Democratic President Barack Obama has never won an election in the very red state of Idaho.
But several of the president’s new ideas – as he called for in his State of the Union address – are favored by most Idahoans, a new Idaho Politics Weekly survey shows.
Most Idahoans support the president’s expansion of child care tax credits for families where more than one parent works, his call for employers to provide their employees with at least some paid sick leave and his increase in the minimum wage.
But most Gem State citizens oppose Obama’s plan to spend $60 billion to pay for the first two years of a community college education for qualifying students and his increase in the top capital gains tax, pollster Dan Jones & Associates found in a recent survey for IPW, which is sponsored by Zions Bank.
Obama visited Boise several weeks ago as part of his nationwide speaking tour espousing some of his new ideas for the final two years of his administration.
It was the first time the president has come to Idaho while in office.
Idaho has an all-Republican federal delegation, and it remains to be seen whether any of them will support the president’s various ideas as they are brought to the new Republican-controlled Congress.
Already, several members of the federal delegation have spoken out against the president’s ideas.
Jones finds that those federal lawmakers will move against their own constituents if they don’t support Obama on three of five of the president’s propositions polled Jan. 22-29. Jones questioned 605 Idahoans, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.98 percent.
-- “Do you support or oppose President Obama’s plan to expand tax credits for child care in families where more than one person is working?”
Polling finds that 55 percent “strongly” or “somewhat” support that idea, while 39 percent “strongly” or “somewhat” oppose.
-- “Do you support or oppose President Obama’s proposed legislation that will require employers to provide paid sick leave for workers?”
Fifty-five percent support that requirement, 41 percent oppose.
-- “The minimum wage in the United States is currently $7.25 per hour. Do you support or oppose President Obama's proposal to increase the minimum wage?”
Sixty-one percent support the increase, only 36 percent oppose.
Idahoans don’t favor two of the president’s proposals.
-- “Do you support or oppose President Obama’s plan to increase the top capital gains tax rate?
Fifty-three percent “strongly” or “somewhat” oppose that idea, only 36 percent support it.
-- “Do you support or oppose President Obama’s plan to provide approximately $60 billion to pay for the first two years of community college for qualified students?”
Fifty-two percent oppose that plan, 45 percent support it.
Idaho is a very Republican state. And when Jones broke out the responses according to political party preference, on every one of the president’s ideas, Idaho Republicans oppose him.
On expanded tax credits: 54-40 percent of the GOP against.
On increased capital gains tax: 76-14 opposed.
On free two-year community college tuition: 76-23 against.
On employer-paid sick leave: 50-46 percent opposed.
On increased minimum wage: 52-43 percent against.
By huge margins, Democrats were in favor of all of Obama’s ideas, Jones found.
Political independents were in favor of four of the president’s ideas, against only one.
Independents favor expanded tax credits, 59-36 percent; free community college tuition, 49-48 percent; employer provided sick leave, 52-46 percent; and increased minimum wage, 66-32 percent.
They opposed increasing the top capital gains tax, 46-41 percent.
So, there is, over all, support among Idahoans for several of Obama’s new agenda items, but whether the state’s all-Republican congressional delegation will give those opinions any weight remains to be seen.