Registered voters nationally divide about their overall assessment of the job President Barack Obama is doing in office. However, the president actually receives his highest approval rating, 47%, since April of 2013. At that time, just half of the electorate, 50%, approved of how Obama was doing in office. President Obama’s negative rating has also inched down.
On the specifics, Mr. Obama’s approval ratings on the economy, foreign policy, and his handling of ISIS remain upside down. What does this all mean for President Obama’s legacy? Mr. Obama receives mixed reviews.
Turning to the job performances of the Republicans and Democrats in Congress, fewer than one in five registered voters nationally, 19%, approves of how the Republicans in Congress are doing their job. This is the lowest job approval rating the congressional GOP has received since the McClatchy-Marist Poll has been tracking this question, and it is a drop from 33% measured in the last McClatchy-Marist Poll in March. The decreased level of satisfaction is due, in large part, to Republicans. There has been a 24 point drop in the proportion of the GOP faithful who approve of how the congressional Republicans are doing their job.
While the Democrats in Congress fare better, their job approval rating is nothing to write home about. Only 28% of voters give them high marks, little changed from their previous approval rating of 30% measured in March.
Taking a closer look at the nation’s involvement in the fight against ISIS, a majority of Americans support putting boots on the ground in Iraq and Syria to combat the Islamic State. And on the question of sending ground troops to engage in the fight, 59% of residents, down from 65% in March, favor sending, at least, some ground troops.
And, do Americans want to increase the minimum wage? The consensus is that a raise is warranted?
But, Americans’ attitudes about President Obama, Congress, the fight against ISIS, and pay rates play out against a backdrop of persistent dissatisfaction with the direction of the nation.
Measuring Americans Attitudes about President Barack Obama
- President Obama’s, overall, approval rating is at 47% among registered voters, the highest score the president has received in more than two years. The same proportion, 47%, disapproves. When McClatchy-Marist last reported this question in March, the president’s approval rating was upside down, 46% to 50% (Trend).
- 47% of voters have a favorable impression of President Obama while 48% have an unfavorable one. Earlier this year, a majority, 52%, had a negative view of the president (Trend).
- 50% of voters nationally disapprove of how President Obama is handling the economy while 45% approve. In March, the same proportions of voters had these views (Trend).
- A majority of voters, 54%, little changed from March, disapprove of how President Obama is handling foreign policy (Trend).
- A majority of voters, 54%, are also dissatisfied with how the president is dealing with ISIS. This is little changed from March when 56% had this opinion.
- When it comes to President Obama’s legacy, many Americans do not think his legacy will be overly positive. While 32% of Americans believe Mr. Obama will be considered either one of the best presidents, 10%, or an above average one, 22%, 28% say he will be thought of as “about average.” Nearly four in ten residents, 38%, report his presidency will be either below average, 17%, or will be remembered as one of the nation’s worst, 21%.
Views of the GOP in Congress Hit Rock Bottom
The job approval rating of the Republicans in Congress is at an all-time low. In fact, nearly seven in ten registered voters nationally disapprove of how they are doing their job. The Democrats in Congress do not receive positive marks either, but they are rated higher than their Republican counterparts.
- Less than one in five voters, 19%, approves of how the Republicans in Congress are doing their job. 68% disapprove. When McClatchy-Marist last reported this question in March, 33% thought well of them (Trend). The congressional GOP has lost favor in the eyes of its own party. 36% of Republicans, down from 60% earlier this year, rate the job performance of the Republicans in Congress positively. There has also been a drop in their approval rating among independents from 28% in March to 19% now.
- 28% of voters, little changed from 30% previously, approve of the job performance of the Democrats in Congress (Trend).
Majority of Americans Supports Increased U.S. Involvement in the Fight against ISIS
51% of Americans favor sending more U.S. troops to Iraq and Syria to combat ISIS. Nearly six in ten support the inclusion of at least some ground troops in the fight.
- A majority of U.S. residents, 51%, either strongly favor, 15%, or favor, 36%, sending more U.S. troops to Iraq and Syria to combat ISIS.
- 59% of Americans, down from 65% in March, support sending ground forces to combat ISIS. This includes 24% who favor deploying a large number of ground forces and 35% who support a limited deployment of ground troops.
Increase the Minimum Wage?
Close to seven in ten Americans, 68%, either strongly favor, 30%, or favor, 38%, raising the minimum wage.
- Most Democrats, 92%, and nearly two-thirds of independents, 65%, favor increasing the minimum wage. Even 37% of Republicans agree.
Cloud of Pessimism Shrouds the Direction of the Country
Many Americans continue to have a downbeat attitude about the direction of the nation.
- 60% of residents nationally think the nation is moving in the wrong direction. A similar proportion, 59%, had this view in March (Trend).
Americans divide about whether or not the confederate flag should be removed from government buildings. While 49% favor such a measure, 43% oppose it.
When looking at Americans’ perceptions of the Civil War, a majority, 53%, believes slavery was the main reason for the conflict. Regional differences exist with those in the South dividing about whether or not slavery was at the center of the Civil War.
Should schools teach that slavery was the driving force of the Civil War? A majority of Americans believes that children should be taught this lesson in the classroom.
More than 150 years after the start of the Civil War, a plurality of Americans, 44%, thinks race relations in the United States are getting worse, and fewer than one in five, 18%, says they are improving.
Confederate Flag Controversy
The court of public opinion is still out on whether or not the confederate flag should be removed from government buildings. Racial and partisan differences exist.
- 49% of residents either strongly favor, 23%, or favor, 26%, taking down the confederate flag from government buildings. 43% either oppose, 27%, or strongly oppose, 16%, removing the flag.
- Democrats, 69%, and independents, 52%, are more likely than Republicans, 38%, to support removing the flag from official buildings.
The Impetus of the Civil War
Majorities of Americans think slavery was the main reason for the Civil War and assert that schoolchildren should be taught that lesson.
- 53% of residents say slavery led the nation into civil war. 41% disagree.
- While 62% of Democrats and 53% of independents cite slavery as the main reason for the Civil War, Republicans divide.
- Regional differences exist. At least half of residents in the Northeast, 50%, Midwest, 56%, and West, 67%, say slavery caused the Civil War. However, Southerners divide. 49% report it was not the main reason for the conflict. 45% say slavery was at the heart of the Civil War.
- A majority of Americans, 55%, say schools should teach children that slavery was the main reason for the Civil War.
- Democrats, 62%, and independents, 52%, are more likely than the GOP to want students to learn that the Civil War began, mainly, because of slavery. Members of the GOP divide.
- At least a majority of residents in the West, 66%, Northeast, 55%, and Midwest, 54%, believe schools’ curricula should include that slavery spurred the Civil War. Southerners divide with 49% saying it should be instructed and 45% reporting it should not.
Plurality of Americans Say Race Relations in the U.S. are Getting Worse
More than four in ten Americans, 44%, think race relations in the United States are deteriorating while only 18% believe they are getting better. 37% say race relations are status quo.
- More than six in ten Republicans, 61%, and a plurality of independents, 47%, say racial strife is on the rise. A plurality of Democrats, 41%, thinks race relations are the same as they have been. About one-third, 34%, believe racial tensions are worsening.
More than one in four Americans, 27%, reports that, when the U.S. Treasury Department unveils its redesigned ten dollar bill, Eleanor Roosevelt should be the woman featured. Harriet Tubman is the second most popular choice with 17% followed by Sacagawea with 13%. Susan B. Anthony and Amelia Earhart each receives 11%, and Sandra Day O’Connor garners 4%.
About one in three women, 33%, selects Mrs. Roosevelt. Harriet Tubman comes in a distant second among this group with 18%. By more than two-to-one, Harriet Tubman, 47%, is the leading choice of African Americans. Here, Eleanor Roosevelt receives 19%.
While a majority of Republicans and Republican leaning independents nationally, 51%, considers businessman Donald Trump to be a distraction from the presidential primary process, two key groups within the GOP maintain a different view. At least a majority of those who identify as “strong” Republicans or are Tea Party supporters say Trump is a serious presidential candidate.
These voters also differ in their impressions of Trump. Unlike some of the other well-known candidates in the GOP field, Trump’s favorable rating among Republicans and Republican leaning independents, overall, is upside down. But, half of “strong” Republicans, 50%, and more than six in ten Tea Party supporters, 62%, have a positive impression of Trump.
And, when it comes to the GOP debates, many Republicans and Republican leaning independents assert all candidates seeking their party’s nomination should be allowed to participate. Only about one in three says the candidates’ rankings in national polls should determine eligibility.
What do Republicans and Republican leaning independents want in their nominee? Many favor a candidate who stands on conservative principles, and a plurality say they would definitely vote for a candidate who supports sending U.S. combat troops to Iraq and Syria to fight ISIS. More than one in three say that, although they have reservations, they would back a candidate who supports raising the minimum wage. However, pluralities of Republicans and Republican leaning independents would definitely not vote for someone who favors a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, supports gay marriage, or backs the removal of the confederate flag from government buildings.
On the Democratic side, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is well-liked among Democrats and Democratic leaning independents while Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont is unknown to half of these voters. When it comes to what Democrats consider important in their party’s nominee, they divide about whether the priority should be nominating someone who will continue the policies of President Barack Obama or who will move the nation in a different direction.
“Donald Trump has been the political story for the summer and don’t expect him to disappear from the campaign stage anytime soon,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “While many see him as a distraction, party activists including strong Republicans and Tea Party identifiers view his candidacy seriously.”
Trump Commands Respect among Strong GOPers
- 51% of Republicans and Republican leaning independents say Trump is a distraction from the presidential primary process. 44% describe him as a serious presidential candidate.
- But, a majority of those who consider themselves to be “strong” Republicans, 52%, and 61% of Tea Party identifiers think Trump is a serious presidential contender.
Impressions of the GOP Candidates
Among the better-known Republican candidates, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee are well-liked among Republicans and Republican leaning independents. However, Trump, along with Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie have upside down ratings.
More than Six in Ten want Inclusive GOP Debates
62% of Republicans and Republican leaning independents want all the candidates seeking the GOP nomination to be allowed to participate in the Republican debates. About one in three, 34%, says participation should be determined by a candidate’s ranking in national polls.
GOP Favors Nominee who Stands on Republican Principles
More than six in ten Republicans and Republican leaning independents, 62%, believe it is more important for their party’s nominee to be someone who stands for conservative values. 35% say the priority is a candidate who can win the presidency.
Looking at some of the issues which impact the Republican vote, a plurality of Republicans and Republican leaning independents, 45%, say they would definitely vote for a candidate who supports sending U.S. combat troops to Iraq and Syria to fight ISIS. However, pluralities of GOP voters report they definitely would not vote for a candidate who supports new immigration policies, including a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, 37%, is in favor of gay marriage, 37%, or supports the removal of the confederate flag from government buildings, 35%. When it comes to raising the minimum wage, a plurality, 36%, says they would have reservations but would vote for a candidate who favors such legislation.
More than Seven in Ten View Clinton Positively
On the Democratic side, with a favorable rating of 72%, Hillary Clinton is well-liked among Democrats and Democratic leaning independents. These voters also have a more positive than negative view of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, 34% to 16%. However, half of Democrats and Democratic leaning independents, 50%, have either never heard of Senator Sanders or are unsure how to rate him.
When it comes to their party’s nominee, Democrats and Democratic leaning independents divide about whether they think it is more important to have a candidate who will continue President Barack Obama’s policies, 45%, or nominate someone who will move the nation in a new direction, 46%.
If businessman Donald Trump runs for President as an independent, not a Republican, Trump’s candidacy would benefit former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, widen her lead against former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, and yield Clinton almost the exact same share of the vote that her husband, former President Bill Clinton, received in his 1992 win against, then, Republican President George H.W. Bush and independent Ross Perot.
While Clinton, 49%, edges Bush, 43%, by 6 points in a two-way, general election contest, a three-way race with Trump cuts into Bush’s support and gives Clinton, 44%, a 15 point lead over him, 29%. Trump garners 20% in such a contest. When Bill Clinton defeated George H.W. Bush in 1992, he received 43% of the popular vote.
While Clinton retains her support among her Democratic base in a three-way race, Bush’s support among Republicans freefalls from 92% to 63%, a 29 point difference. Trump garners 28% of the GOP vote. Among independents nationally, Clinton’s 6 point edge over Bush, 48% to 42%, more than doubles to 13 points with Trump in the race.
“The 2016 election cycle has already had its share of ups and downs,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “But, what a rollercoaster ride it would be if Donald Trump runs for president as an independent.”
Clinton Leads GOP Opponents… Paul, Rubio, Bush Closest Competitors
When matched against potential Republican rivals, Clinton is out in front although not over 50 percent against her closest opponents. Her greatest competition comes from Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. Clinton edges Rubio and Paul by 5 points among registered voters nationally and is ahead of Bush by 6 points. Her widest margin is 21 points.
Clinton receives her highest support, 54%, against Trump.
- Against Rubio (trend), Perry (trend), Bush (trend), or Christie (trend), Clinton maintains a comparable advantage to the one she received in the March McClatchy-Marist Poll. Clinton’s lead has inched up against Walker since that time.
Clinton’s lead over Paul has declined from 11 points in March to 5 points now (trend). Her 14 point advantage over Cruz has narrowed to 9 points (trend). Against Huckabee, Clinton has a 9 point lead, down from 13 points in April 2014 (trend).
Voters Want Domestic Issues to Dominate National Campaign
Many registered voters nationally, 66%, want the focus of the 2016 presidential election to be domestic issues such as the economy, health care, and roads and bridges. Foreign policy issues such as ISIS and terrorism are the priority for 21% of the national electorate while only 9% think social issues like abortion and same-sex marriage should be the central themes of the campaign.
To watch Dr. Lee M. Miringoff’s in-depth analysis of the poll or to read the full McClatchy article, click here.
What impact would Donald Trump have on the 2016 Presidential Election if he were to run as an independent candidate? Would 1992 repeat itself? Find out in the latest national McClatchy-Marist Poll.
In the all-important first-in-the-nation caucus and primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire, three Republican hopefuls have moved away from the very crowded GOP field. In Iowa, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker receives the support of nearly one in five members of the potential Republican electorate, 19%. Businessman Donald Trump follows closely behind with 17%, and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, the only other candidate with double-digit support, is competitive with 12%.
In New Hampshire, Trump garners the support of more than one in five potential Republican primary voters, 21%, and bypasses Bush, 14%, and Walker, 12%. As in Iowa, no other Republican candidate receives double-digit support.
On the Democratic side, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton remains the front-runner for her party’s nomination, but Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont has cut into Clinton’s lead in both states. In Iowa, Clinton is ahead of Sanders, 55% to 26%, among the potential Democratic electorate. Although Clinton is solidly ahead of Sanders, she previously had a 61 point lead over him in last February’s NBC News/Marist Poll.
A similar pattern is seen in New Hampshire where Clinton is currently ahead of Sanders by 13 points, 47% to 34%, among the state’s potential Democratic electorate. Earlier this year, Clinton held a 56 point lead over Sanders.
“With a vivid imagination, you can detect early signs of order to the GOP contest. Walker, Trump, and Bush occupy one of the top three positions in both Iowa and New Hampshire,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “On the Democratic side, Clinton may be well advised to remember that objects in your mirror may be closer than they appear. Sanders has narrowed her lead in both early states.”
- Among potential Republican voters, Walker leads the GOP field among Tea Party identifiers in both Iowa and New Hampshire. Walker also leads among Iowa’s conservative and very conservative Republican voters.
- Trump leads among New Hampshire’s conservative and very conservative voters. But, his support among the potential Republican electorate dipped in New Hampshire from 26% to 14% following his comments about Senator John McCain.
- Among potential Democratic voters, there is a wide gender gap. Clinton leads Sanders by 47 points among women in Iowa and 25 points in New Hampshire. She leads Sanders by only 8 points among men in Iowa and trails him by 6 points in New Hampshire.
- Among liberal and very liberal Democratic voters, Clinton’s lead narrows to 10 points in Iowa compared with a 46 point lead among moderate Democrats. There is little difference in Clinton’s lead by voters’ ideology in New Hampshire.
- Sanders edges Clinton in Iowa among potential Democratic voters who are under 45 years of age.
Complete July 26, 2015 NBC News/Marist Poll Release of Iowa and New Hampshire
Complete July 26, 2015 NBC News/Marist Poll Tables of Iowa
Complete July 26, 2015 NBC News/Marist Poll Tables of New Hampshire
Many of the Republicans vying for their party’s nomination are, generally, viewed favorably by the potential GOP electorates in Iowa and New Hampshire. However, there is one notable outlier. Trump is the best known but is also the least liked among these voters.
On the Democratic side, Clinton and Sanders are well-liked by their party’s potential voters in both states.
- In Iowa, at least, a majority of the potential GOP electorate has a favorable impression of Walker, Rubio, and Bush, with Walker receiving the highest positive score, 56%.
- Iowa’s potential Republican electorate divides over Trump who receives the highest negative score. 45% view him favorably while 44% perceive him unfavorably.
- In New Hampshire, Bush, 56%, receives the highest favorable rating among the potential Republican electorate. Walker, 51%, and Rubio, 49%, are also well-liked. Trump, however, garners a 53% negative score.
- Trump’s unfavorable rating among the potential Republican electorate in New Hampshire increased from 46% to 62% following his comments about Senator John McCain. There was little change in Iowa.
- Among the potential Democratic electorate in Iowa, Clinton enjoys a high favorable rating, 74%. A majority, 54%, also thinks highly of Sanders, but more than three in ten Democrats in the state either do not know him or are unsure how to rate him.
- In New Hampshire, many potential Democratic primary voters have positive opinions of, both, Clinton, 71%, and Sanders, 65%.
Presidents, Past and Present, Held in High Esteem by Their Party’s Faithful
Could former President Bill Clinton help or hurt his wife on the campaign trail? 83% of potential Democratic caucus-goers in Iowa have a favorable view of former President Bill Clinton. A similar 84% of the potential Democratic electorate in New Hampshire share this view. President Barack Obama’s favorable ratings among the potential Democratic electorates in Iowa and New Hampshire are 84% and 81%, respectively.
On the Republican side, 75% of the potential Republican electorate in Iowa has a positive opinion of former President George W. Bush. A similar proportion of potential voters in New Hampshire, 74%, thinks well of Bush 43.
Impact of Candidates’ Positions on the Vote
There is a consensus of opinion on issues in both Iowa and New Hampshire among the party faithful, but Democrats and Republicans are miles apart from each other.
- Nearly seven in ten members of the potential Republican electorates in Iowa and New Hampshire would be more likely to vote for a candidate who supports the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. They would be less inclined to support a candidate who favors Common Core, a pathway to legal status for undocumented immigrants, or a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
- At least a majority of the potential Democratic electorates in Iowa and New Hampshire would be more likely to support a candidate who favors a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, a pathway to legal status for undocumented immigrants, or the Common Core curriculum. They would be less likely to support a candidate who would do away with the Affordable Care Act.
- Regardless of state or party, there is little consensus about how a candidate’s support of a trade agreement with select Asian and Pacific Rim countries would affect the vote.
Jobs and Economic Growth Key Campaign Issue
- In Iowa, national security and terrorism, 45%, and the deficit and government spending, 42%, top the list of campaign issues for potential Republican caucus-goers. Among potential Democratic caucus-goers in the state, a majority, 53%, emphasizes job creation and economic growth.
- The New Hampshire potential Republican electorate considers national security and terrorism, 47%, and job creation and economic growth, 44%, to be of the utmost importance. Half of potential Democratic voters in New Hampshire, 50%, mention job creation and economic growth. Health care follows closely with 45%.
Voters Emphasize Positions on the Issues over Electability
The potential Republican and Democratic electorates in Iowa and New Hampshire believe it is more important that their respective party’s nominee is someone who shares their positions on the issues rather than someone who has the best chance of winning the White House.
Bush and Clinton Fatigue Present in Iowa and New Hampshire
More than six in ten Iowans, 61%, report it is time for someone with a last name other than “Bush” or “Clinton” to occupy the White House. A majority of New Hampshire residents, 56%, agree.
In each state, members of the potential Republican electorate are more likely than the potential Democratic electorate to think there should be an end to the Clinton and Bush political dynasties.
- 67% of Iowa’s potential Republican electorate, compared with 50% of the state’s potential Democratic electorate, say someone other than a Bush or Clinton should have a chance at winning the White House.
- In New Hampshire, 63% of potential Republicans voters would like to see an end to the Bush and Clinton dynasties. Members of the state’s potential Democratic electorate divide. 45% do not want another President Clinton or Bush while 46% are not opposed to the idea.
Ayotte Leads Hassan in U.S. Senate Race
The tides have turned in the U.S. Senate race in New Hampshire. Republican incumbent Kelly Ayotte is ahead of Democrat Maggie Hassan by 8 percentage points among registered voters statewide.
- 50% of New Hampshire registered voters support Ayotte while 42% favor Hassan. When NBC News/Marist last reported this question in February, Hassan, 48%, and Ayotte, 44%, were more competitive.
Approval Rating Roundup
President Obama’s job approval rating continues to be upside down in Iowa and New Hampshire. The governors in each state have experienced declines in their job approval ratings.
- 49% of Iowans disapprove of the job performance of President Obama while 43% approve. The president received identical scores when the NBC News/Marist Poll last reported this question in February.
- In New Hampshire, 52% of residents disapprove of how President Obama is doing his job. 41% approve. Earlier this year, 50% disapproved of the president’s job performance, and 43% approved.
- Among Iowans, Governor Terry Branstad’s job approval rating is at 50%, down from 64% in February.
- 56% of New Hampshire residents approve of the job Governor Maggie Hassan is doing in office. However, her rating is down from 68% previously.
4/9: Many Americans, Including Most Latinos, Consider Immigration Reform a Priority… Pathway to Citizenship Key Component for Majority of Americans, But Latinos Divide
Immigration reform is important to many Americans, especially Latino residents. Nearly two-thirds of Americans, 65%, including 81% of Latinos, think immigration legislation which provides a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants should be addressed by President Barack Obama and Congress. In fact, 41% of Americans and 59% of Latinos believe the issue should be an absolute priority for this year’s Congress.
On the question of providing a pathway to citizenship for veterans of the armed forces, Americans and Latinos have similar views. 55% of residents, overall, and 61% of Latinos say providing citizenship to veterans should be an immediate priority for President Obama and Congress this year.
Americans, overall, are more concerned about the inclusion of the pathway to citizenship in immigration reform than Latinos. Among Latinos, there is slightly greater urgency to pass immigration legislation, even if it does not contain the pathway to citizenship. While 52% of Americans assert reform should only be passed if it includes this measure, 39% say reform should occur even if the measure is not included. Latino residents divide with 49% thinking it is more important that a bill be passed only if it includes a pathway to citizenship while 44% report it is more important to pass immigration reform even if it does not provide a way for undocumented immigrants to gain citizenship.
Latinos born in the United States, 52%, emphasize the pathway to citizenship while Latino adults born in another country divide on the issue.
When it comes to President Barack Obama’s use of executive action to implement changes to immigration, opposition rests on procedure not policy. Nearly six in ten Americans, including more than three in four Latinos, approve of the president’s order. Among those who disapprove, 56% of Americans and 58% of Latinos oppose the executive action because the president did not seek congressional approval, not because they are against the content of the policy.
If Congress does not pass immigration reform by the end of its current term, Republicans will face the most blame.
- 65% of Americans say passing immigration legislation which would create a pathway to citizenship for foreigners illegally staying in this country should be addressed by President Barack Obama and Congress. This includes 41% who think the issue should be an absolute priority. Most Latinos, 81%, including 59% who want the issue addressed immediately, consider passing such legislation a priority.
- Americans, 33%, are more likely than Latinos, 16%, to report immigration reform should not be pursued at all.
- Nearly three in four Latinos who were not born in the United States, 74%, believe immediate action on immigration reform should be taken compared with 46% of Latinos who were born in the U.S.
- 55% of Americans, including 61% of Latinos, assert immigration legislation which provides a pathway to citizenship for veterans of the armed forces should be an absolute priority for this year’s Congress.
- 52% of U.S. residents think the pathway to citizenship is essential to immigration reform while 39% believe it is more important to pass immigration legislation even if it does not include a pathway to citizenship. While a plurality of Latinos, 49%, says the pathway to citizenship is key to immigration reform, more Latinos, 44%, when compared with the overall population, are willing to accept reform that does not include such a pathway.
- 52% of Latinos born in the United States believe it is more important for immigration reform to be passed with a pathway to citizenship, but Latinos who were not born in this country divide. 48% believe immigration reform should be passed even without a pathway to citizenship while 46% insist the pathway is the crux of immigration reform.
- Compared with 57% of Americans, overall, more Latinos, 78%, approve of President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration.
- Among those who disapprove of the president’s executive order, 56% of Americans, including 58% of Latinos, do so more because Mr. Obama acted without congressional authorization and not because they oppose the policy. In fact, only 29% of U.S. residents who disapprove of the president’s executive order, including one in three Latinos – 33%, say they are against the substance of the policy.
- If an agreement on immigration reform is not reached before the end of Congress’ current term, a plurality of U.S. residents, 43%, including 46% of Latinos, will place the blame on the Republicans in Congress. 26% of U.S. residents and 22% of Latinos will point a finger at President Obama. 11% of Americans, including 13% of Latinos, will blame the Democrats in Congress.
Diplomatic Recognition of Cuba Supported by Majorities of Americans and Latinos
The opinions of Latinos closely reflect those of the overall population when it comes to U.S. foreign policy toward Cuba.
- A majority of Americans, 59%, including 56% of Latinos, approves of the recent decision for the United States to provide diplomatic recognition of Cuba.
- 26% of U.S. residents disapprove of the action, and 15% are unsure. Similar proportions of Latinos are against granting diplomacy to Cuba or are unsure.
Economic Sanctions against Venezuela Considered Appropriate by Half of Americans
50% of Americans, including a slim majority of the Latino population, consider the economic sanctions placed on government officials in Venezuela for acts of violence and the prohibition of freedom of expression of protestors to be the right form of censure. Latinos, 19%, are slightly more likely than Americans, overall, to say the punishment is too strong.
- 50% of the U.S. adult population, including 52% of Latinos, think the economic sanctions levied against Venezuela are the appropriate punishment for acts of violence endorsed by the nation’s leaders and prohibiting freedom of expression among protesters.
- 19% of Latinos, compared with 13% of the general population, say the sanctions are too severe. 20% of U.S. residents, including 16% of Latinos, believe the sanctions are not strong enough.
Equal Treatment under the Law?
Americans, 65%, are more likely than Latinos, 54%, to believe police in their local community treat minorities the same as anyone else. Latinos, especially those under 45, are more likely to report minorities are treated more harshly.
- 35% of Latinos, compared with 27% of the overall population, report minorities are treated more harshly by their local police. Only 4% of U.S. residents, including 5% of Latinos, believe minorities are treated less harshly.
- Latinos under 45 years old, 39%, are more likely than older Latinos, 28%, to say minorities are treated more harshly than anyone else.
The Impact of Pope Francis on the Views of the Catholic Church
37% of Americans say Pope Francis has improved their opinion of the Catholic Church, and 29% report he has made little difference in their opinion. The views of Latinos are similar to those of the overall population.
- A plurality of Americans, 37%, including 32% of Latinos, reports Pope Francis has given them a more favorable view of the Catholic Church. Only 6% of Americans, including 7% of Latinos, say the Pope has lessened their view of the Church. 29% of Americans, similar to 32% of Latinos, think the Pontiff has made little difference in their views. 29% of residents, including 28% of Latinos, don’t know enough about the Pope to comment.
Football Takes Top Spot as Americans’ Favorite Sport… Shares Honors with Soccer among Latinos
Football, 42%, is Americans’ favorite pastime. Among Latinos, football, 31%, and soccer, 28%, vie for the title of top sport.
- 42% of Americans consider football their favorite sport. Baseball, 15%, is a distant second followed by basketball, 14%. 11% choose soccer while 5% like hockey. Three percent cite another sport, and 4% do not have a favorite sport.
- Football, 31%, and soccer, 28%, are cited as the top sports by Latinos. Baseball, 15%, and basketball, 14%, trail behind. Only 2% of Latinos are hockey fans, and 3% mention another sport as their favorite. Two percent do not have a favorite sport.
More than six in ten Americans, 62%, would like their member of Congress to vote for President Barack Obama’s proposal to use military force against ISIS. On the much debated issue of deploying ground troops in the fight against the Islamic State, nearly two-thirds of Americans, 65%, think at least some ground presence is necessary. This includes 24% of residents who say a large number of ground troops should be used.
But, voters’ views of the president’s handling of the situation has become increasingly negative. A majority of voters, 56%, disapproves of how President Obama is handling ISIS compared with a divided electorate last fall. A majority of voters also continue to assess the job Mr. Obama is doing on foreign policy negatively.
Yet, views of Mr. Obama’s approach to the economy, and his overall job performance have somewhat improved.
While the job approval ratings of congressional Democrats, 30%, and Republicans, 33%, remain low, attitudes toward Congress have gotten better. Although a majority still has a bleak outlook about the country’s direction, Americans are the most optimistic they have been in nearly two years.
“Voters are more dismayed over President Obama’s handling of ISIS and they want action,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “Although Republicans are, overall, more hawkish on ground troops than Democrats, Tea Party Republicans are the most likely to want to send large numbers of troops to battle ISIS.”
- More than six in ten adults, 62%, want their member of Congress to vote for President Obama’s proposal to use military force against ISIS. 25% would like their representative to vote against it, and more than one in ten, 13%, is unsure.
- 70% of Republicans and 62% of Democrats are in favor of authorizing military force against ISIS. 59% of independents agree.
- 65% of Americans think ground troops should be used in the fight against ISIS. This includes 24% of residents who believe a large number of ground troops should be deployed, and 41% who support sending a limited number. More than one in four, 27%, opposes sending any ground troops, and 7% are unsure.
- Republicans, 40%, are more than twice as likely as Democrats, 17%, to support the use of a large number of ground troops in the war against the Islamic State. 23% of independents also say a large number of boots on the ground is needed.
- Only 35% of registered voters though approve of how President Barack Obama is handling ISIS, and a majority, 56%, disapproves. Nine percent are unsure.
- The president has lost support on the issue of ISIS. When McClatchy-Marist last reported this question in October, voters divided. 48% approved of how Mr. Obama was handling ISIS, and 46% disapproved. Republicans and independents account for this change. Among Republicans, 10% approve of the president’s approach to ISIS now compared with 27% in the fall. 28% of independents, compared with 45% previously, have this view.
- When looking at President Obama’s overall handling of foreign policy, a majority of voters are not satisfied. Only 38% approve of how the president is doing in the realm of foreign policy while 56% disapprove. In December, 38% approved and 52% disapproved (Trend).
Obama’s Rating on Economy Best in Three Years… Uptick in Overall Approval Score
- While 50% of voters disapprove of how President Obama is handling the economy, there has been an improvement in the proportion of those who approve, 45%. Three months ago, 41% gave the president high marks on the economy, and 55% thought he fell short in this policy area. In fact, Obama has reached his highest rating on his economic management since March 2012 when 46% approved of how he approached the economy. 51%, at that time, disapproved (Trend).
- President Obama’s overall job approval rating is at 46% among registered voters. 50% disapprove. The president’s approval rating has improved from December. At that time 43% had a positive view of the president’s performance, and 52% thought it was lacking (Trend).
- While views of the president’s job performance have gotten slightly better, Mr. Obama’s favorable rating is still upside down. 52% of voters have an unfavorable opinion of the president while 45% have a favorable one. Similar proportions of voters had these views three months ago when 54% had a negative impression of the president, and 44% had a positive one (Trend).
- Although still low, the approval rating of congressional Republicans has gotten better. One in three voters, 33%, approves of the job they are doing, up from 28% in December. 61% currently disapprove of their performance, down from 66% three months ago (Trend). Attitudes toward Republicans in Congress have improved most among members of their own party. 60% of Republicans think well of how members of the congressional GOP are doing in office, up from 51% previously.
- 30% of voters approve of how congressional Democrats are doing their job, and 64% disapprove. In McClatchy-Marist’s December survey, 27% approved of the performance of the Democrats in Congress, and 65% disapproved (Trend).
- Looking at the direction of the nation, 59% of Americans think the country is moving in the wrong direction while 36% believe it is moving in the right one. Americans are slightly more optimistic about the course of the nation than at the end of 2014. At that time, 31% had a positive view of the nation’s direction while 64% had a more pessimistic one (Trend). Democrats are more upbeat in their opinion. 60% of Democrats think the country is on the right track while 50% felt that way in December.
What do voters nationally think of how President Barack Obama is handling ISIS? What do they think of the president’s approach to foreign policy, overall, and do Americans want Congress to allow military action against ISIS? Find out in the latest national McClatchy-Marist Poll.
To read the full McClatchy article, click here.