President Obama's push to unilaterally enact changes to the nation's immigration policies is running into fierce opposition from the public, including a majority of his own party.
According to the latest IBD/TIPP poll, 73% of the public say Obama should work with Congress on reforms. Just 22% say he should "sidestep Congress and act on his own using executive orders" — something the president has repeatedly pledged to do.
Among independents, 78% say Obama should work with Congress, with only 19% saying he should go it alone. Even among Democrats, only 39% say Obama should act unilaterally, while 54% say he should work with Congress.
Another trouble sign for Obama: The age group most fervently opposed to him on immigration is the young voters he has successfully courted in the past. Fully 80% of those age 18 to 24 want him to work with Congress on reform, and just 15% side with Obama's plan to bypass Congress if they fail to act.
Blue, Red States Agree
So-called blue states that voted for Obama are also more likely to want him to work with Congress to get immigration reform done than are red states (74% to 72%).
When asked more specifically about an executive order to "slow deportation of undocumented immigrants by providing them with legal protection and work permits," 63% of all those polled say they oppose Obama's issuing such an order, with a majority of Republicans and independents strongly opposed. Just 34% of the public backs that move, though that includes 60% of Democrats.
And, despite Obama's push for comprehensive reform, the poll finds public support has withered. It's 48% now, compared with 54% last year. On the other hand, support for securing the border first has climbed from 39% to 47%.
These findings come as an increasing number of news reports detail how Democratic lawmakers in tough re-election bids are urging Obama to show restraint on this issue, particularly in the wake of the crisis posed by the influx of child immigrants over the summer.
Perhaps aware of this growing opposition, Obama backpedaled on his promise to issue executive orders before the end of summer. At a press conference on Thursday, Obama said that recent events on the border "do affect timelines," but he stressed that he still plans to act alone if Congress won't pass reforms to his liking.
Other findings from the IBD/TIPP Poll, which was conducted during the last week in August:
The IBD/TIPP Presidential Leadership Index was unchanged at 41.5, holding at Obama's lowest reading in office. The index hasn't been above the neutral 50 level since March 2013.
39% now have a favorable view of Obama's leadership, down slightly from last month, while more than half (55%) hold an unfavorable view.
Disapproval of ObamaCare climbed again, with 53% opposing the law, up from 51% last month and 46% the month before that. Just 40% now support ObamaCare.
47% believe the country is in a recession, and 52% say the economy is not improving.
Obama gets low marks on his handling of the Islamic State crisis, with just 31% giving him good grades. Just 18% of independents and 13% of Republicans approve of how he's dealt with the extremist group that holds parts of Iraq and Syria. Most of the responses came before Obama said Thursday that "we don't have a strategy" for dealing with IS — also known as ISIS or ISIL.
While 83% view IS as a direct threat to the security of the American people on American soil, only 39% support sending ground troops to combat it.