The Washington Post and ABC News conducted a fascinating poll that produced revealing results about partisanship and how it applies to President Barack Obama’s second-term agenda.The pollsters asked one half of respondents whether they supported four divisive pieces of legislation. They asked the other half whether they supported the measure with President Barack Obama’s name attached to the proposal.
The results revealed two things: First, what topics and proposals Obama should avoid in tonight’s State of the Union address and in subsequent speeches later this week. And second, the poll showed that Republicans will likely never support a measure with Obama’s name attached to it — even if they support the proposal overall.
In all four issues the poll measured — immigration reform, an assault weapons ban, ending the war in Afghanistan, and enacting climate change legislation — support dropped among Republicans when Obama’s name was attached to the question.
Most significant was the drop in support for a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants “if they meet certain requirements.” On the surface, 60 per cent of Republicans supported this. When pollsters added the caveat that “Obama has proposed” the legislation, support dropped to just 39 per cent of Republicans.
The same rang true for an assault weapons ban, ending the war in Afghanistan, and new federal policies to address climate change — though that did not change Republicans’ overall support or opposition of the measures.
Overall, the poll showed that when Obama’s name is attached, support bumps up for an assault weapons ban, climate change, and ending the war in Afghanistan — largely because of an influx of Democratic and Independent support. It suggested that he can move his agenda forward by talking about his proposals for each. But overall support for a path to citizenship in immigration reform drops with Obama’s name.
Here’s a chart from the WaPo (via Capital Insight) breaking down the partisanship of each issue:
Photo: Capital Insight
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