PublicationsApril 18, 2010

Distrust, Discontent, Anger and Partisan Rancor

By almost every conceivable measure Americans are less positive and more critical of government these days. A new Pew Research Center survey finds a perfect storm of conditions associated with distrust of government – a dismal economy, an unhappy public, bitter partisan-based backlash, and epic discontent with Congress and elected officials. Rather than an […]

PublicationsMarch 18, 2010

Gloomy Americans Bash Congress, Are Divided on Obama

As the day of reckoning for health care reform approaches, Americans have little to cheer about. Nearly everyone (92%) gives the national economy a negative rating. Closer to home, 85% say that jobs are hard to find in their community. A majority (54%) now says that someone in their household has been without a […]

PublicationsFebruary 12, 2010

Midterm Election Challenges for Both Parties

Summary of Findings Nine months ahead of the midterm elections, voters have conflicted attitudes about both political parties. Opinions of the Republican Party have improved significantly, and for the first time in years the GOP’s favorable ratings nearly equal the Democratic Party’s. Voting intentions for the fall elections also remain closely divided. However, the Democratic […]

PublicationsJanuary 14, 2010

Obama Image Unscathed By Terrorism Controversy

Summary of Findings In the aftermath of the failed Christmas Day terrorist attack on a Detroit-bound airliner, the government’s ratings for reducing the threat of terrorism have slipped. In addition, 33% now say that the ability of terrorists to launch a major attack on the U.S. is greater than it was at the time of […]

PublicationsDecember 3, 2009

U.S. Seen as Less Important, China as More Powerful

The general public and members of the Council on Foreign Relations are apprehensive and uncertain about America’s place in the world. Growing numbers in both groups see the United States playing a less important role globally, while acknowledging the increasing stature of China. And the general public, which is in a decidedly inward-looking frame […]

PublicationsOctober 8, 2009

Mixed Views of Economic Policies and Health Care Reform Persist

Public opinion is conflicted regarding the two major domestic issues of the day – the economy and health care reform. On the economy, most Americans remain optimistic that Barack Obama’s policies will help, but the public expresses mixed views of the steps he has taken so far and sees no clear signs of recovery […]

PublicationsJuly 30, 2009

Obama’s Ratings Slide Across the Board

Barack Obama’s approval ratings have suffered major declines. The president’s overall job approval number fell from 61% in mid-June to 54% currently. His approval ratings for handling the economy and the federal budget deficit have also fallen sharply, tumbling to 38% and 32%, respectively. Majorities now say they disapprove of the way the president […]

PublicationsJuly 9, 2009

Public Praises Science; Scientists Fault Public, Media

Americans like science. Overwhelming majorities say that science has had a positive effect on society and that science has made life easier for most people. Most also say that government investments in science, as well as engineering and technology, pay off in the long run. And scientists are very highly rated compared with members […]

PublicationsJune 24, 2009

Romney’s Image Improves; Palin Well Regarded by Republican Base

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney has seen his favorability ratings improve and now enjoys a positive balance of opinion among the general public: 40% rate him favorably, 28% unfavorably. This marks a reversal of opinion from February 2008, during the latter stages of the GOP primary campaign, when just 30% viewed him favorably and […]

PublicationsMay 21, 2009

Independents Take Center Stage in Obama Era

Centrism has emerged as a dominant factor in public opinion as the Obama era begins. The political values and core attitudes that the Pew Research Center has monitored since 1987 show little overall ideological movement. Republicans and Democrats are even more divided than in the past, while the growing political middle is steadfastly mixed […]

PublicationsMarch 16, 2009

Obama’s Approval Rating Slips Amid Division Over Economic Proposals

President Barack Obama’s approval rating has slipped, as a growing number of Americans see him listening more to his party’s liberals than to its moderates and many voice opposition to some of his key economic proposals. Obama’s job approval rating has slipped from 64% in February to 59% currently, while disapproval has jumped from […]

PublicationsFebruary 12, 2009

As Jobs Crisis Spreads, Worries Climb the Economic Ladder

For the public, the continuing financial crisis has been overtaken by a jobs crisis. The proportion of Americans citing jobs or unemployment as the nation’s most important economic problem has more than quadrupled – from 10% to 42% – since early October and job worries now far surpass concerns over the financial crisis. People’s […]

PublicationsJanuary 15, 2009

Strong Confidence in Obama – Country Seen As Less Politically Divided

Public confidence in Barack Obama to deal with the nation’s most pressing problems is quite high, with about seven-in-ten saying they have at least a fair amount of confidence that he will do the right thing when it comes to mending the economy, preventing terrorism, and in dealing with Iraq. Notably, many Americans not […]

PublicationsDecember 18, 2008

Bush and Public Opinion

Overview: Bush and Public Opinion As George W. Bush prepares to leave the White House, the United States is in many ways dramatically different from when he took the oath of office in 2001. His first few months as president were largely unremarkable, despite the contentious 2000 election. But the horrific terror attacks of Sept. […]

PublicationsDecember 11, 2008

Psychology of Bad Times Fueling Consumer Cutbacks

Americans continue to render extremely bleak assessments of economic conditions, both with respect to the national economy and their own financial situations. Fully 92% of the public rates the national economy as only fair or poor, and a substantial majority (61%) judges their personal finances that way. Both measures are among the most negative […]

PublicationsNovember 13, 2008

High Marks for the Campaign, a High Bar for Obama

A week after the election, voters are feeling good about themselves, the presidential campaign and Barack Obama. Looking ahead, they have high expectations for the Obama administration, with two-thirds predicting that he will have a successful first term. The quadrennial post-election survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press finds […]

PublicationsOctober 23, 2008

Liberal Dems Top Conservative Reps in Donations, Activism

With less than two weeks to go before Election Day, voters remain riveted to the presidential campaign. But liberal Democrats are leading the way by engaging in far more activism than other partisan and ideological groups. By almost any measure of political interest or activity, liberal Democratic voters are more strongly connected to this […]

PublicationsOctober 21, 2008

Growing Doubts About McCain’s Judgment, Age and Campaign Conduct

Barack Obama’s lead over John McCain has steadily increased since mid-September, when the race was essentially even. Shortly after the first presidential debate on Sept. 26, Obama moved to a 49% to 42% lead; that margin inched up to 50% to 40% in a poll taken just after the second debate. Currently, Obama enjoys […]

PublicationsOctober 15, 2008

Public Not Desperate About Economy or Personal Finances

Americans are concerned about the nation’s economic problems almost to the exclusion of every other issue, and they register the lowest level of national satisfaction ever measured in a Pew Research Center survey. Just 11% say they are satisfied with the way things are going in the country – down 14 points in the […]

PublicationsSeptember 24, 2008

Declining Public Support for Global Engagement

The public is feeling much better about how the war in Iraq is going these days, but at the same time has a sharply diminished appetite for U.S. efforts to deal with an array of global problems. Fewer people than at any point in this decade assign high priority to such foreign policy goals […]