The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


February 13, 2013

Polls say Obama’s proposals broadly popular

By Aaron Blake

The Washington Post

WASHINGTON — President Obama set the tone for his second term Tuesday, going through a litany of policy proposals that he will pursue in the months and years ahead.

And polls suggest most of his big proposals have broad public support.

That doesn't mean, of course, that Congress will pass the bills, but it does suggest that the president is pushing ideas that the American public is broadly receptive to.

Below, some of the major items Obama talked about Tuesday, alongside what the polls say about them and how that bodes for congressional action.

1. Increasing the minimum wage

Obama is pushing for a gradual increase to $9 an hour, from the current $7.25. This is not new for Obama, who previously said he wanted to up the minimum wage to $9.50 by 2011.

Polling routinely shows Americans are overwhelmingly in favor of increasing the minimum wage. In fact, a Public Religion Research Institute poll in 2010 showed that two-thirds of Americans would like to see the minimum wage at $10 an hour — including 51 percent of Republicans. What's more, about two-fifths of states have increased their minimum wages beyond the federal level.

Of course, that doesn't mean raising the minimum wage will be easy. Businesses say that forcing them to pay a higher minimum wage will make them to scale back hiring, and Republicans in particular will be sensitive to that complaint.

2. A path to citizenship and tougher border security

Obama called for a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants that includes a penalty and for going to the end of the line, behind immigrants that have begun the process legally. He also called for increasingly tough border security.

Both are popular, but stricter border security is basically a no-brainer, with 83 percent in a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll in favor.

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