4/4: Half of Voters Trust Obama More than Republicans to Deal with Budget…More Blame GOP for Gridlock
When it comes to the federal budget, 50% of registered voters nationally trust President Barack Obama to make the right decisions. This compares with 41% who have more faith in the Republicans in Congress to make the correct choices. Eight percent trust neither the president nor the Congressional GOP while only 1% of voters have confidence in both. Two percent are unsure.
“There are no winners when it comes to the budget battles in Washington,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “If forced to choose, more voters side with President Obama over the Congressional Republicans.”
- Voters’ views fall along party lines. 88% of Democrats have more faith in the president to make the appropriate budgetary decisions.
- 85% of Republicans have more confidence in the Congressional GOP.
- Among independent voters, 46% express more trust in the president to decide on fiscal matters while 37% place greater faith in the hands of the Republicans in Congress.
Who is to blame for the gridlock on the federal budget? Nearly half of registered voters — 48% — point a finger at the Republicans in Congress for the stalemate. 34% place the onus on the president while 11% say both parties are responsible. Seven percent of voters report neither are to blame or are unsure.
- While there is a partisan divide, about one in six Republicans blame the Congressional GOP for the stalemate. 68% of Republicans say President Obama is at fault, but 17% blame the Republicans in Congress.
- Among Democrats, 79% place the blame on the Republicans in Congress and only 10% fault the president.
- A plurality of independents — 45% — say the Republicans in Congress are the cause of the gridlock while 32% point a finger at the president.
No Winners in Budget Give and Take
President Obama, however, does not come out unscathed in the budget debate. A majority of voters — 56% — disapprove of how he is handling the budget negotiations with the Republicans in Congress. 38% approve, and 6% are unsure.
- 88% of Republicans believe the president is falling short in the negotiating process.
- While 67% of Democrats praise Mr. Obama’s efforts, nearly one in four Democrats — 24% — disapprove of how the president is handling the process.
- More than six in ten independents — 61% — think the president needs to revamp his negotiating skills.
The Republicans in Congress fare worse than the president. Almost seven in ten registered voters — 69% — disapprove of how they are conducting themselves during the budget negotiations with President Obama. 24% approve of their actions, and 7% are unsure.
- Even a slim majority of Republicans — 51% — disapprove of how the GOP in Congress is handling budget negotiations while 45% approve.
- 84% of Democrats are dissatisfied with how the Republicans are negotiating with the president.
- 70% of independents disapprove of the way the Congressional Republicans are negotiating with the president.
More Americans View Sequester Cuts as No Big Deal than a Month Ago
When it comes to the impact of the automatic spending cuts on the economy, 40% of adults nationally say they have had no effect on the economy. 36% believe they have had a negative impact while 14% say the sequester cuts have had a positive one. 10% are unsure. Similar proportions of registered voters share these views.
There has been an increase in the proportion of Americans who think these across-the- board spending cuts have had little impact on the nation’s economy. When McClatchy-Marist reported this question last month, 27% of residents thought sequestration would not affect the economy. Nearly half — 47% — said the economy would be adversely affected, and 19% thought it would be positively impacted. Seven percent, at that time, were unsure.
On the personal side, almost two-thirds of adults — 65% — say these automatic budget cuts have not had any effect on their family. 26% report the sequestration has had a negative impact while 6% think it has had a positive one. Three percent are unsure. Registered voters reflect the views of Americans.
Here, too, there has been an increase in those who aren’t feeling the impact of sequestration. Last month, 48% of Americans did not anticipate any effect on their family. 39% said the automatic spending cuts would have a negative impact on their personal finances while 10% thought it would have a positive impact on them. Three percent were unsure.
Half Approve of Obama’s Job Performance
50% of registered voters nationally approve of how the president is doing his job. 46% disapprove, and 4% are unsure. When this question was last reported in March, 48% disapproved of President Obama’s job performance. 45% approved, and 7% were unsure.
The president’s image has improved, as well. 53% have a favorable impression of President Obama while 45% have an unfavorable one. Two percent are unsure. In March, voters divided. 48% had a positive opinion of the president. 48% had an unfavorable view of him, and 4% were unsure.
The Democrats and Republicans in Congress continue to struggle to make inroads with U.S. voters. 32% of registered voters approve of how the Democrats in Congress are performing in office while 62% disapprove. Six percent are unsure.
There has been little change on this question since McClatchy-Marist’s previous survey when 31% approved of how Congressional Democrats were doing their job. 62% disapproved, and 7% were unsure.
Congressional Republicans are also swimming against the tide of public opinion. 24% of voters approve of how they are performing in office. 71% disapprove, and 6% are unsure. Last month, 68% of voters disapproved of the Congressional GOP’s job performance. 26% approved, and 7% were unsure.
Majority Still Disapproves of Obama’s Handling of the Economy
When it comes to how President Obama is handling the nation’s economy, 53% disapprove of how he is tackling the issue. 44% approve, and 2% are unsure. Last month, 57% of registered voters gave the president’s handling of the economy a thumbs-down while 40% thought he was doing a good job in this area. Four percent were unsure.
Mixed Reviews for Obama’s Handling of Foreign Policy
48% of registered voters approve of how President Obama is handling foreign policy. 46% disapprove, and 6% are unsure. When McClatchy-Marist last reported this question, voters also divided. 47% disapproved of how the president was dealing with the issue while 46% approved. Eight percent were unsure.
Nearly Six in Ten Think the Nation Needs a Course Correction
58% of adults nationally think the country is moving in the wrong direction. 38% believe it is traveling in the right one, and 4% are unsure. Little has changed on this question since last month when 60% said the nation was off track. 35% believed it was on the correct path, and 5% were unsure.
When it comes to the federal budget deficit, do voters nationally have more trust in President Barack Obama to handle the issue, or do they have more confidence in the Republicans in Congress? At whom do they point a finger for the gridlock surrounding the federal budget? Find out in the latest national McClatchy-Marist Poll.
To read the full McClatchy article, click here.
Speculation about who the presidential candidates will be in 2016 is a year round sport. On the Democratic side, much attention has been given to the possible candidacies of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden. How do the two run against potential Republican candidates? With the exception of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Clinton receives majority support nationally and outdistances her possible rivals by double digits. Biden also does well except against Christie where both candidates are locked in a close contest.
“This is, of course, a very early peek at the 2016 presidential contest,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “But, these matchups underscore the message from 2012: the GOP still has work to do to get ready for the next presidential go around.”
Among registered voters nationally, here is how Hillary Clinton fares against potential Republican candidates:
- New Jersey Governor Chris Christie runs competitively against Clinton. In fact, he is the only Republican challenger tested that keeps her numbers under majority support. Clinton garners the backing of 46% of registered voters nationally while Christie has the support of 43%. 11% are undecided. Not surprisingly, the partisan divide is wide. 81% of Democrats support Clinton while 82% of Republicans back Christie. Independent voters divide. 43% favor Clinton and 40% are for Christie. A notable 18% are undecided.
- Clinton fares best against former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. 54% of voters back Clinton compared with 38% for Bush. Eight percent are undecided. While a partisan divide exists, Clinton receives majority support — 52% — among independents. Bush has the support of 35% of these voters. 13% are undecided.
- Clinton also has a double-digit lead against Florida Senator Marco Rubio. Here, 52% of voters favor Clinton while 40% are for Rubio. Eight percent are undecided. More independent voters are in Hillary Clinton’s camp. Nearly half — 49% — are behind Clinton compared with 37% for Rubio.
- Against Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, Clinton also has a strong lead. 52% of voters support Clinton compared with 41% for Paul. Seven percent are undecided. While the candidates’ support is along party lines, independents divide. 47% back Clinton compared with 45% for Paul.
Looking at Biden’s chances, among registered voters nationally:
- Against Chris Christie, the two are neck and neck. Christie receives the support of 46% of registered voters nationally while Biden garners 43%. 11% are undecided. Not surprisingly, there is a partisan divide, but Christie — 47% — has the advantage over Biden — 35% — among independent voters. 18% of independents are undecided.
- Biden has his largest lead against Marco Rubio. Here, Biden receives majority support. 53% back Biden while 39% are for Rubio. Eight percent of voters are undecided. Again, there is a partisan divide. Biden, though, receives the backing of half — 50% — of independent voters nationally while 36% are behind Rubio. 14% are undecided.
- Against Rand Paul, 50% are for Biden compared with 41% for Paul. Eight percent are undecided. Independent voters are the key. A plurality — 47% — favor Biden while 39% rally for Paul. A notable 14% are undecided.
- Biden garners the support of 49% of registered voters against Jeb Bush — 41%. 10% are undecided. Among independent voters, 43% back Biden while 41% are behind Bush. Nearly one in five independent voters — 17% — is undecided.
Almost two-thirds of Americans — 64% — want Congress and President Barack Obama to agree that creating jobs should be the top priority for the nation. 33%, however, think reducing the federal deficit should be at the top of their agenda, and 3% are unsure. Similar proportions of registered voters share these views.
“Closing the budget deficit may be the driving force in Washington, but the jobs picture is the public’s main concern,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.
- More than three in four Democrats — 76% — say Congress and the president should first tackle job creation while 21% say the deficit should be the priority.
- However, a slim majority of Republicans — 51% — disagree and want deficit reduction to be the focus. Still, 46% of Republicans think job creation should be priority number one for Congress and President Obama.
- Looking at independent voters, 60% want Congress and the president to agree that job creation should be the country’s top priority while 36% say paying down the deficit should be first addressed.
Americans Divide over Who Has Better Plan to Deal with the Budget Deficit
While 44% of adults nationally think President Obama has the better approach to deal with the federal budget deficit, four in ten residents — 40% — believe the Republicans in Congress have the better plan. Nine percent say neither the president nor the Congressional GOP has the proper vision to take on this issue. Only 1% reports both have an appropriate plan to tackle the deficit and 6% are unsure.
Among registered voters nationally, 43% believe the president has the better approach while 42% say the Republicans in Congress do. Nine percent think neither has the appropriate plan while just 1% reports both have a clear path to reduce the deficit. Five percent are unsure.
Not surprisingly, there is a partisan divide.
- 78% of Democrats believe President Obama has the better approach to reduce the federal budget deficit.
- Looking at Republicans, 81% say the Republicans in Congress are better prepared to deal with the issue.
- There is little consensus among independent voters nationally. 40% say the Congressional Republicans’ plan is stronger while 39% think the president has the better approach.
Spending Cuts or Increased Revenues?
When it comes to how the budget deficit should be reduced, more than four in ten Americans want a combination of reduced spending and increased revenues. 42% say government spending should be cut and revenues should be increased. 35% think revenues, including limiting tax deductions on higher incomes, should be mostly increased while 17% want mostly cuts to government spending, including entitlements like Medicare and Medicaid. Six percent are unsure.
“A plurality of Americans prefer both spending cuts and added revenues as a strategy to close the deficit,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “By two to one, people think added revenues makes more sense than cutting spending if only one path is pursued.”
- Nearly half of Democrats — 48% — favor revenue increases. 41% are for both revenue increases and spending cuts while only 6% want spending to be reduced.
- More than four in ten Republicans — 41% — believe the best approach is to cut spending and increase revenues while 32% want expenditures to be slashed. Just 21% prefer increasing revenues.
- A plurality of independent voters — 46% — think a mixed method of spending cuts and revenue increases is the best way to reduce the federal budget deficit. 31% say increasing revenues is the way to go while 18% favor spending cuts.
What about the tax rate? In January, the top federal tax rate for a family income of more than $450,000 was raised from 35% to nearly 40%. With that, a majority of adults nationally — 56% — say they are neither more nor less likely to support reducing the deficit by limiting tax deductions on higher incomes. 22% are more likely to support closing tax loopholes for Americans with higher incomes while 18% are less likely to back such a plan given the increase in the tax rate earlier this year. Four percent are unsure.
Bump in Those Who Prioritize Controlling Gun Violence over Gun Rights
On the issue of gun violence, a majority of Americans — 53% — believe it is more important to control gun violence than to protect gun rights — 44%. Three percent are unsure.
There has been a slight increase in the proportion of U.S. residents who put the impetus on controlling gun violence. When this question was previously reported, 49% of Americans said this should be the priority. 48% disagreed and reported that protecting gun rights was more important. Three percent were unsure.
Among gun owners in the United States, 63% currently say it is more important to protect gun rights. 34% think controlling gun violence is the key, and 3% are unsure.
The views of registered voters nationally reflect those of Americans, overall. 54% of voters prioritize controlling gun violence over protecting gun rights — 43%. Three percent are unsure.
- 77% of Democrats believe controlling gun violence is the key. 22% want gun rights to be protected, and 2% are unsure.
- Among Republicans, 63% think it is more important to protect gun rights while 34% say controlling gun violence should be the priority. Three percent are unsure.
- Independent voters divide. 48% think it is more important to protect gun rights while 48% believe gun control should be the priority. Four percent are unsure.
Six in ten Americans — 60% — want to make the laws governing the sale of firearms more strict. Just 5% would like the laws to be less strict, and 33% want them to be left as they are. Two percent are unsure. Among gun owners nationally, half — 50% — say these laws should remain in their current form. 43% think these regulations should be stricter while only 7% believe they should be relaxed. One percent is unsure. Registered voters reflect the views of Americans, overall.
When it comes to specific gun laws, nearly six in ten U.S. residents — 59% — support legislation that would ban the sale of assault weapons. 37% oppose such a measure, and 4% are unsure. While 51% of gun owners oppose such legislation, 45% are in favor of such a proposal. Four percent are unsure. Registered voters align with the overall population.
Overwhelmingly, Americans support legislation that would call for background checks for private gun sales and purchases made at gun shows. 87% have this opinion while 12% oppose it. Only 1% is unsure.
Looking ahead to the 2016 presidential contest, what are the chances of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden?
The latest national McClatchy-Marist Poll takes a look at their odds against potential Republican candidates. To read the full McClatchy article, click here.
What do U.S. registered voters think will come of President Barack Obama’s trip to the Middle East?
About two-thirds of voters — 66% — don’t think it will make much difference in easing the tensions in the region. 19% believe the president’s trip will increase tensions in the area while 15% say the visit will decrease them.
“Voters are not optimistic that the president’s trip will be a productive one,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “But, such low expectations present an opportunity for President Obama to make strides both abroad and in voters’ views of his standing internationally.”
But, will Mr. Obama’s presence help jump-start negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians? 65% of voters nationally do not think his trip will help restart peace talks. 27%, however, believe his visit will, and 3% say it will make no difference in the process. Six percent are unsure.
While 80% of Republicans and 70% of independent voters do not think President Obama’s visit to the Middle East will restart peace talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians, Democrats divide. 47% of Democrats do not think it will help restart talks while 43% believe the trip will.
Obama’s Handling of Foreign Policy Receives Mixed Reviews…Lowest Point in Two Years
There has been a decline in the proportion of registered voters nationally who approve of how President Barack Obama is dealing with foreign policy. Registered voters divide with 46% reporting they approve of his handling of the issue and 47% saying they disapprove. Eight percent are unsure. When McClatchy-Marist last reported this question in December 2012, a slim majority of voters — 51% — approved of how the president was dealing with foreign policy. 42% disapproved, and 7% were unsure.
The president’s current approval rating is the lowest he’s received on this issue since April 2011. At that time, 46% gave the president a thumbs-up on foreign policy. 48% disapproved, and 6% were unsure.
Seven in Ten View Iran as Imminent Nuclear Threat
70% of registered voters think Iran is close to becoming a nuclear threat. This includes 31% who believe the nation is very close and 39% who believe it is close. 18% don’t perceive the country as an imminent nuclear danger while 6% don’t think it is a threat at all. Six percent are unsure.
Republicans — 84% — are most likely to think Iran is on the cusp of becoming a nuclear threat. More than seven in ten independent voters — 72% — agree. Among Democrats, 59% have this view.
President Barack Obama will arrive in the Middle East next week. What are voters’ expectations for the trip? Do they think the president’s visit will restart peace talks in the region? Find out in the latest national McClatchy-Marist Poll.
To read the full McClatchy article, click here.
The renewed debate about gun violence in the United States has fostered little consensus among Americans. Where do Americans stand on the issue? They divide. 49% of adults nationally think it is more important to control gun violence while 48% believe the priority should be to protect gun rights. Three percent are unsure. Not surprisingly, 70% of gun owners say it is more important to protect gun rights. Although, 28% of these residents report controlling gun violence is the priority. Two percent are unsure.
Registered voters’ views reflect those of Americans, overall. 49% of voters nationally say controlling gun violence is key while 49% report gun rights should take precedence. Two percent are unsure.
- There is a partisan divide. More than three in four Democrats — 77% — want the priority to be controlling gun violence while 22% say protecting gun rights is the most important dimension of the issue. One percent is unsure.
- Among Republicans, 74% believe gun rights must be protected while 23% think controlling gun violence is the top priority. Two percent are unsure.
- Independent voters are more likely to align with Republicans on this question. 54% of these voters report protecting gun rights is more important. 43% believe controlling gun violence is the key, and 3% are unsure.
When it comes to specific proposals, many Americans support stricter gun regulations:
- 84% of Americans favor background checks for private gun sales and sales at gun shows. 15% oppose the idea, and 2% are unsure. Even 81% of gun owners nationally support such a measure. Registered voters mirror the overall population. Regardless of political party, more than eight in ten favor background checks.
- A majority of Americans — 55% — favor a ban on assault weapons. 41% oppose such a ban, and 3% are unsure. A majority of gun owners — 55% — are against such a measure. On this question, registered voters also reflect the views of Americans, overall. There are partisan differences. 70% of Democrats and 54% of independents support a ban on assault weapons while a slim majority of Republicans — 51% — oppose it.
- When it comes to banning ammunition clips that hold more than ten bullets, 52% of adults nationally favor the measure. 45% oppose it, and 3% are unsure. Looking at gun owners in the United States, nearly six in ten — 59% — are against the proposal. Again, registered voters are in line with Americans, in general. When it comes to party, 71% of Democrats favor such a measure. However, a majority of Republicans — 56% — and 51% of independents oppose banning clips with more than ten bullets.
- Overwhelmingly, Americans — 78% — oppose reducing regulations on gun purchases to make it easier to buy and own a gun. 19% favor this action, and 3% are unsure. Even 70% of gun owners nationally oppose this idea. Here, too, registered voters reflect the views of Americans as a whole. Regardless of party, more than seven in ten voters are against easing regulations to purchase a gun.
Where should U.S. immigration policy fall on Washington lawmakers’ agenda? 83% of Americans believe the issue should be a priority. This includes 37% who want it to be an immediate priority, and 46% who believe it should be addressed in the next couple of years. 17%, however, don’t think immigration policy should be a priority. Similar proportions of registered voters share these views.
When it comes to the specific changes to immigration policy, a majority of adults — 55% — think they should be mostly about protecting our borders. 41%, though, believe the focus should be on finding a pathway to citizenship for those who are already here. Four percent are unsure.
Registered voters reflect the views of Americans, overall. However, there is a partisan divide. While 75% of Republicans and a majority of independent voters — 56% — favor border control, 55% of Democrats think a pathway to citizenship should be at the heart of reform.
Gun control has re-entered the national discourse. But, to what extent, if any, do Americans support stricter gun regulations? Plus, how much of a priority should immigration reform be for Washington lawmakers? Find out in the latest national McClatchy-Marist Poll.
To read the full McClatchy article, click here.