Jul 22, 2019

Poll: U.S. public opposes reparations and decriminalizing illegal entry

Candidates Julián Castro and Sen. Cory Booker at the first Democratic debate. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

A significant majority of Americans believe that providing reparations for the descendants of slaves and decriminalizing illegal border crossings are "bad ideas," according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll of 1,346 adults.

Why it matters: Both issues have been gaining traction in progressive circles, with reparations receiving its first congressional hearing in years last month. They've also been brought to the forefront of the Democratic presidential primary, with a number of candidates stating that they support decriminalizing border crossings at last month's debate.

The big picture: Several other high-profile progressive policies appear to be very popular within the general electorate, including background checks for private gun sales, a public option for Medicare, the Green New Deal, and a wealth tax. Others, such as the universal basic income proposal championed by Andrew Yang and national health insurance for undocumented immigrants, were overwhelmingly rated as "bad ideas."

Issue approval ratings, according to the poll:

  • Background checks: 89%
  • Medicare for all that want it: 70%
  • Legalizing marijuana nationally: 63%
  • Green New Deal: 63%
  • Wealth tax on incomes above $1 million: 62%
  • Eliminating electoral college: 42%
  • National insurance for undocumented immigrants: 33%
  • Reparations: 27%
  • Universal basic income of $1,000 a month: 26%

Methodology: This survey of 1,346 adults was conducted July 15th through July 17th, 2019 by The Marist Poll sponsored in partnership with NPR and PBS NewsHour. Results are statistically significant within ±3.5 percentage points. Read the poll's full methodology here.

Go deeper: 4 in 10 Americans say they would prefer living in a socialist country

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Nearly 90% of voters want Congress to expand background checks

An "El Paso Strong" sign at the makeshift memorial for victims of the shooting that left a total of 22 people dead at the Cielo Vista Mall Walmart. Photo: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

An overwhelming majority of Americans favor Congress expanding background checks for firearm sales, passing "red flag" laws and instituting a voluntary buyback program, according to a WSJ/NBC poll conducted between Aug. 10–14.

The big picture: Overall, the U.S. remains divided over the government's role in gun control, despite widespread support for those specific measures. 50% of Americans say they're more concerned that the government won't go far enough to regulate access to firearms, while 45% are more concerned gun control laws will be too restrictive. Only 46% of the 834 registered voters surveyed have a gun in their household.

Go deeperArrowAug 18, 2019

4 big moments from Night 1 of the second Democratic debate

Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

In the absence of frontrunner Joe Biden, the first night of the second round of Democratic presidential debates on Tuesday saw former Rep. John Delaney, who is polling at less than 1%, assume the unlikely role of moderate foil to progressive heavyweights Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

The big picture: CNN moderators largely (and predictably) framed the debate as whether Democrats are drifting too far to the left with policies like Medicare for All, the Green New Deal proposal and free college tuition. Those that expected Warren and Sanders to turn on one another were likely disappointed — the pair spent most of the night tag teaming moderates like Delaney, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock and Rep. Tim Ryan, urging them to dream big on policy and "stop using Republican talking points."

Go deeperArrowJul 31, 2019

Debate night: Warren and Sanders vs. the moderates

Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders joined forces to back Medicare for All, decriminalizing immigration, a trade policy that favors working Americans, and the Green New Deal proposal at Tuesday's Democratic debate, as Warren denounced former Rep. John Delaney and former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper of using "Republican talking points."

Why it matters: Tuesday's debate underscored the field's divide, as progressives Warren and Sanders set themselves against the rest of the Democratic candidates, many of whom support more moderate health care policies like a public option or an expansion of the Affordable Care Act. They also disagreed with Warren and Sanders on immigration, trade, and taking on President Donald Trump in the general election.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Jul 31, 2019