As political rancor in Washington heightens speculation about a government shutdown tonight, there has been an erosion in the proportion of Americans who identify with the most conservative members of the national electorate.
23% of U.S. registered voters now consider themselves to be supporters of the Tea Party. This is a double-digit decline from September 2010 when slightly more than one-third of registered voters nationally — 34% — described themselves in this way. While the proportion of voters who back the Tea Party hovered in the middle to upper 20’s for much of the past three years, this is the first time since Marist began tracking this question that support has dipped below 25%.
While a majority of Americans think Syria’s use of chemical weapons threatens national security, they are against military involvement in the region. According to this national McClatchy-Marist Poll, nearly six in ten U.S. residents are concerned about long-term military involvement in the area, and only 21% believe waging limited air strikes in Syria would improve the situation in the region.
A majority of Americans do not want Congress to approve the president’s proposal to strike Syria. However, if the president is able to win Congressional approval, Americans divide about U.S. military action in Syria.
“The public and Congress still need to be convinced about what the president wants to accomplish and that he has a plan that will work,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “The public is worried that the president does not have a clear direction and that military action will lead to long-term entanglements.”
When it comes to President Barack Obama’s proposal to use limited air strikes on military targets in Syria, 58% of Americans oppose such a response. 32% favor limited U.S. air strikes, and 11% are unsure. Looking at party, about two-thirds of Republicans — 66%, six in ten independents — 60%, and half — 50% — of Democrats are against air strikes as a military response.
Americans are even more opposed to putting boots on the ground in Syria. Most — 80% — are against the use of U.S. ground troops in Syria. Only 13% favor such military involvement, and 7% are unsure. Regardless of party affiliation, there is consensus on this question.
Half of Americans do not believe the president has spelled out his strategy. 50% do not think President Obama has a clear idea about what he wants to do in Syria. 41% believe he has a plan mapped out, and 8% are unsure. Not surprisingly, there is a partisan divide. However, even 32% of Democrats believe the president is unclear about the nation’s next steps in Syria. 59% of Democrats think Mr. Obama has a plan at the ready. 75% of Republicans and 52% of independents do not believe the president has a clear idea about what he wants to do in Syria.
This fuels the underlying fear of long-term military involvement. Almost six in ten Americans — 57% — say it is very likely or likely that limited air strikes on Syria will lead to a longer commitment in the region. 37%, however, do not expect continued involvement, and 6% are unsure.
Despite Americans’ hesitation to get involved in the region, 53% of Americans report Syria’s use of chemical weapons is a serious threat to the national security of the United States or its interests in the region. 39% do not think these actions are a significant threat, and 8% are unsure.
Majority’s Message to Congress: “Keep U.S. Out of Syria”
53% of Americans do not want Congress to go along with President Obama’s request for a U.S. military response to Syria’s use of chemical weapons on its citizens. 38% want Congress to support the president’s request, and 8% are unsure.
While 65% of Republicans want Congress to reject the president’s request, nearly three in ten — 28% — want Congress to affirm it. Among independents, 54% want Congress to say, “No,” to the president while 36% want Congress to back his request. Democrats divide. 48% want Congress to support the president’s proposal while 44% want them to oppose it.
If Congress goes along with the president’s call for military action in Syria, Americans are somewhat more receptive to the idea of using military force in the region, but they are divided. 48% favor limited air strikes while 46% oppose them. Six percent are unsure.
Democrats bolster support. 57% of Democrats favor these strikes if Congress supports the president’s request. However, 55% of Republicans oppose them. Independents divide. 48% would oppose these attacks by the United States while 45% would favor them if the president wins cooperation from Congress.
Politically, 54% of registered voters say that it would make no difference to their vote if their elected official in Congress voted to approve U.S. air strikes on military targets in Syria. But, for voters that believe this issue matters to their vote, by about two to one, they are less likely to support their member of Congress if they agree to a military response in Syria — 28% — while 13% who would be more likely to vote for their elected representative. Four percent are unsure.
Regardless of party affiliation, a majority reports their vote would not be influenced if their congressperson voted with the president. However, 34% of Republicans and 32% of independent voters would be less likely to cast their ballot for their elected official if he or she supports the president’s request.
“Don’t Go It Alone,” Say Most Americans
If Congress denies the president’s request to use military force in Syria, 74% of Americans do not want the president to authorize air strikes on Syria. One in five — 20% — does want the president to take unilateral action, and 6% are unsure. 81% of Republicans and 78% of independents do not want the president to act without the approval of Congress. Nearly two-thirds of Democrats — 65% — say the same.
However, for a majority of Americans — 52%, the president’s request for Congressional approval to use military force in Syria makes him look strong. About one-third — 33% — perceives him as weak, and 15% are unsure.
While half of Republicans — 50% — think the president’s request makes him look weak, 40% of the GOP view his actions as strong. 66% of Democrats and nearly half of independent voters — 49% — view the president’s request to Congress in the same way.
Do Americans want the U.S. to forge international alliances before taking military action in Syria? 76% say it is necessary for the U.S. to have support from other countries before proceeding with a military response in Syria. 22% believe it is not necessary, and 2% are unsure.
Would the Ends Justify the Means?
Half of adults nationally — 50% — do not think waging limited air strikes on Syria is likely to achieve America’s military goals. 41% of Americans disagree. Eight percent are unsure.
There is a partisan divide here. A slim majority of Democrats — 51% — think it is either very likely or likely that the United States will achieve its military goals in Syria. This compares with 36% of Republicans. Independents align with Republicans on this question. Only 35% of these voters think the U.S. will meet its military goals in the region.
What kind of impact do Americans think the use of limited air strikes by the United States would have? A plurality of Americans — 46% — think such military action would make the situation worse in the area. 21% believe it would make it better, and 29% say it would make no difference. Four percent are unsure.
Americans divide over whether or not air strikes would discourage Syria from using chemical weapons on its citizens in the future. 49% think U.S. action would not, and 47% report it is likely that U.S. military involvement would successfully restrain Syria from future use of chemical weapons. Four percent are unsure.
When it comes to whether or not military air strikes would keep other countries from employing chemical weapons, 50% of Americans believe it is either very likely — 16% — or likely — 34% — that U.S. action would accomplish this goal. 45% of adults say it is not likely U.S. air strikes would result in future restraint by other countries. Four percent are unsure.
Obama’s Foreign Policy Rating at Lowest Point in Presidency
There’s more bad news for President Obama. The president’s approval rating on foreign policy is his lowest since taking office. 38% approve of how he is handling the issue while majority of registered voters — 54% — disapprove. Eight percent are unsure.
When McClatchy-Marist last reported this question in July, 41% approved of how Mr. Obama was dealing with foreign policy. 48% disapproved, and 10% were unsure. That 41% approval rating on foreign policy was the president’s lowest until this time.
President’s Approval Rating at 44%
Voters divide about the job President Obama is doing in office. While 44% approve, 47% disapprove. Nine percent are unsure. When McClatchy-Marist last reported this question in July, 41% of registered voters thought well of his job performance. 48% gave him low marks, and 11%, at the time, were unsure.
Do Americans think Syria is a threat to their national security? Do they support military involvement in Syria, and do Americans want Congress to approve the president’s request? Find out in the latest national McClatchy-Marist Poll.
To read the full McClatchy article, click here.
In light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn a key part of the Voting Rights Act, should Congress act to provide federal oversight to areas where voters’ rights may be jeopardized? A majority of adults nationally — 53% — think discrimination in voting still exists and should be addressed by Congress. 37%, though, believe such discrimination is a thing of the past and does not require action. 11% are unsure. Similar proportions of registered voters share these views.
POLL MUST BE SOURCED: McClatchy-Marist Poll*
“Americans want Congress to pick up where the Supreme Court left off,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “But, like so many other issues today, there is a strong partisan divide.”
- More than three in four Democrats — 76% — say Congress needs to act and address discrimination in voting.
- Nearly half of independent voters — 48% — believe Congress needs to take on the issue.
- Almost six in ten Republicans — 58% — report discrimination in voting is outdated and does not require action by Congress.
Should the Voting Rights Act be a priority for President Barack Obama and Congress? 54% of Americans say they should act, if not immediately, then within the next couple of years. This includes 28% who think the Voting Rights Act should be an immediate priority and 26% who believe the issue should be a priority over the next couple of years. 25% do not think voting rights should be a priority at all, and 20% are unsure. Similar proportions of registered voters nationally agree.
Getting Specific: Changes to Election Laws
Which proposed election law changes do Americans support? Among adults nationally:
- Most — 83% — think changing election laws to require voters to show identification before voting is a good thing. 13% believe it is a bad thing, and 4% are unsure. A similar proportion of registered voters share this view.
- Nearly seven in ten U.S. residents — 68% — support changing legislation to allow early voting in elections before Election Day. 29% oppose this proposal, and 3% are unsure. Here, too, the opinions of registered voters are in line with those of the overall population.
- About six in ten adults nationally — 60% — think allowing voters to cast their ballot on the Sunday before Election Day is a good thing. 28% believe it is a bad thing, and 11% are unsure. Similar proportions of registered voters share these opinions.
- A majority of Americans — 57% — favor same day registration so people can register to vote on Election Day. 40% are against this measure, and 4% are unsure. Among registered voters nationally, 52% believe this proposed change is a good thing. 45% think it is a bad thing, and 3% are unsure.
As the debate surrounding U.S. immigration policy continues, a growing number of Americans believe the issue should be an immediate priority for President Barack Obama and Congress. A majority of U.S. residents — 53% — have this view while 34% say immigration policy should be addressed over the next couple of years. 13% of residents don’t think immigration reform should be an issue at all.
POLL MUST BE SOURCED: McClatchy-Marist Poll
“Americans are eager to see action on immigration reform,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “But, they are also divided over what the new policy should emphasize.”
The proportion of Americans who want immigration policy to take center stage in the national discourse has increased. When McClatchy-Marist last reported this question in March, 37% of adults nationally thought immigration reform should be an immediate priority. 46% said it should be addressed over the next couple of years, and 17% reported immigration policy should not be a priority at all.
What should be the focus of immigration reform? Nearly half of U.S. adults — 48% — think protecting our borders should be the central theme. 44% report legislation should be about finding a path to citizenship for those already here. Eight percent are unsure. Similar proportions of registered voters share these views.
Slightly fewer Americans believe the crux of U.S. immigration policy should be border protection. In March, a majority of residents — 55% — thought border security should be at the heart of the changes to immigration policy. 41% reported finding a pathway to citizenship should be the focus. Four percent, then, were unsure.
Partisan differences exist on this question. About seven in ten Republicans — 69% — and a majority of independents — 54% — favor border protection. This compares with more than six in ten Democrats — 61% — who want the focus to be on a pathway to citizenship.
Race matters. A majority of white Americans — 53% — want the focus of immigration policy to be on border protection. In contrast, a majority of African Americans — 51% — and nearly two-thirds of Latinos — 64% — want an emphasis on finding a pathway to citizenship for immigrants already in the United States.
Gay and lesbian couples who are married legally in their states are now permitted to receive federal benefits thanks to last month’s U.S. Supreme Court decision which overturned the Defense of Marriage Act. But, are Americans more receptive to same-sex marriage than they were in the past? According to this national McClatchy-Marist Poll, nearly half of adults — 49% — either strongly favor or favor allowing gays and lesbians to legally marry. This includes nearly one in four — 24% — who strongly favor and one in four — 25% — who are in favor of gay marriage. Four in ten — 40% — either strongly oppose or oppose same-sex marriage, and 11% are unsure.
POLL MUST BE SOURCED: McClatchy-Marist Poll
“There have been significant changes in attitudes on the issue of same-sex marriage,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “Although younger Americans are more likely to support same-sex marriage than their older counterparts, there has been greater acceptance across all age groups over the past 10 years.”
Many Americans are more open-minded to the idea of same-sex marriage than they were a decade ago. According to data by the Pew Research Center released in 2003, just 32% of adults nationally either strongly favored or favored allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally. This compares with nearly six in ten — 59% — who strongly opposed or opposed same-sex marriage. Nine percent, at the time, were unsure.
According to this current McClatchy-Marist Poll, younger residents are more likely to support gay marriage than older Americans. Almost six in ten residents younger than 45 — 58% — support the legal marriage of gay and lesbian couples. This compares with 42% of those 45 and older.
There are also regional and racial differences. Americans living in the Northeast — 65% — and in the West — 57% — are more likely than U.S. residents in the Midwest — 44% — and in the South — 39% — to support same-sex marriage. Looking at race, majorities of Latino — 54% — and white — 53% — adults nationally support allowing gay and lesbians to marry legally. This compares with just 28% of African Americans.
Majority Favors Federal Recognition of Gay Marriage
The Supreme Court has not ruled on whether or not same-sex marriage is constitutional. However, a majority of Americans — 52% — think the decision about the legality of same-sex marriage should be made for the entire country based on federal law. 43% believe the decision should be made by each state, and 5% are unsure.
Men and women differ on this question. While a majority of women — 56% — want the federal government to make the decision about the legality of same-sex marriage, men divide. 48% of men believe there should be a uniform law throughout the nation while the same proportion — 48% — believe the ruling should be left to the states.
What are the talkers in Washington this week? The latest national McClatchy-Marist Poll provides Americans’ opinions on voting rights, immigration, and same-sex marriage.
To read the full McClatchy article, click here.
7/25: Majority Believes Government’s Monitoring is Out of Line…Seven in Ten Want Regulations in Place
Should Americans’ privacy be compromised for the sake of national security? The debate has taken center stage in light of Edward Snowden, the national security consultant who stirred a controversy with his leak of classified information about the federal government’s anti-terrorism efforts. According to this national McClatchy-Marist Poll, 56% of adults nationally think the federal government’s policy to collect information from Americans’ phone calls, emails, and other Internet activity in the interest of national security goes too far. 34%, though, say it is something that is needed, and 9% are unsure. Registered voters reflect these views.
POLL MUST BE SOURCED: McClatchy-Marist Poll*
“Despite Americans’ concern about terrorism, they still value their privacy and want to limit what government can do,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.
Regardless of party, at least a majority of registered voters think the federal government has crossed the line when it comes to monitoring Americans’ activity.
- Independent voters are the most outraged. 62% of independents think the government has gone too far. 33% say this policy is needed, and 6% are unsure.
- Among Democrats, 53% report the federal government has overstepped its bounds. 38% say its actions are needed, and 9% are unsure.
- Looking at Republican voters, 51% believe the federal government has overreached. This compares with 41% who say the policy is needed, and 8% are unsure.
Is this type of monitoring something Americans should expect and accept? 70% report there should be regulations to limit what may be monitored so as to protect people’s privacy. This compares with 26% who say this is just a part of life in the digital age. Four percent are unsure. Again, the views of registered voters are in line with the overall population.
Invasion of Office Space?
When it comes to preventing future leaks, where should the line be drawn? Six in ten Americans — 60% — think requiring federal employees to track the actions of their co-workers or face harsh penalties, such as criminal charges, is out of bounds. Three in ten — 30% — say this is a necessary step to protect national security, and 9% are unsure.
Nearly Half of Americans Consider Snowden a Whistle-blower
What about Edward Snowden who sparked this debate? 49% of Americans describe him as a whistle-blower while 38% believe he is a traitor. 13% are unsure. Among registered voters nationally, half — 50% — believe Snowden uncovered government wrongdoing, 38% think he is a turncoat, and 11% are unsure.
Independent voters — 55% — are more likely to consider Snowden to be a whistle-blower than Democrats — 47% — and Republicans — 46%. Among Republicans, there is a divide. 43% describe Snowden as traitorous. 10% of Republicans are unsure.
There are age differences. Younger adults nationally are more likely to consider Snowden to be a whistle-blower. A majority of those under 30 — 56% — believe Snowden blew the whistle on the government’s actions. This compares with 49% of those 30 to 44, 47% of those 45 to 59, and 46% of those 60 and older.
While nearly half of Americans consider Snowden to be a whistle-blower, a majority — 55% — has an unfavorable opinion of him. 20% have a favorable view of him, and 25% are unsure. Again, similar proportions of registered voters share these views.
Here, older Americans are more likely than younger residents to have an unfavorable impression of Mr. Snowden. 64% of Americans 60 and older have a lesser view of Snowden. This compares with 57% of residents 45 to 59, 50% of those 30 to 44, and 45% of adults under 30 who share this negative impression of him.
Majority Approves of Obama’s Handling of Anti-Terrorism
Even with the controversy, a majority of registered voters — 53% — approve of how President Barack Obama is addressing homeland security and anti-terrorism. 38% disapprove, and 9% are unsure. There has been little change on this question since Marist last reported it in April 2009, shortly after the president took office. At that time, 56% of voters gave President Obama high marks on security and anti-terrorism, 32% thought he fell short, and 12% were unsure.
To what extent are Americans willing to sacrifice their privacy for the sake of national security? Find out in the latest national McClatchy-Marist Poll.
To read the full McClatchy article, click here.
If former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were to announce a candidacy for the Presidency, she would be the clear frontrunner for the Democratic nomination. Clinton outdistances her closest potential opponent, Vice President Joe Biden, by almost five-to-one in a hypothetical contest. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley each receives single-digit support. On the Republican side, there is no clear frontrunner among the pack of potential candidates.
POLL MUST BE SOURCED: McClatchy-Marist Poll*
“Get ready for round two of Hillary Clinton as the inevitable,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “The big question is whether she runs.”
Among Democrats nationally including Democratic leaning independents, here is how the contest stands:
- 63% Hillary Clinton
- 13% Joe Biden
- 6% Andrew Cuomo
- 1% Martin O’Malley
- 18% undecided
Do Democrats and Democratic leaning independents want a nominee who will continue President Obama’s policies, or would they rather a nominee who will move in another direction? They divide. 46% believe it is more important to have a nominee who will move President Obama’s policies forward while 44% want someone with a new vision. 10% are unsure.
Looking at the Republican contest, among Republicans nationally including Republican leaning independents, here is how the contest stands:
- 15% Chris Christie
- 13% Paul Ryan
- 12% Marco Rubio
- 10% Jeb Bush
- 9% Rand Paul
- 7% Ted Cruz
- 4% Rick Perry
- 2% Rick Santorum
- 2% Scott Walker
- 1% Bobby Jindal
- 1% Susana Martinez
- 25% undecided
“In a crowded field, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is at the top of the list,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “None of the potential Republican candidates who appeal to the more activist base of the party have broken free of the pack.”
By more than two-to-one, Republicans and Republican leaning independents would prefer a Republican nominee who stands on conservative principles rather than one who can win. Nearly two-thirds — 64% — think it is more important to have a candidate who stands firmly on Republican ground. This compares with 31% who believe the priority should be nominating a candidate who can defeat his or her Democratic opponent. Five percent are unsure.
Clinton Leads GOP Opponents in Potential 2016 General Election Matchups
Hillary Clinton is the frontrunner not only for her party’s nomination but also against the leading Republican presidential wannabes for 2016. Chris Christie and Jeb Bush run the most competitively against Clinton yet she still leads Christie by 6 percentage points and Bush by 8. She outdistances her other possible Republican opponents by double-digits.
Among registered voters nationally, here is how Hillary Clinton fares against potential Republican candidates:
- Clinton — 47% — leads Chris Christie — 41% — by 6 percentage points. 12% are undecided. When McClatchy-Marist last reported this question in April, Clinton — 46% — and Christie — 43% — were neck and neck. 11% were undecided.
- Against Bush, Clinton is ahead by 8 percentage points. Here, Clinton receives 48% to 40% for Bush. 12% are undecided. In April, Clinton — 54% — led Bush — 38% — by 16 percentage points. Eight percent, at that time, were undecided.
- In a contest against Rubio, Clinton has a 12 percentage point advantage. She receives the support of 50% of registered voters compared with 38% for Rubio. 12% are undecided. Little has changed on this question. Clinton — 52% — outpaced Rubio — 40% — in McClatchy-Marist’s previous survey.
- When matched against Paul, 50% of voters are for Clinton compared with 38% for Paul. 11% are undecided. In April, 52% were for Clinton while 41% were for Paul. Seven percent were undecided.
- 53% of voters support Clinton when matched against Ryan — 37%. Nine percent are undecided.
- Clinton — 52% — also outdistances Perry — 36%. 12% are undecided.