Commentary Dec. 27, 2005

What Was – and Wasn’t on the Public’s Mind…

Public opinion played a major role in the most important news stories of the year, from President Bush’s battle with an increasingly restive opposition, to the public’s mounting anxiety about the war in Iraq, to the sharp public rebuke of Congress for its intervention in the Terry Schiavo affair. Many of the strongest trends in […]

Survey Reports Dec. 15, 2005

Wal-Mart a Good Place to Shop But Some Critics Too

Summary of Findings As shoppers flock to the stores for holiday gifts, some express mixed feelings about the nation’s largest retailer. Nearly every American lives near enough a Wal-Mart to shop there, and 84% say they have done so in the past year. Praise for the retailer’s low prices, wide selection and convenience flow freely, […]

Survey Reports Dec. 14, 2005

Public Unmoved by Washington’s Rhetoric on Iraq

Summary of Findings The political debate over the Iraq war has grown more pointed in recent weeks, as President Bush has embarked upon a series of high-profile speeches defending the war and Democratic Rep. John Murtha has made headlines with his calls for a withdrawal of U.S. forces. But fundamental public attitudes toward the war […]

Survey Reports Nov. 17, 2005

Opinion Leaders Turn Cautious, Public Looks Homeward

Introduction and Summary Preoccupied with war abroad and growing problems at home, U.S. opinion leaders and the general public are taking a decidedly cautious view of America’s place in the world. Over the past four years, opinion leaders have become less supportive of the United States playing a “first among equals” role among the world’s […]

Survey Reports Nov. 8, 2005

Alito Viewed Positively, But Libby Takes a Toll

Summary of Findings President George W. Bush’s approval ratings have fallen to another new low, amid a growing focus on alleged ethical lapses in his administration. Just 36% now believe that Bush has lived up to his campaign pledge to restore integrity to the White House. In contrast, fully 79% of Americans say the recent […]

Commentary Nov. 2, 2005

Public Opinion Supports Alito on Spousal Notification Even as It Favors Roe v. Wade

Of all the opinions that Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. has handed down during 15 years on the federal bench, the one drawing the most attention since his nomination to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court is his support in a 1991 case for a provision in a Pennsylvania law that required women, with few […]

Commentary Oct. 31, 2005

The Black and White of Public Opinion

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, public opinion surveys as well as media reporting portrayed an America deeply divided along racial lines. In an early September Pew survey, for example, two-thirds of African Americans, but fewer than one-in-five whites, said that the government response would have been faster had most victims been white. This raises […]

Commentary Oct. 27, 2005

Budget Cuts Look Cheaper Out of Focus

How does the public want to pay for cleaning up after Hurricane Katrina and her disruptive relatives? As politicians grapple with the costs of disaster relief following a string of major hurricanes along the Gulf Coast, there is no clear public consensus over where the money should come from. In particular, while most Americans believe […]

Survey Reports Oct. 25, 2005

Public Sours on Government and Business

Summary of Findings Americans express increasingly negative views of a wide range major institutions, reflecting strong discontent with national conditions. Over the past year, ratings have tumbled for the federal government and Congress. And it is not just Washington institutions that are being viewed less positively. Favorable opinions of business corporations are at their lowest […]

Survey Reports Oct. 19, 2005

Katrina Relief Effort Raises Concern Over Excessive Spending, Waste

Summary of Findings The public overwhelmingly supports the Hurricane Katrina rebuilding aid already approved by Congress. Going forward, however, as many Americans worry that the government will spend too much on hurricane relief as say it will spend too little. And while Katrina’s potential impact on the budget has become a major issue in Washington, […]

Survey Reports Oct. 13, 2005

Plurality Now Sees Bush Presidency as Unsuccessful

Summary of Findings President George W. Bush’s poll numbers are going from bad to worse. His job approval rating has fallen to another new low, as has public satisfaction with national conditions, which now stands at just 29%. And for the first time since taking office in 2001, a plurality of Americans believe that George […]

Survey Reports Oct. 11, 2005

Miers Concerns Center on Qualifications and Cronyism

Summary of Findings Americans are divided over whether Harriet Miers should be confirmed to the Supreme Court. Based on what they have heard so far, a third say they favor Miers’ confirmation, while 27% are opposed; four-in-ten express no opinion. In mid-September, about two months after John Roberts had been nominated to the court, the […]

Commentary Oct. 3, 2005

Abortion, the Court and the Public

The confirmation hearings for Harriet Miers to become a justice of the Supreme Court will once again highlight a complex web of issues related to abortion, on which she may become the swing vote. While activists on both sides describe abortion as an issue on which there is no middle ground, decades of polling have […]

Commentary Sep. 28, 2005

Reading the Polls on Evolution and Creationism

This week in federal district court, a group of parents is challenging the Dover, Pa. school board’s decision to require the teaching of “intelligent design” in science classes, on the grounds that this policy violates the principle of separation of church and state. The case is just the latest in a long series of court […]

Commentary Sep. 22, 2005

Katrina Has Only Modest Impact on Basic Public Values

As the Hurricane Katrina recovery effort unfolds along the Gulf Coast, there has been considerable speculation about the disaster’s possible impact on fundamental public attitudes on such questions as the role of government, the plight of the poor and the extent of racial progress in the U.S. On the left, some have expressed the hope […]

Survey Reports Sep. 15, 2005

Economic Pessimism Grows, Gas Prices Pinch

Summary of Findings A summer’s worth of bad news, culminating with Hurricane Katrina, has taken a toll on the public’s mood, particularly when it comes to views of the economy and energy costs. The public’s economic expectations, while hardly robust in the spring, have grown much more negative. Nearly four-in-ten (37%) think economic conditions will […]

Survey Reports Sep. 12, 2005

Four-in-ten Question Rebuilding New Orleans in Present Location

Summary of Findings With hearings on the nomination of John Roberts beginning today in Washington, a growing number of Americans say that Roberts should be confirmed as chief justice. In polling conducted over the weekend by the Pew Research Center, 46% expressed support for Roberts’s confirmation, up from 35% in a poll conducted last week. […]

Survey Reports Sep. 8, 2005

Two-In-Three Critical Of Bush’s Relief Efforts

Summary of Findings The American public is highly critical of President Bush’s handling of Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. Two-in-three Americans (67%) believe he could have done more to speed up relief efforts, while just 28% think he did all he could to get them going quickly. At the same time, Bush’s overall job approval rating […]

Commentary Sep. 6, 2005

Political Division Multipliers

President Bush’s margin last year over Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, 2.4 percentage points, was the smallest of any victorious presidential incumbent in history. He won a very close election. But in most of the country, the 2004 race wasn’t even close to being close. A Pew Research Center analysis shows that in the majority […]

Survey Reports Aug. 30, 2005

Religion A Strength And Weakness For Both Parties

Summary of Findings Both major political parties have a problem with their approach toward religion, in the eyes of many Americans. More than four-in-ten say that liberals who are not religious have too much control over the Democratic Party, while an almost identical percentage says that religious conservatives have too much influence over the Republican […]