When President Barack Obama took an unplanned stop on the tour of Thomas Jefferson’s home Monday, he joked to French President Francois Hollande, “That’s the good thing as a president -- I can do whatever I want.” The remark made headlines because Obama’s critics have long said he acts like he really believes that.
Among the most recent examples, they cite Obama’s State of the Union declaration that he plans to take policy actions “with or without Congress” -- and this week’s White House announcement that it is delaying another key deadline in the health care law Congress passed in 2010.
Americans say not so fast, Mr. President.
According to a just-released Fox News national poll, most voters don’t think the country’s system of government was designed for the president to act unilaterally, and a majority disapproves of Obama bypassing Congress.
The new poll finds that 74 percent think the president using executive orders to get around Congress is not how things are supposed to work in our country. That includes 54 percent of Democrats.
Large majorities of independents (80 percent) and Republicans (93 percent) believe it goes against our system for the president to act independently to advance his policies.
Even when asked to set aside their views on how the government is supposed to work, by a wide 60-37 percent margin voters still disapprove of Obama going around Congress.
Almost all Republicans disapprove of Obama acting without lawmakers (90 percent), as do two-thirds of independents (66 percent).
Democrats approve by a 66-31 percent margin.
Overall, about one voter in five approves of Obama's use of executive orders even though they don’t believe it’s the way things are supposed to work.
The Fox News poll is based on landline and cell phone interviews with 1,006 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide and was conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from February 9-11, 2014. The full poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.