The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

February 21, 2013

Poll: Obama rated at three-year high, Republicans at bottom

(Continued)

WASHINGTON —

The CBO projects the federal budget deficit for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2013, will be $845 billion, or 5.3 percent of gross domestic product, down from the prior year's deficit of $1.1 trillion, or 7 percent of GDP.

The country is about evenly divided on Obama's handling of the economy, with 47 percent approving and 49 percent disapproving. His handling of negotiations with congressional Republicans also splits Americans about evenly, with 42 percent approving and 44 percent disapproving.

Independents are more disgruntled. They disapprove of Obama's handling of the economy 55 percent to 40 percent and disapprove of his approach to negotiating with Republicans by 46 percent to 35 percent.

He does better in the international arena. Fifty-two percent of Americans approve of Obama's handling of relations with other countries and 59 percent approve of his handling of terrorism.

A majority of Americans are ready to grant legal status to immigrants who arrived in the country illegally.

Thirty-five percent back a path to citizenship "now" for those who don't have criminal records, have paid taxes, learn English and pay a fine, conditions the Obama administration would impose along with an eight-year waiting period. Eighteen percent would grant them citizenship or legal status once measurable improvements were made in border security, which reflects a bipartisan Senate proposal released last month.

Another 18 percent would grant them legal status, though not citizenship, an idea several Republican senators proposed in the last Congress. Only 23 percent would deny any path to legal status for immigrants who entered the country illegally.

"If you'd like to have a salad for dinner, you need to have someone who is willing to go pick the lettuce," said poll respondent Pete Cable, a chemist and Republican who lives in Chapel Hill, N.C. "Most of the illegal immigrants who are here are working. They are providing a valuable service. They should be allowed to become citizens."

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