Voters disagree with Obama's marriage, immigration plans

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Politics,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A new JZ Analytics poll that finds President Obama and challenger Mitt Romney split at 44 percent to 44 percent, also finds that likely voters do not agree with the president on gay marriage and immigration reform, but support his bailouts, green energy focus and foreign policy.

The poll, provided to Secrets Tuesday, is a vivid display of how American voters are split not just politically but on individual issues, making it difficult for either presidential candidate to carve out a clear path to victory.

Take Obama's position backing same-sex marriage. Pollster John Zogby found that 51.4 percent of voters back the GOP's traditional marriage position that the "ideal family is built around a stable marriage between a man and a woman." Some 40.3 percent said "a family can still be the stable unit of a good society if it is headed by a single adult, a same-sex relationship, or grandparents."

Likely voters also aren't liberal on immigration, favoring by 50 percent tolerance but "limits on immigration in order to protect American jobs." Zogby found that the sour economy is pushing voters in that direction. Some 37.9 percent supported the statement that immigration is part of the American Dream.

But Obama finds surprising support in the poll when it comes to his economic bailouts, focus on green energy and is foreign policy built on cooperation with other nations.

Zogby found that 50.1 percent said as the nation faced recession, "it is necessary" to pump cash into the economy "to hire unemployed, increase consumer spending, and invest in new directions like green collar jobs and infrastructure renewal." Just 34.8 percent said the "best" solution is cutting taxes and spending.

And foreign policy, which the GOP has avoided, is a slight winner for Obama, with 42.5 percent saying the "United States has reached its limits as a superpower and needs to coordinate" with others to protect its interests. Some 38.9 percent said the U.S. is still an "indispensable nation" that must lead.

"The partisan split among voters is right down the middle," Zogby told Secrets. "Equally divided is the battle for the heart and soul of the country -- even what the U.S.'s role should be in the world," he said of the poll of 800 likely voters.

"'American Exceptionalism' versus 'An Empire in Decline' all tied up," he said.