POLITICS
03/24/2017 08:32 am ET

Trump's Immigration Policies Have Become A Flashpoint

Americans can't decide if it's the issue he's done the worst job handling, or the best.
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump signs a travel ban executive order at the Pentagon in Washington, U.S., January 27, 2
Carlos Barria / Reuters
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump signs a travel ban executive order at the Pentagon in Washington, U.S., January 27, 2017.

Americans have strong opinions about President Trump’s immigration actions, but they’re more personally concerned about their health care. The GOP’s Obamacare repeal act is eclipsing Obamacare in unpopularity. And Democrats are more likely than Republicans to trust government data. This is HuffPollster for Friday, March 24, 2017.

TRUMP’S FIRST MONTHS HAVE FOCUSED ON IMMIGRATION, MOST AMERICANS SAY - HuffPollster: “Sixty-two percent of Americans say that immigration is among the two issues Trump has spent the most time on since taking office, with 37 percent naming health care and just 19 percent saying the economy. For once, opinions vary relatively little across political lines, with 70 percent of Clinton voters and 63 percent of Trump voters saying that immigration has been at the center of the president’s actions. Responses to those actions, however, are deeply divided. Asked to rate the two issues Trump has done the best and worst job of handling, regardless of how they feel about his job performance overall, 26 percent call immigration one of the topics he’s done the best job of addressing, with 25 percent saying it’s among the worst....Trump voters give the president the highest marks on immigration...The majority of Clinton voters, 69 percent, are unwilling to credit Trump with performing well on anything, instead saying they’re unsure. But they single out immigration and health care as issues on which they’re especially disappointed.”  [HuffPost]

Health care now Americans’ top concern - More from the HuffPost/YouGov survey: “Forty-five percent of those polled name health care as among the two issues most important to them, with 39 percent naming the economy, the survey finds. Immigration, at 25 percent, takes a relatively distant third. The results mark a dramatic and unusual shift that comes in tandem with the unpopular rollout of Republicans’ new health care bill and an upswing in popularity for the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. While economic anxiety has ebbed in the aftermath of the recession, the economy has remained the nation’s near-perennial top issue, with the 2016 campaign no exception.  Last November, Americans were 14 points likelier to name the economy than health care as one of their top election concerns.”

AHCA IS LESS POPULAR THAN OBAMACARE EVER WAS - HuffPollster: “President Barack Obama’s health care law hasn’t always been beloved by the public. But it’s never been as unpopular as the Republican bill now intended to destroy it, according to the latest polling. When the Affordable Care Act was signed in March 2010, after months of debate, about 42 percent of the public approved, according to HuffPost Pollster’s aggregate, with about 50 percent disapproving ― a level of discontent that proved to be bad news for Democrats and for Obama. At the law’s lowest ebb, in 2013, support fell to about 38 percent. That level of support, however, seems downright robust in comparison with the pessimism that’s greeted the Republican bill, known as the American Health Care Act. Reactions to the proposal have been overwhelmingly negative, with most surveys finding less than one-third of the public in favor of the bill. Support reached a new nadir Thursday in a Quinnipiac poll, which found just 17 percent of voters expressing approval, and only 6 percent approving strongly.” [HuffPost]

Huffington Post

More of the latest on health care:

-Quinnipiac: “American voters disapprove 56 - 17 percent, with 26 percent undecided, of the Republican health care plan to replace Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act, according to a Quinnipiac University national poll released today. Support among Republicans is a lackluster 41 - 24 percent.”

-Morning Consult: “A strong plurality of voters think congressional Republicans are moving too quickly to overhaul the nation’s health care system, according to a new Morning Consult/POLITICO poll, which also shows that Obamacare is more popular than the GOP alternative.”

-538’s Nate Silver: “I estimate that there are only about 80 congressional districts — out of 435 — where support for the bill exceeds opposition. About two-thirds of Republican members of the House, in fact, likely come from districts where the plurality of voters oppose the bill.”

-NYT’s Nate Cohn: “[T]he health care debate is splitting House Republicans along ideological lines, with few signs that members are being pulled off familiar terrain by the effect of the law on their states or districts….What do the opponents of the House bill seem to have in common? They represent competing ideological factions with predictable reservations about the Republican plan, regardless of whether their districts or constituents are posed to be disproportionately affected.”

-Pew Research’s Samantha Smith: “With the U.S. House preparing to vote on a proposal to repeal and replace the 2010 Affordable Care Act, Republicans continue to overwhelmingly oppose the law, and most say it’s not the government’s responsibility to make sure all Americans have health care coverage. But the views of lower-income Republicans stand out: They are somewhat more likely than higher-income Republicans to support the health care law, and many say it is the government’s responsibility to ensure that all Americans have coverage.”

-Marquette University, on a poll of Wisconsin: “Opinion of the 2010 health reform law varies depending on whether it is described as ‘the Affordable Care Act’ or as ‘Obamacare.’...When it was described as ‘the Affordable Care Act,’ 51 percent said they have a favorable view of the law while 40 percent have an unfavorable view and 9 percent said they don’t know. When the law was described as ‘Obamacare,’ 40 percent reported a favorable view, with 53 percent unfavorable and 6 percent lacking an opinion.”

FAITH IN GOVERNMENT STATISTICS SPLITS ALONG PARTISAN LINES - Kathy Frankovic “[Partisanship] plays a role in how people view the output of the CBO and other agencies that provide important government statistics, such as the jobless rate and the Census count. Many Americans pick and choose the statistics they believe, with Republicans generally more skeptical. But while public skepticism takes on a partisan tinge on health care reform, Democrats and Republicans have similar reactions to some other government statistics. A majority of Democrats think all or most government statistics are reliable, but fewer than half as many Republicans agree. 42% of Republicans believe few or no statistics put out by the government….Republicans don’t believe as many people will lose health coverage under the AHCA as the CBO says; Democrats think there will be an even greater loss of coverage….But both Democrats and Republicans quarrel with other government statistics: pluralities in both parties say the Census Bureau undercounted Americans in 2010, and there are many who think the Bureau of Labor Statistics underreports joblessness.” [YouGov]

AT LEAST AMERICANS CAN AGREE ON HOW DIVIDED WE ARE - Monmouth University: “Fully three-quarters (75%) of the nation feel that Americans are greatly divided when it comes to our most important values. This number is up slightly from 70% who said the same last year, with widespread agreement across all demographic groups. Only 22% believe that Americans are united and in agreement about our core principles...Only 11% say the country has actually become more united and 34% say not much has changed since Trump entered the White House. Those who say the country has become more divided since Trump’s inauguration include 71% of Democrats, 50% of independents, and 35% of Republicans. Only 16% of Republicans think the country has become more united under Trump, which is not significantly different from the 10% of independents and 7% of Democrats who feel the same.” [Monmouth]

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FRIDAY’S ‘OUTLIERS’ - Links to the best of news at the intersection of polling, politics and political data:

-Geoffrey Skelley compares 2016 exit polling data with the post-election CCES study. [Sabato’s Crystal Ball]

-Kate Abbey-Lambertz reviews a poll that finds most American Muslims have faced discrimination. [HuffPost]

-Daniel Marans looks at an AARP-sponsored poll that suggests older voters are reluctant to embrace key element of AHCA. [HuffPost]

-Emily Swanson and Michael Weissenstein report on a rare poll of Cuban citizens. [AP]

-Kenneth Olmstead and Aaron Smith find that the American public is largely uneducated on cybersecurity. [Pew]

-A new study finds that Americans support paid leave, but divide on whether the government should require it. [Pew]

-Eric Plutzer and Michael Berkman write that few supporters of President Donald Trump regret their votes. [WashPost]

-Nadja Popovich, John Schwartz, and Tatiana Schlossberg map Americans’ views on climate change. [NYT]

-Amanda Taub and Brendan Nyhan argue that President Trump’s wiretapping allegations may become “part of a partisan narrative.” [NYT]

-Jeff Guo pushes back against the idea that the Internet is driving polarization. [WashPost]

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