The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Politics

February 13, 2013

Polls say Obama’s proposals broadly popular

(Continued)

The path to citizenship also has clear majority support, with 55 percent of people supporting it in the same poll. A recent CBS News poll that gave a third option — allowing immigrant to stay as guest workers — showed 51 percent supported a path to citizenship and 20 percent favored a guest worker program, while just 24 percent favored deportation.

3. Only "modest" Medicare and Social Security reforms

The president said the cost of the looming sequester should not be shifted to the nation's entitlement programs, and Americans tend to agree. Poll after poll shows Americans don't like basically any changes that could scale back their Medicare and Social Security benefits, with more than 80 percent opposing such changes to both programs.

In addition, Obama suggested that the poor and middle class shouldn't shoulder the burden of such changes. That's another message that resonates. In fact, a significant majority of people say they are just fine with cutting Social Security and Medicare benefits — as long as they are being cut only for the wealthiest Americans.

4. Increased gun control

Obama name-checked increased background checks — which are hugely popular, even among gun rights supporters — but didn't push specifically for the assault weapons ban, which is also a part of the White House's gun proposals in the aftermath of the tragedy in Newtown, Conn. (Obama instead mentioned "weapons of war" and the more broad desire to get them off the streets.)

Polling has repeatedly shown that the assault weapons ban has around 50 percent support (45 percent in a Post-ABC poll, higher in others), but it appears very unlikely to pass in Congress, and thus the administration has been emphasizing that background checks are the key piece here.

But despite what happened in Newtown, guns are not a huge priority for Americans right now, ranking behind economic issues and on par with reining in spending on Social Security and Medicare.

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