Dec. 9, 2013

Did Newtown really change public opinion about gun control?

In the year since the Newtown, Conn. school shootings, President Obama and other gun control advocates have repeatedly pointed to polls showing that substantial majorities support expanded background checks on private gun sales. As Obama put it in March, “How often do 90 percent of Americans agree on anything?” Obama was right – some surveys […]

May. 19, 2013

Race and Voting

In the next several weeks the Supreme Court is expected to rule on the constitutionality of the requirement that several states, mostly in the South, get “pre-clearance” from the Justice Department before they make any changes to their election laws. The requirement was part of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which was an emergency […]

Mar. 22, 2013

The GOP’s Staunch Conservative Problem

The outsize influence of hard-line elements in the party base is doing to the GOP what supporters of Gene McCarthy and George McGovern did to the Democratic Party in the late 1960s and early 1970s — radicalizing its image and standing in the way of its revitalization. Read the commentary on The Washington Post site.

Jan. 8, 2013

As Hagel Fight Begins, Wide Partisan Differences in Support for Israel

For decades, the public has sympathized more with Israel than the Palestinians in the Middle East conflict. However, the partisan gap in sympathies, while little changed in recent years, is as large as it has been in more than three decades of polling. Discussion of the U.S.-Israeli relationship is likely to come to the fore […]

Dec. 20, 2012

Election, Tragedies Dominate Top Stories of 2012

The public’s news interests were very much focused on domestic developments this year, with the election outcome, last week’s horrific school shooting and Hurricane Sandy leading the list of the top stories of 2012. With the exception of the attack on a U.S. consulate in Libya in September, which became a bitterly debated campaign issue, […]

Dec. 14, 2012

Public Attitudes Toward Gun Control

The Pew Research Center has been tracking attitudes about gun control for nearly 20 years. Our question asks whether it is more important to protect the right of Americans to own guns, or to control gun ownership. Our most recent survey on the issue, conducted July 26-29, 2012, shortly after a gunman killed 12 people […]

Nov. 26, 2012

Young Voters Supported Obama Less, But May Have Mattered More

In winning reelection, Barack Obama won 60% of the vote among those younger than 30. That was down somewhat from 2008, when Obama won nearly two-thirds (66%) of the votes of young people. However, Obama’s youth support may have been an even more important factor in his victory this year than it was in 2008. […]

Nov. 13, 2012

Lessons from the 2012 Election

By Andrew Kohut, Pew Research Center President November 14, 2012 Postelection talk of “lessons learned” is ­often exaggerated and misleading, and so it is in 2012. A week after President Obama won re-election, two themes are dominant. First, that Mr. Obama kept his job because key elements of his base—notably young people, African-Americans, Latinos and Asian-Americans—turned […]

Nov. 9, 2012

Behind Gay Marriage Momentum, Regional Gaps Persist

Supporters of same-sex marriage won key victories in several states Tuesday, including the first instances in which laws allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally were approved by voters. This comes at a time when support for same-sex marriage has been on the rise. Across four Pew Research Center surveys this year, 48% of Americans […]

Nov. 7, 2012

Changing Face of America Helps Assure Obama Victory

Barack Obama retained enough support from key elements of his base to win reelection, even as he lost ground nationally since 2008. In particular, Obama maintained wide advantages among young people, women, minorities, and both the less affluent and the well-educated. Overall, Obama benefited from relatively strong turnout – both nationally and in key battleground […]

Sep. 28, 2012

Youth Engagement Falls; Registration Also Declines

Young voters are significantly less engaged in this year’s election than at a comparable point in 2008 and now lag far behind older voters in interest in the campaign and intention to vote. The share of voters younger than 30 who are following campaign news very closely is roughly half what it was at this […]

Sep. 6, 2012

Americans Feel No Better or Worse Off in the Obama Years; Politics Colors Views of Recession’s Toll

Aug. 23, 2012

A Closer Look at the Parties in 2012

As the 2012 party conventions approach, the Democratic Party continues to maintain an advantage in party identification among voters, but its lead is much smaller than it was in 2008. In more than 13,000 interviews conducted so far in 2012, 35% of registered voters identify with the Democratic Party, 28% with the Republican Party and […]

Aug. 22, 2012

The Complicated Politics of Abortion

Abortion has emerged as an issue in the 2012 presidential race, following Missouri GOP Senate candidate Todd Akin’s controversial comments about abortion and “legitimate rape.” In recent years, narrow majorities of the public have consistently said that abortion should be legal in all or most cases. The Democratic Party is widely favored over the GOP […]

Aug. 22, 2012

Conventions Still Draw Sizable Audience, Boost Campaign Interest

Despite limited primetime coverage, the Republican and Democratic conventions still give the parties a chance to define their presidential candidates and spark public interest in the campaign. In 2008, notably, both conventions attracted sizable audiences, especially among their own partisans. In a Pew Research Center survey conducted after the Republican convention in St. Paul, Minn., […]

Aug. 13, 2012

Older Americans Have Been Highly Resistant to Medicare Changes

Older Americans are wary of changes to Medicare. Compared with younger people, they are more positive about the way the program operates, less apt to think that changes are needed and far less disposed towards Paul Ryan’s proposal to reshape Medicare. A Pew Research survey in May of 2011 found that those 65 and older […]

Aug. 3, 2012

Party Affiliation and Election Polls

In every campaign cycle, pollwatchers pay close attention to the details of every election survey. And well they should. But focusing on the partisan balance of surveys is, in almost every circumstance, the wrong place to look. The latest Pew Research Center survey conducted July 16-26 among 1,956 registered voters nationwide found 51% supporting Barack […]

Jul. 24, 2012

Romney’s Overseas Trip a Chance to Burnish Foreign Policy Credentials

Mitt Romney’s trip to Europe and Israel this week highlights a potential weakness of his candidacy. The former Massachusetts governor trails Barack Obama by eight points among registered voters as the candidate best able to handle foreign policy and 12 points as best able to defend against terrorist attacks, according to the Pew Research Center’s […]

Jul. 3, 2012

PBS NewsHour’s Jim Lehrer and Pew Research Center President Andrew Kohut Discuss the 2012 Election

  On Monday, July 2, retiring “PBS NewsHour” anchor Jim Lehrer interviewed Pew Research Center President Andrew Kohut at the Chautauqua Institution’s Morning Lecture Series, titled, “The Lehrer Report: What Informed Voters Need to Know.” The discussion was part of the New York institution’s annual summer event held before an audience of 3,500. Lehrer and Kohut discussed the […]

Jun. 15, 2012

Obama Health Care Law: Where Does the Public Stand?

The American public has been deeply divided from the start over the health care reform law now before the U.S. Supreme Court, though opinion has generally tilted more negative than positive over the past two years.  A majority of Americans disapprove of a key component of the law, which requires most individuals to be covered […]