has been shown to be overblown nonsense and as for ice age predictions, at the same time as some scientists were suggesting we might be facing another ice age at some point in the next few centuries, a greater number published contradicting studies.
    Science evolves Donna, and with better evidence the consensus changes. It is never, however, a matter of public opinion
    --------

    As usual, the left attempts to trivialize the matter when they get caught in their own web of lies. AN dof course, attack others, as well as scientists and climatologists that do not subscribe to their "science" and its conclusions. The left HAS turned this into a political issue in order to push your anti-oil agenda. Let no crisis, even a manufactured one, go unused, if it helps further the leftist cause.

    January 22, 2013 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  17. Hillcrester

    Obama will either succeed in getting a good part of his agenda into effect, by enacted laws, EOs, or agency regulations, or the GOP will suffer a crushing defeat in 2014. I'm hoping for both.

    The demographic changes transforming the electorate will not abate any time soon. Some "red" states like AZ and TX will begin to feel the effects. This white, hetero, married, retired, well-off progressive-liberal has welcomed the changing face of this country for years. Those of you clinging to the past still have the chance to adapt . . . or be left behind in nostalgic irrelevance.

    January 22, 2013 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  18. Rudy NYC

    Sniffet wrote:

    Sorry, but you have to have 60 in the Senate, not just a majority now...and the fact is, the Dems didn't have that as a result of Franken's election lawsuit and the fact that Ted Kennedy passed away in August 2009. Then Scott Brown swore his oath in February 2010. Claims that Obama and the Dems could have passed "anything they wanted" for the first two years of Obama's first term just don't comport with reality.
    ---------------–
    Don't forget about Joe Lieberman who voted against Obama on every fiscal bill that came to the Senate except one, the ARRA.

    January 22, 2013 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  19. 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.

    People with their hair on fire run around claiming things like "his birth certificate is a forgery" and "health care reform has death panels in it" and "they're coming to take all your guns to make it easier for the UN to send in troops and establish a new world order, but you need those guns because the end of the world is nigh": MSM reports as though these claims are serious, deserve real attention and debate in order to "uncover the truth" and are legitimate concerns from sane, mentally stable people.

    Where's this "liberal bias" I keep hearing about?

    January 22, 2013 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  20. Sniffit

    VA state legislature pulls dirty trick and takes advantage of one Dem state senator's absence while attending the inauguration to pass redistricting plans they hope will right the election in 2016 for them: MSM reports on Beyonce lip-syncing the national anthem.

    Where's this "liberal bias" I keep hearing about?

    January 22, 2013 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  21. The Real Tom Paine

    -Independent

    @NB....sounds like his first term!!! Oh wait, he has the majority in both houses!!! LOL He is and will always be the do nothing president that is good at speaking, unfortunately that is all he is good at!
    ****************
    Then what is the GOP good at or good for? They put people in charge of science committees that say evolution is an idea from the Pit of Hell: does this bode well for the nation? They are more concerned about denying people civil rights than they are about making our economy strong or our streets safe.

    January 22, 2013 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  22. Sniffit

    "Don't forget about Joe Lieberman who voted against Obama on every fiscal bill that came to the Senate except one, the ARRA."

    Indeed. Good catch.

    January 22, 2013 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  23. The Real Tom Paine

    -Donna

    jerrymcm1970
    Donna
    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?
    ---––
    No Donna, I mean the ones who, unlike you, have a vast knowledge of the subject.
    The "Climategate" fiasco has been shown to be overblown nonsense and as for ice age predictions, at the same time as some scientists were suggesting we might be facing another ice age at some point in the next few centuries, a greater number published contradicting studies.
    Science evolves Donna, and with better evidence the consensus changes. It is never, however, a matter of public opinion
    --–

    As usual, the left attempts to trivialize the matter when they get caught in their own web of lies. AN dof course, attack others, as well as scientists and climatologists that do not subscribe to their "science" and its conclusions. The left HAS turned this into a political issue in order to push your anti-oil agenda. Let no crisis, even a manufactured one, go unused, if it helps further the leftist cause.
    *******************
    And your point is? You can't debate the science, so you scream about an agenda instead. The last cry of the intellectually impotent.

    January 22, 2013 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  24. 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?

    January 22, 2013 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  25. Dean

    No mention of jobs......guess Obama knows he can't do anything about them so he changes focus.

    January 22, 2013 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
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