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Voters are likely to feel passionately about the plan, with nearly seven in 10 saying they have a "strongly" favorable (38 percent) or "strongly" unfavorable (31 percent) sentiment toward the president's proposal. Support is strongly split along partisan lines; more than three-quarters of Democrats support the president's plan, while a full 72 percent oppose it.

A majority of independents do favor Obama's plan, with 51 percent saying they have a favorable opinion. By contrast, 44 percent said they had an unfavorable view.

The president is looking to grow that support, dispatching Vice President Biden to an event Friday at Virginia Commonwealth University to promote the plan. Biden will be joined by Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen SebeliusKathleen SebeliusOPINION | 5 big ideas to halt America's opioid epidemic Aligning clinical and community resources improves health Sebelius on GOP healthcare plan: 'I'm not sure what the goal is here' MORE, Deputy U.S. Attorney General Jim Cole, Sen. Tim KaineTim Kaine Violent white nationalist protests prompt state of emergency in Virginia Republicans will get their comeuppance in New Jersey, Virginia Spicer signs deal with top TV lawyer: report MORE (D-Va.) and Congressman Bobby ScottBobby ScottReport: minimum wage bill would benefit 20.7 million workers in 21 states Republicans aim to kill off Obama franchise standard Bipartisan group defends national security against climate risk MORE (D-Va.)

On Wednesday, White House press secretary Jay Carney said the president was likely to begin traveling soon to host campaign-style events of his own in support of his policy agenda.

"I think you can fully expect that his commitment to engaging the American people in these important discussions about our future will continue," Carney said.

On Thursday, Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne FeinsteinTrump's Democratic tax dilemma Feinstein: Trump immigration policies 'cruel and arbitrary' The Memo: Could Trump’s hard line work on North Korea? MORE (D-Calif.) introduced an updated assault-weapons ban in the Senate that would ban the sale and manufacture of more than 150 types of semi-automatic weapons with military-style features. The bill would also ban magazines holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition.

“Getting this bill signed into law will be an uphill battle, and I recognize that — but it’s a battle worth having,” Feinstein said. “We must balance the desire of a few to own military-style assault weapons with the growing threat to lives across America.”

-- Alexander Bolton contributed.