Poll: Plurality want Obama to delay immigration action

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A plurality of Americans say President Obama should wait for Republicans in the new Congress to act on immigration reform, rather than acting unilaterally before the end of the year, according to a new poll released Monday.

Forty-six percent surveyed by USA Today think Obama should hold off and allow the new Republican majorities in the House and Senate to act on immigration reform. By contrast, 42 percent of Americans say Obama should act now. 

Obama has vowed to act before the end of the year, and administration officials have said he'll receive final recommendations on actions in the coming days. 

“What I’m not going to do is just wait," Obama said earlier this month. "I think it’s fair to say that I have shown a lot of patience and have tried to work on a bipartisan basis as much as possible."

House Speaker John BoehnerJohn BoehnerTrump may pose problem for Ryan in Speaker vote Conservatives backing Trump keep focus on Supreme Court Vote House Republicans out MORE (R-Ohio), though, warned Obama against executive action during a meeting earlier this month at the White House, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellRubio: GOP Congress could go in different direction than Trump Pelosi blasts GOP leaders for silence on Trump Reid: Groping accusations show Trump’s ‘sickness’ MORE (R-Ky.) has likened the maneuver to waving a red flag at a bull.

Some congressional Republicans are examining ways they can use a coming budget bill to undercut the president's power to act on immigration.

The poll found voters may also be upset if the president vetoes legislation approving the Keystone XL oil pipeline. Six in 10 voters say Obama should sign a bill approving the controversial energy project, while just 25 percent disagree. The Senate is poised to vote on the issue on Tuesday, with supporters one vote short of the 60 needed.

Obama said last week lawmakers shouldn’t “short-circuit” the existing process for evaluating the Keystone XL pipeline, and aides have hinted he could veto the bill if it comes to his desk.

“I’ve been clear in the past … and my position hasn’t changed, that this is a process that is supposed to be followed,” President Obama said at a press conference.

The poll found voters do support a pair of presidential priorities Obama has rolled out since the midterm elections. More than two-thirds of those surveyed back the president's climate deal with China, which will decrease both countries' greenhouse emissions. And 63 percent of voters back the president's call for Congress to pass legislation explicitly authorizing military action against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.