A nasty new poll from PEW (nasty for the GOP) shows just how bad the Republicans have it on issues ranging from the sequester to immigration, gun control, climate change, and the minimum wage. (More detailed results here.)
And, as always, keep an eye on the independents in these polls. You pretty much (usually) know how the Republicans and Democrats are going to come down on any one issue, but indies are the key swing vote.
First, what legislation each group thinks is “essential” this year. The priority is the deficit, followed by immigration, then lesser support for gun control and even less for climate change. It’s interesting that climate change fares so much worse than gun control.
While the public doesn’t entirely seem to get what the sequester is – 49% say we should delay it, 40% say let it happen – if the sequester happens and bad things start happening, and they will, 49% say they’ll blame the Republicans, while only 31% say they’ll blame Democrats.
As for what kind of a budget deal the public wants in order to avoid the sequester, only 19% agree with the Republican position that tax increases should be off the table. A full 76% agree with the President and Democrats that the deal should involve a combination of spending cuts and tax increases. And this part made me laugh:
Even among Republicans, more favor a combination of spending cuts and tax increases to just spending cuts (56% vs. 42%).
One part of the polling that PEW botched was asking people how much of the final package should be tax increases and how much should be spending cuts. PEW asked whether the deal should be “mostly spending cuts” or “mostly tax increases.” For some unknown reason, PEW did not offer a third option “a 50-50 split of tax increases and spending cuts.” It’s quite possible that a majority want a 50-50 split, but when you ONLY give them the option of mostly spending cuts vs mostly tax increases, they prefer spending cuts. This was a sloppy mistake.
In bad news, I’d argue, the public seems to be buying into deficit-mania, with 70% says it is essential that we pass major legislation to reduce the federal deficit. Even a majority of Democrats feel this way.
51% says it’s essential to act on immigration, including 53% of Republicans and 49% of Independents, which is kind of funny, but perhaps makes sense. Some Republicans are terrified of losing another election, so they want immigration reform to buy Latino votes. Other Republicans are terrified about “the Mexican invasion,” so they’re demanding hard-nose immigration reform to stop it. So “strong” GOP support for immigration legislation isn’t necessarily a sign that the GOP is on board with “good” immigration legislation.
In fact, the poll shows that about half the public thinks an immigration deal should include better border security along with a path for citizenship for people who are here illegally. That’s a shift away from “border security” in past polls.
46% says it’s essential to act on gun violence. Only 42% of independents are on board here, that’s not good. Having said that, it’s higher than the number of independents who want to put off gun control until another time (23%), or not at all (33%).
There’s huge support for background checks at gun shows (83%) and still a strong majority for a ban on assault rifles (56%) and a ban on high-capacity clips (53%). 52% of indies agree with the assault weapon ban, as do 43% of Republicans (I’m actually surprised it’s that high for Rs).
But only 34% says it’s essential to act on climate change. We only get 35% of independents on board here.
54% wants more alternative energy vs. more drilling (34%). And 62% favor stricter emissions on power plants, while only 28% oppose. And the indies are with us on this one:
PEW notes that young people are with us too.