Reporting Tim Kephart
MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A new nationwide poll from USA Today/Pew Research pulls back the curtain on what the public wants Washington to focus on in 2013 and beyond; and the results couldn’t be worse for many of the positions the Republican Party is taking on major policy issues.
According to the poll, a majority of Americans said the federal budget deficit and immigration must be dealt with in 2013. The poll also found that 46 percent of Americans believed gun control should be dealt with this year, while 34 percent chose climate change as an issue needing to be addressed immediately.
The bigger issue for the GOP is who the poll found Americans trust more to deal with the four issues of the deficit, guns, immigration, and climate change.
On the issue of the deficit, the poll found 45 percent prefer President Barack Obama’s handling of the problem to 38 percent who supported Congressional Republicans. Eight percent said they trusted neither group to properly deal with the deficit problem.
On guns, the difference narrowed slightly with 45 percent again supporting President Obama’s approach to 39 percent supporting Congressional Republicans’ approach to gun control.
When it came to immigration, 50 percent chose President Obama’s plans compared to just 33 percent supporting the positions put forth by Congressional Republicans. Finally, on climate change, Obama received support from 47 percent to just 26 percent supporting Congressional Republicans.
When it came to how to deal with the budget deficit, an overwhelming majority rejected the plans from Congressional Republicans for austerity only. Instead, 76 percent of voters said they support a combination of spending cuts and tax increases. Just 19 percent supported spending cuts only to solve the budget issues.
Half of those surveyed said controlling gun ownership should be the priority when it comes to dealing with guns compared to 46 percent who said the government should focus first on protecting the right to own guns.
When it came to immigration, 47 percent said the focus should be equal on both a pathway to citizenship and border security. This lines up with the nearly identical immigration plans put forth by Republican Senator Marco Rubio and President Obama.
Finally, on energy, a majority want to focus on developing alternative sources of energy compared to just 34 percent who want to expand oil, coal, and natural gas.
USA Today/Pew also asked in the survey about the sequester, which is a set of major cuts to defense and domestic spending. Forty-nine percent of those surveyed said the spending cuts should be delayed, compared to 40 percent who said the cuts should be implemented as scheduled on March 1.
But perhaps most troubling for Republican came when the poll asked who would be more to blame if no agreement was reached to deal with the sequester. Forty-nine percent said Congressional Republicans were most at fault, while 31 percent chose President Obama, and 11 percent said both were equally to blame.
Breaking it down to the basics, with the exception of assault weapons, the GOP position on major issues is favored by roughly 1/3 or fewer Americans, according to the USA Today/Pew poll.
The USA Today/Pew poll comes one day after Bloomberg released a poll that put President Obama’s approval rating at 55 percent, which is the highest point its reached since September 2009.
On the flip side, Bloomberg’s poll found only 35 percent of Americans have a favorable view of the Republican Party and 49 percent preferred President Obama’s proposals for government spending on infrastructure, education, and alternative energy.