There is strong support for creating a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants and for implementing stricter gun measures, both of which are high on President Barack Obama’s second term agenda, but the popularity of the president himself is falling, according to a new poll.
The latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News survey
found that some 47 percent of Americans approve of Obama’s job performance while 48 percent disapproved, the fourth straight decline in his job rating and the first time his approval rating has slipped below 50 percent since October.
Perceptions about the country’s economic health appear to be driving public opinion, said Democratic pollster Fred Yang of Hart Research Associations, whose firm conducted the poll along with Republican pollster Bill McInturff of Public Opinion Strategies.
“For now, he has not seemed to have delivered” on the economy, Yang told the Journal.
Meanwhile, roughly 54 percent of those surveyed believed that immigration strengthens the country, while 36 percent said it weakens the United States.
Although nearly two-thirds of the respondents said they favor giving citizenship to undocumented immigrants who now hold jobs, that number jumped to 76 percent for a plan requiring them to pay fines, back taxes and pass a security check, among other measures, as a prerequisite to citizenship.
Still, while 80 percent of Democrats and 54 percent of independent voters support a pathway to citizenship, the poll found that a slim majority of Republicans oppose such a measure.
Meanwhile, some 55 percent of those polled said laws covering the sale of firearms should be tougher, down from 61 percent in February — two months after the shooting massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
The Senate is expected on Thursday to begin debating new gun control measures, including a new bipartisan proposal to expand the system of background checks.
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