Jul. 3, 1999

Technology Triumphs, Morality Falters

Introduction and Summary Americans see the 20th century as a time of great economic, social and technological progress. As individuals, as families, as members of various social and demographic groups, nearly two-thirds of Americans say they have improved their circumstances since the 1950s, and even larger numbers see economic and social gains for many segments […]

Jun. 16, 1999

It’s Still Too Early for the Voters

Introduction and Summary The early presidential primary season may have front-loaded candidate announcements, political advertising and the media roadshow, but it’s all background noise to the average American voter. Nearly two-thirds of the public is paying little or no attention to the 2000 election, and knowledge of the presidential candidates and opinions about them are […]

Apr. 17, 1999

Clinton Fatigue Undermines Gore Poll Standing

Introduction and Summary Personal image problems and fallout from Clinton administration scandals are contributing to Al Gore’s declining favorability ratings and his poor showing in early horse race polls. As the vice president has inched closer to the Democratic presidential nomination, his favorability ratings have fallen and he has slipped further behind GOP frontrunner George […]

Mar. 30, 1999

Striking the Balance, Audience Interests, Business Pressures and Journalists’ Values

Introduction and Summary Journalists increasingly agree with public criticism of their profession and the quality of their work. Overwhelmingly, news media professionals say the lines have blurred between commentary and reporting and between entertainment and news. A growing number of reporters, editors and news executives also say that news reports are full of factual errors […]

Feb. 25, 1999

Public Votes for Continuity and Change in 2000

Introduction and Summary The anomalies of American public opinion continue even as the impeachment trial fades into history. Today, the public view of the state of the nation is much improved, despite the fact that a major component of that view — trust in government — remains low. Politically, the public expresses negative views of […]

Jan. 14, 1999

The Internet News Audience Goes Ordinary

Introduction and Summary The Internet audience is not only growing, it is getting decidedly mainstream. Two years ago, when just 23% of Americans were going online, stories about technology were the top news draw. Today, with 41% of adults using the Internet, the weather is the most popular online news attraction. Increasingly people without college […]

Nov. 13, 1998

Clinton Leadership Position Enhanced

Introduction and Summary In the wake of the congressional elections earlier this month, President Clinton’s job approval ratings inched upward, sentiment for impeachment remained low, and by almost a two-to-one margin Americans said that Clinton — not the Republican leaders in Congress — should now take the lead in solving the nation’s problems. This is […]

Oct. 21, 1998

GOP Congressional Lead Not Undercut by Backlash

Introduction and Summary The House of Representatives’ decision to hold impeachment hearings has not significantly eroded support for Republicans. Despite a public backlash against proceeding with the inquiry, Republican congressional candidates continue to hold a small lead over Democrats among likely voters nationwide. Further, the Pew Research Center’s latest survey includes an oversample of voters […]

Sep. 10, 1998

GOP Image Improves, But Congressional Race Remains Close

Introduction and Summary American voters divided their support for Republican and Democratic congressional candidates nearly equally in the weeks between President Clinton’s televised admission that he had an improper relationship with Monica Lewinsky and news of Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr’s report to Congress on the matter. But with two months to go until the midterm […]

Aug. 27, 1998

It’s Still the Economy They Say

Introduction and Summary Americans credit a strong economy and, to a lesser extent, a good foreign policy as reasons why they approve of the president’s job performance, even though they increasingly dislike Bill Clinton personally. Further, strong public criticism of the way he has handled the Monica Lewinsky matter has failed to shake Clinton’s approval […]

Aug. 7, 1998

More Rancorous, But Not “Do Nothing”

Introduction and Summary As Congress heads home for the summer campaign season, both parties face tough sells for their election themes. Despite Democratic charges of a Republican-led do-nothing Congress, Americans see the 105th Congress as no different than others in recent memory. But the GOP will have to shore up its image on issues, as […]

Jun. 15, 1998

Voters Not So Angry, Not So Interested

Introduction and Summary Americans are more mellow and less engaged by politics than they were four years ago, and that may mean low voter turnout in the fall. The number of people who follow what’s going on in government and politics is down sharply from 1994, as is the number who want to see change […]

Jun. 8, 1998

Internet News Takes Off

Introduction and Summary The Pew Research Center’s biennial news use survey finds that overall Americans are reading, watching and listening to the news just as often as they were two years ago. But the type of news Americans follow and the way they follow it are being fundamentally reshaped by technological change and the post-Cold […]

Apr. 3, 1998

Democratic Congressional Chances Helped by Clinton Ratings

Introduction and Summary President Clinton’s lofty performance ratings are benefiting the Democratic Party, which is now in a stronger position with American voters than it has been for some time. In contrast, continuing negative perceptions of Republican congressional leaders are hamstringing the image of their party. By the biggest margin of the decade, the public […]

Mar. 27, 1998

Conservative Opinions Not Underestimated, But Racial Hostility Missed

Introduction and Summary A unique survey research experiment finds that public opinion polls, as they are typically conducted, do not understate conservative opinions or support for the Republican Party. Conservative critics of the polls have charged that these surveys are politically biased. A methodological study by the Pew Research Center finds little evidence of this, […]

Feb. 6, 1998

Popular Policies and Unpopular Press Lift Clinton Ratings

Introduction and Summary A strong State of the Union address combined with public anger at the news media fueled President Clinton’s unexpected lift to a 71% approval rating — even as allegations of a White House sex scandal consumed Washington. When asked in a Pew Research Center re-interview survey why they had changed their minds […]

Jan. 23, 1998

Spending Favored Over Tax Cuts or Debt Reduction

Introduction and Summary In his sixth State of the Union next week, President Clinton will face an American public that retains a healthy appetite for government activism — fully two-thirds advocate spending any budget surplus this year. But that enthusiasm is tempered by often sharp generational differences on federal spending priorities. In a clear signal […]

Nov. 21, 1997

Americans Support Action on Global Warming

Introduction and Summary Most Americans are willing to join other countries in setting standards to improve the global environment and a majority would even pay more for gasoline to reduce global warming. But on the eve of the December Kyoto conference on climate change, the American public strongly rejects the notion that the United States […]

Aug. 15, 1997

When Washington Works, Incumbents Prosper

Introduction and Summary For the first time in a very long time, Americans are happy with the country’s course and it is beginning to pay dividends to the political establishment. Not only are Bill Clinton’s approval ratings approaching Reagan’s at a comparable point, but support for Congressional incumbents is at a decade high, and interest […]

May. 23, 1997

Americans Only a Little Better Off, But Much Less Anxious

Introduction and Summary Psychologically, Americans have turned an important corner recently. They have become much less concerned about meeting major financial commitments, even though they say their material conditions have not dramatically improved. Heightened worries about affording health care, saving for retirement, or saving for a child’s college education have fallen off significantly in recent […]