AEI Political Report, February 2012

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President Barack Obama addresses a Joint Session of Congress while delivering his State of the Union speech January 25, 2011 in Washington, DC. A new poll shows that 56 percent of Americans would vote to defeat and replace every member in Congress, including their own.

Political Report, February 2012

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In February's American Enterprise Institute (AEI) Political Report, senior fellow and public opinion expert Karlyn Bowman along with researchers Andrew Rugg and Jennifer Marsico examines American public opinion on a variety of topics now in the news:

How much do Americans hate Congress?
A new poll shows that 56 percent of Americans would vote to defeat and replace every member in Congress, including their own. And 76 percent say most members do not deserve to be reelected.

Why Obama can bet against the House
Did President Obama mostly bring the right kind of change to the country? Thirty-five percent say yes. But just 12 percent say the same about Republicans in Congress. And on the nation’s economy, federal budget deficit, Medicare and Social Security, creating jobs, and health care, more Americans trust Obama than congressional Republicans.

Arizona and Michigan: lessons from 2008
Political Report looks back at the exit polls from the 2008 Arizona and Michigan Republican primaries, when Mitt Romney was seen by many as the conservative alternative to John McCain. The GOP electorates were similar in demographic terms, and strong conservatives opted for Romney.

Sources of campaign news
It was a tough decade for daily papers and local and national TV networks. They had the sharpest drop among sources of news about the presidential campaign. While the Internet had the biggest jump – from 9 percent in 2000 to 25 percent in 2012 – cable news is now the top source. Social media lags far behind, with Facebook at 6 percent, YouTube at 3, and Twitter at 2.

Immigration: public vs. politicians
Since polling began in the 1940s, Americans have never wanted to increase immigration. But their views are more nuanced and less divisive than some campaign rhetoric would suggest. Most people support illegal immigrants becoming U.S. citizens, provided they meet certain requirements. Only 2 in 10 say deport them all. And by nearly a 2 to 1 margin, Americans favor increasing legal immigration.

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