The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


February 13, 2013

Polls say Obama’s proposals broadly popular


5. Ending the war in Afghanistan

Before Obama's speech came news that the United States would draw down 34,000 troops from Afghanistan this year and that the war will be over by the end of 2014. Americans love this; polls show more than 70 percent of Americans favor ending the war.

6. Increased infrastructure spending

This is an old standard for Obama, and the American people support it. A Post-Kaiser Family Foundation poll last year showed 63 percent thought increased spending on roads, bridges and other public works projects would help create jobs.

That's not quite the same as asking whether it would be good for the economy overall, of course. And in fact, infrastructure ranks relatively low on the list of priorities. A CBS News/New York Times poll in 2011 showed people would choose to cut infrastructure spending over cutting science and research, aid to the unemployed and education.

7. Addressing climate change

This also has majority support, with 51 percent in a recent WaPo-ABC poll saying they favor "new federal policies to address climate change." Of course, the devil is in the details, and Democrats failed to pass a so-called "cap and trade" energy bill even when they had total control of Washington, as Democrats from coal country and conservative districts balked.

It's not clear exactly what Obama will press for here, but the fact that only a bare majority of Americans support broadly defined "federal policies to address climate change" suggests it will be tough to do.

8. Increasing sharing of information to prevent cyber attacks

Obama wants Congress to pass legislation that would increase the flow of information between U.S. companies and the government in the name of preventing increasing cyber-attacks. But some are worried that such an arrangement would violate Americans' privacy by sharing their personal information and e-mails with the government.

A June 2012 Washington Post poll showed Americans are very much divided: 46 percent of people said such an information exchange was "justified," while 43 percent said it "goes too far."

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