Poll: Where Americans stand on abortion, immigration and other political issues A new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll tested policy positions on some of the most hot-button political issues facing the country — from abortion rights and gender identity, to immigration and spending.

Poll: Where Republican candidates align with most Americans — and where they don't

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Republicans are campaigning this year on lots of ideas. Some of them are in line with the opinions of most Americans, but others, well, are not. The latest NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll tested some of these policy prescriptions for hot-button issues, ranging from abortion rights and gender identity to foreign aid and the national debt. NPR senior political editor and correspondent Domenico Montanaro is here with us to talk us through some of these findings. Good morning, Domenico.

DOMENICO MONTANARO, BYLINE: Hey. And we're going to get through them all.

MARTIN: All right. Let's do it. All right. You know what? I want to start with abortion because this is an issue that has just really roiled politics since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. Republicans have largely been on the losing end as conservative-led states, so-called red states, have been rolling out these more and more restrictive bans, which are, you know, one of - the one in Texas, for example, has been very much in the news. So what did our poll find?

MONTANARO: Well, number one, that banning abortion after six weeks is just not popular. I mean, on - only 39% of people agree with that idea. A majority of Republican voters, though, do want that. And that's put a lot of Republican candidates running for president in a bit of a box. You know, on the other hand, almost 6 in 10 Democrats in the poll said that they're in favor of abortion being legal up to 24 weeks or at any time during a presidency. Overall, only 37% of people agree with that. But the reality is here that Republicans are the ones in the hot seat on this issue because, like you said, so many Republican-run states are pushing these restrictive bans.

MARTIN: OK. I think you meant during a pregnancy, not doing a presidency. OK. So all right, let's go to gender identity and immigration. Those are two other things that we hear a lot about on the campaign trail. You know, they fire up the Republican base. Let's take those separately. And let's start with the gender issue. What did our survey find there?

MONTANARO: Well, 6 and 10 say that whether someone is a man or a woman is determined by the sex they were assigned at birth. Overwhelming majorities of Republicans and independents say they believe this. But there's a huge split here because two-thirds of Democrats say gender is not necessarily determined by birth. So Republicans start with something of an advantage politically on this issue, but they can risk going too far. You know, when we polled about this over the summer, we found that most people don't want to completely close off access to gender-transition-related health care. It's just a matter of what - at what age that care should be made available.

MARTIN: And what about immigration?

MONTANARO: Yeah. Fifty-four percent say to finish the border wall. But there's a line for Republicans here, too, because let's look at the issue of birthright citizenship, for example. Here's Ron DeSantis at a press conference in June at the southern border calling for an end to it.

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RON DESANTIS: This idea that you can come across the border, two days later have a child, and somehow that's an American citizen - that was not the original understanding of the 14th Amendment.

MONTANARO: But our poll found that most people disagree with him on that. Almost two-thirds in the polls say that they want birthright citizenship to continue, even for children of immigrants in the U.S. illegally.

MARTIN: So let's go to government spending now. That's something that, you know, we tend to hear a lot about during debates, and also lawmakers on the Hill. What did the polling say about how Americans say they want their tax dollars spent?

MONTANARO: Well, one big takeaway - Social Security is still a third rail in American politics. And we asked about how people would prefer to cut into the national debt, which is now approaching $34 trillion. Sixty-two percent said that if they had to make a choice, they'd rather raise taxes and fees before touching Social Security and Medicare, even though, as we know, entitlements make up roughly half the federal budget.

MARTIN: Oh, wow. So no easy solutions there. And what about funding for war fighting in Ukraine and Israel? Any agreement there?

MONTANARO: Not really. Fifty-four percent of Republicans say that they would send money to Israel, but only 31% of them want to fund Ukraine. On the flip side, two-thirds of Democrats support aid for Ukraine, but less than half support funding for Israel. And, of course, this comes on the heels of Ukrainian President Zelenskyy trying to lobby lawmakers in Washington yesterday. But finding agreement here is not going to be easy. I mean, we heard Republican senators very skeptical of even Zelenskyy's visit.

MARTIN: Well, yeah. But that's an understatement. All right. Domenico, thank you. That's NPR's Domenico Montanaro. For more on this poll out today, you can read Domenico's analysis on npr.org.

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