A majority of Americans say President Obama’s executive actions on immigration should be allowed to stand, according to a new poll released a day after House Republicans voted to choke off funding for the administration’s deferred action program.
Some 55 percent of those surveyed in a recent CBS News poll say Congress should allow the president’s executive actions, which allow certain illegal immigrants to apply to avoid deportation and secure work permits, should stand. Four in 10 say lawmakers should move to overturn the actions.
That’s despite only 48 percent of Americans believing Obama acted within his authority as president — only slightly above the 46 percent who think he did not. But 62 percent of Americans think illegal immigrants who pass a background check and pay their taxes should be allowed to stay given certain requirements, providing the president political cover on his executive actions.
But the president does not enjoy similar support on another piece of legislation approved this week by House Republicans: the Keystone XL pipeline.
He has said he would veto legislation fast-tracking construction of the controversial project, but a full 60 percent of Americans back building the pipeline. Just 28 percent of those surveyed say they do not agree, while 80 percent of Americans think the pipeline would create a significant number of jobs.
Critics of the project have argued most jobs associated with the project are temporary and that a leak could have a severe environmental impact. Most Americans — 55 percent — say they agree the pipeline is likely to harm the environment.
Republicans also targeted the president’s signature healthcare law in the early days of the new Congress, passing a bill that would redefine a full-time workweek under the law to 40 hours per week. While half of Americans say they disapprove of the law, the percentage who approve is up 7 percentage points since October and now rests at 43 percent.
And the president’s push to close the military prison at Guantánamo Bay is also opposed by most Americans. Some 56 percent say they support keeping the prison open. On Wednesday night, the Pentagon announced it had transferred an additional 5 detainees, leaving the total at the base at just 122.
There does appear to be support for Obama’s recent push on cybersecurity though. Some 68 percent of Americans think cyberattacks pose a very serious threat to the U.S., and another 25 percent say the risk is somewhat serious. More than 6 in 10 say they don’t think the U.S. is prepared for a major cyberattack.
And while voters might disagree with Obama on some of the major policy issues being pursued by congressional Republicans in the early days of the new Congress, the president is still seen as more collaborative. Some 61 percent say President Obama will try to work with Capitol Hill, while 44 percent expect Republicans to work with the president.