WSJ: Americans Want Congress to Focus on the Basics, AAN & Crossroads GPS Poll Shows
Americans Want Congress to Focus on the Basics, Poll Shows
By Patrick O'Connor
Wall Street Journal
January 15, 2015
Republicans and Democrats alike want Congress to pass an annual budget, drive down college costs and preserve Medicare for future generations.
Splits emerge over more divisive issues like approving the Keystone XL pipeline, changing the Affordable Care Act, or repealing it entirely.
Those are just some of the conclusions from a recent nationwide poll commissioned by Crossroads GPS and the American Action Network, two groups that back congressional Republicans.
With the State of the Union right around the corner, the results suggest Americans would rather see Congress do its basic duties: make government more efficient and tackle kitchen-table topics, not rehash partisan feuds.
The survey also offers GOP leaders a roadmap for what Americans want Republicans in Congress to focus on as they try to make a favorable impression during the party’s first year back in power.
Among the findings:
– There are high levels of agreement that Congress should pass–and the president should sign– a budget each year. Americans also want Washington to protect Medicare and lower college costs.
–There is general consensus among Americans of all stripes that Congress should increase penalties for anyone who tries to defraud Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and other welfare programs.
–While not an immediate priority, Republicans, Democrats and independents agree that ratifying new trade deals will boost agricultural and manufacturing exports — a shared goal of both President Barack Obama and GOP leaders on the Hill — and that federal dollars should be used give parents more choice to meet the needs of their children.
–There is little appetite for Congress to change the Dodd-Frank financial regulations, stop the federal government from regulating the Internet, or lower taxes on the wealthiest Americans. Reducing regulations is another topic that doesn’t inspire much enthusiasm.
–And on the divisive issue of immigration, there is general agreement that people in the country illegally should be granted citizenship or legal status, if they have been in the U.S. at least five years, pass a background check, pay a fine and back taxes, learn English and have a job.
The poll, conducted Jan. 3-10 by North Star Opinion Research, had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1%. More than half of the 1,328 interviews were completed on cellphones. Voters were asked to rate a collection of policy items on a one-to-10 scale. Of those surveyed, 28% identified as Republican, 32% Democrat and 36% independent.