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Fox News Poll: Voters say Obama exceeded authority, but oppose impeachment

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July 21, 2014: President Barack Obama speaks about the My Brothers Keeper Initiative, at the Walker Jones Education Campus in Washington. (AP)

Despite believing Barack Obama has overstepped his authority as president, most voters reject calls to impeach him for that -- or for any other reason.

By a 58-37 percent margin, the latest Fox News poll finds that voters think President Obama exceeded his authority under the Constitution when he unilaterally changed the health care law by executive order. 

Click here for the poll results.

And, more generally, a similar majority disapproves of Obama bypassing Congress, acting unilaterally and refusing to enforce laws he disagrees with: 37 percent approve, while 58 percent disapprove. 

Obama’s use of executive power plays well with the party faithful, as a 64-percent majority of Democrats approves of his actions, while a majority of every other demographic group disapproves (including fully 91 percent of Republicans). 

Some prominent Republicans, including 2008 vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, have called for the president’s impeachment. Yet more than six voters in 10 oppose impeaching Obama for changing some laws and failing to enforce others or “for any other reason” (61 percent). Some 36 percent favor impeachment.

Nearly four in 10 Democrats think Obama is guilty of executive overreach on changing the Obamacare law (39 percent), and one in five Democrats favors impeaching their party’s leader (20 percent).

Among Republicans, 83 percent consider Obama’s actions on the health care law a violation of the Constitution. Yet far fewer Republicans -- although still a 56-percent majority -- favor impeachment. 

Fifty-five percent of independents believe Obama violated the Constitution, and 37 percent favor impeachment (61 percent are opposed).

The highest level of support for impeaching Obama -- 68 percent -- is among those who are part of the Tea Party movement.

Overall, 81 percent of those favoring impeachment believe President Obama went beyond his authority when he changed the health care law unilaterally. 

Charges that Obama has violated the Constitution have helped raise the political temperature in Washington this summer. In early July, House Speaker John Boehner took steps to file a lawsuit against Obama for his “failure to follow the Constitution” on the health care law by altering the individual mandate via executive order. On Tuesday two federal appeals courts took opposing views on whether Obama illegally ignored the language of the Obamacare law to give federal subsidies to people who are not entitled to them. Despite one court ruling that says he did, the White House announced subsidies will continue. 

Forty-one percent of voters approve of how Obama is handling health care, while 54 percent disapprove. That’s a bit of an improvement from last month’s 41-56 percent rating. It also makes health care his best issue, topping the job performance ratings he receives on the economy (40-57 percent), foreign policy (36-56 percent) and immigration (34-58 percent). 

Pollpourri

Obama has the most powerful job in the world -- and all the perks that go with that. Yet he’s been criticized by some for seeming disengaged and frustrated with his job. What does the public think? The poll finds a large 41-percent minority thinks Obama doesn’t even want to be president anymore. Still, just over half of voters think he does (52 percent). 

Forty-seven percent of independents, 44 percent of Republicans and 37 percent of Democrats think Obama is tired of being president.

The Fox News poll is based on landline and cell phone interviews with 1,057 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide and was conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from July 20-22, 2014. The full poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.