Poll: Americans still dissatisfied with Washington, economy

 

Gridlock in Congress

Most Americans (56 percent), including more than half of Republicans, Democrats and independents alike) say that in recent years there is more gridlock in Washington than usual.

Both sides get at least some blame for gridlock, but congressional Republicans receive slightly more. Sixty-three percent give President Obama and the Democrats in Congress at least some blame, while 74 percent say Republicans shoulder at least some of it. 33 percent assign little or no blame to the president and Democrats; comparatively fewer, 20 percent, give little or no blame to Republicans.

It is fitting, perhaps, that in an era of partisan gridlock, Democrats in the poll place a lot of blame on congressional Republicans (54 percent), while most Republicans in the poll put a lot of blame on the president and congressional Democrats (55 percent).

As has often been the case in the past, Americans call for compromise from both parties: 83 percent want the President and Democrats to compromise, and 80 percent want the Republicans in Congress to do so.

Health Care

President Obama touted the Affordable Care Act 

in a speech  last week, but Americans remain skeptical. As they have since the health care law was enacted in 2010, more disapprove than approve of it.

Most Americans want either the entire law repealed (39 percent and the highest in CBS News Polls) or a repeal of the individual mandate (18 percent). Fewer want to see the law kept as is or expanded.

Poll Table: What should Congress do about the Health Care Law?
 

As might be expected there are partisan differences here. Most Republicans disapprove of the health care law and want to see it repealed, while Democrats support the law and prefer it be kept as is or be expanded.

More than three years after the health care bill was signed into law, 52 percent of Americans say they are confused about the effect it will have on them. Fewer than half - 44 percent - say they have a good understanding of the law - a percentage that hasn't changed much since March 2010, shortly after the law was enacted.

From what Americans have heard or read, more think the health care law will personally hurt them (38 percent) rather than help them (13 percent). More than four in 10 think the health care law will have no impact on them personally.

Immigration

As Congress continues to tackle immigration reform, there is widespread support for providing a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants in the U.S. if they meet certain requirements, including a waiting period, paying fines and back taxes, passing criminal background checks and learning English. 78 percent favor that; just 20 percent oppose. Support cuts across partisan lines.

Still, Americans think securing the nation's border should be a higher priority over addressing the status of illegal immigrants. Majorities of Republicans and independents say border security should take priority, while Democrats are more divided.

After the Zimmerman Verdict

Americans are sharply divided over the Zimmerman verdict, whereby George Zimmerman was found not guilty of all charges. 42 percent of Americans say they are either satisfied or pleased by the verdict, but 46 percent describe themselves as either disappointed or angry.

Feelings about the Zimmerman verdict reveal a division along racial lines. While 52 percent of whites are at least satisfied with the not guilty verdict, an overwhelming 94 percent of blacks feel differently: 53 percent of blacks say they are disappointed and 41 percent describe themselves as angry.

There is a large division by political party as well, with 73 percent of Republicans satisfied or pleased, and 65 percent of Democrats either disappointed or angry. Independents are more divided, though they lean towards disappointed.

Same-Sex Marriage

Nearly a month after the U.S. Supreme Court's rulings on same-sex marriage, 55% of Americans now say it should be legal for same-sex couples to marry, up slightly from June (before the rulings) and the highest percentage since CBS News began asking this question in 2012. 39% say same-sex marriage should not be legal.

Partisan and age differences persist: Most Democrats and independents favor allowing same-sex couples to marry, but most Republicans do not. Young Americans, those ages 18 to 29, are especially likely to support same-sex marriage, while those who are older are less likely to.

Snowden and NSA Surveillance

Most Americans (56 percent), including majorities of both Democrats and Republicans, disapprove of government contractor Edward Snowden leaking information about the government's collection of Americans' phone call records.

And while two in three Americans view the government's collection of phone records as a violation of privacy, a majority (52 percent) also sees it as a necessary tool to help find terrorists.

Next page: Full poll results

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This poll was conducted by telephone from July 18-22, 2013 among 1,036 adults nationwide. Data collection was conducted on behalf of CBS News by Social Science Research Solutions of Media, Pa. Phone numbers were dialed from samples of both standard land-line and cell phones. The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus three percentage points. The error for subgroups may be higher. Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish. This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.


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