Americans want Congress to act to restore ACA subsidies if the Supreme Court axes them. Another poll finds support for ground troops to fight ISIS. And a rebound in gas prices puts a damper on rising economic confidence. This is HuffPollster for Wednesday, March 4, 2015.
MAJORITY BACKS ACA FIX IF COURT HITS SUBSIDIES - Carrie Dann: "A majority of voters believe that Congress should pass a law to aid millions of lower-income Americans who could lose their health care coverage if the Supreme Court invalidates the subsidies they receive for living in states that didn't establish their own insurance marketplaces. A new NBC News/ Wall Street Journal poll shows that 54 percent of those surveyed say that, if the Supreme Court guts the subsidies, Congress should act to ensure that eligible people in all states are able to receive the federal aid. Thirty-five percent say that Congress should not pass such a law....Perhaps not surprisingly, Republicans -- who largely disapprove of the Obama-backed health care law -- are far less likely to back a new law if the Supreme Court rules against the Obama administration....But there is a dramatic gap between how men and women view the issue. Women are much more likely to say Congress should help provide the health care help. Six in ten women say lawmakers should provide a legislative fix, while 27 percent disagree. Men are much more evenly split, with 48 percent backing congressional action and 44 percent opposing it." [NBC]
AMERICANS BACK GROUND TROOPS TO FIGHT ISIS - Quinnipiac University: "American voters support 62 - 30 percent sending U.S. ground troops to fight ISIS in Iraq and Syria, with strong support across all party, gender and age groups… Men back U.S. troop deployment 68 - 28 percent, while women support it 57 - 33 percent, the independent Quinnipiac University Poll finds. A total of 69 percent of American voters are 'very confident' or 'somewhat confident' that the U.S. and its allies will defeat ISIS. Only 39 percent of voters are concerned that U.S. military action will go 'too far' in getting involved in the situation, while 53 percent are more concerned the U.S. military 'will not go far enough in stopping ISIS.' Voters say 64 - 23 percent Congress should grant the authorization requested by President Barack Obama to use military force against ISIS. And voters say 72 - 19 percent that the U.S. should never pay ransom to terrorists who are holding American hostages. This opinion is shared by every listed group." [Quinnipiac]
HOW AMERICANS REACT TO DETAILED ARGUMENTS ON IRAN NUCLEAR PROGRAM - Scott Clement: "[W]hat exactly do Americans want on Iran policy: to strike a deal allowing some nuclear enrichment or ramp up sanctions aimed at forcing Iran to stop entirely? The issue is complex, involving tradeoffs and balancing of risks that are difficult to measure in typical national polls. Enter this survey released Tuesday by the University of Maryland's Program for Public Consultation. A randomly sampled Internet panel was asked to read a detailed briefing and history of Iran's nuclear program and current policy issues....The core question asked respondents about two policy options. First, the United States could pursue a long-term agreement with Iran that limits enrichment to low levels, allows for intrusive inspections and would gradually ease some sanctions if Iran sticks with the program. The second option is not to negotiate an agreement that allows limited enrichment, but to try to get Iran to stop all uranium enrichment by imposing new sanctions on other countries that do business with Iran. Respondents read three arguments in favor and three opposed to each approach before being asked to choose one. The poll found a surprisingly bipartisan result. Just over six in 10 (61 percent) favored pursuing a long-term agreement that allowed some nuclear enrichment, including 66 percent of Democrats and 61 percent of Republicans." [WashPost]
But beware... - More from Clement: "Although the survey is a great guide to how Americans would act if put in a legislative position, reactions to an actual deal with Iran may be far different -- and less well informed. The interim agreement in place has received wide variance in opinion depending on the poll -- from modest opposition to majority support -- and only time will tell whether provisions for inspection will deter Iran from seeking a nuclear weapon.
More from the researchers - Steven Kull and Shibley Telhami: "The bottom line is that Americans are deeply ambivalent about making a deal. They find convincing the arguments that making a deal is the best option because bombing would just lead Iran to rebuild underground, invading is not a real option, intrusive inspections will give us the ability to know what is going on in time if Iran tries to break out, and Americans would never let another country tell us we have no right to a nuclear energy program." [WashPost]
RISING GAS PRICES NUDGE ECONOMIC CONFIDENCE DOWN - Frank Newport and Lydia Saad: "After scoring +3 in January, the first positive reading in seven years, Gallup's Economic Confidence Index edged down to +1 in February. The reading last month is still the second-highest monthly average since Gallup began tracking confidence on a daily basis in 2008...The modest drop in Americans' economic confidence in February reflects significantly different readings in the two halves of the month. Americans' economic confidence indexed at +3 in each of the first two weeks of the month -- on par with the January average -- but was followed by a five-point drop to -2 in the third week of the month, and remained at that level last week...The shift in the last two weeks of February marks the largest downturn in weekly economic confidence since last July. Although there are a number of possible causes for the drop, one probable explanation is the higher prices consumers are seeing at the gas pump, an unwelcome turn after seven months of declining gas prices. The average price per gallon of regular unleaded gas nationally rose three cents in the first week of February, then 12 cents in the second week, eight cents in the third and six cents in the fourth -- 29 cents in total." [Gallup]
NO PUBLIC BACKLASH AGAINST CIA TORTURE - Peter Woolley and John Schiemann: "Just before the U.S. Senate released its report at the end of 2014 on the CIA's use of "harsh interrogation" tactics against prisoners, the question was whether or not the report would provoke a public backlash against torture. The answer is NO. By a two-to-one margin in an ABC News poll just after the release of the Senate report, Americans said 'all in all' the CIA methods were justified. Polls by Pew, CBS News, and YouGov showed agreement, their variations were due to differences in question wording and order....Why there is no backlash against torture is a question that the public answered primarily with indifference." [HuffPost]
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WEDNESDAY'S 'OUTLIERS' - Links to the best of news at the intersection of polling, politics and political data:
-Fifty-one percent of Americans call Israel an ally of the U.S., up ten points from 2011. [CBS]
-Most Israelis and Americans view the other country favorably. 
-Fifty percent of Americans say it's important for the U.S. to be number one in the world economy, up from 39 percent in 2007. [Gallup]
-Three in four Americans are concerned about having a secure retirement. [PlanSponsor]
-Israel enjoys broad support across party and demographic lines, reports Mark Mellman (D). [The Hill]
-Sean Trende explains why a Republican Senate pick-up in Maryland is unlikely. [RCP]
-Patrick Ruffini says the "next big thing" in political campaign data will involve new combinations of things we already know how to do. [Medium]
-Elizabeth Wilner ponders whether campaigns love affair with ad targeting may cause them to lose focus on message testing. [Cook Political]
-The General Social Survey (GSS) releases a cumulative file and codebook covering surveys conducted from 1972 to 2014. [NORC]
-Republicans are more confident than Democrats in their ability to survive an apocalypse. [YouGov]