Jun. 14, 2012

Debt and Deficit: A Public Opinion Dilemma

The issue of the debt and the deficit – and what to do about it – has paralyzed Washington lawmakers. But when it comes to measures for reducing the deficit on which they might reach common ground, they will get little help in building support for an agreement by turning to public opinion. In my […]

May. 23, 2012

Changing Views of Gay Marriage: A Deeper Analysis

President Obama’s recent expression of support for same-sex marriage has highlighted long-term changes in opinion on the issue. In interviews with more than 5,000 adults conducted in 2011-2012, prior to Obama’s announcement, 46% favored gay marriage while 44% were opposed. (See detailed tables for a breakdown among subgroups by year). Four years ago, a majority […]

May. 17, 2012

Public Yawns at European Economic Woes

As the G-8 leaders prepare to meet at Camp David on Friday, the dominant topic of conversation will be the European debt crisis. Yet it is a crisis that has attracted minimal interest or concern among the U.S. public, despite warnings from economists that Europe’s problems may threaten this country’s fragile recovery. Last week was […]

Apr. 16, 2012

Obama vs. Romney: Which One Can Defy Political History to Win?

With the focus now fully on the campaign between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, commentary about the issues, the voting blocs and the strategies of the two campaigns dominates political discourse. But having polled on the last 10 presidential elections, I’m struck by a meta-question about each candidate’s viability that may trump all else. Obama […]

Apr. 16, 2012

Gay Marriage: The Electorate Changes, and Politics Follow

Seems like just yesterday that opposition to gay marriage was the strategy of choice to rally and energize the conservative base. In the 2004 presidential election, analysts believed that proposed state constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage increased the turnout of socially conservative voters in as many as 11 states, where the measures appeared on the […]

Mar. 30, 2012

Views of Law Enforcement, Racial Progress and News Coverage of Race

The controversy over the death of Trayvon Martin has highlighted issues relating to the treatment of blacks by local police departments, the state of race relations in the U.S. and press coverage of African Americans. Pew Research Center surveys in recent years have covered the opinions of blacks and whites on these and other issues. […]

Mar. 29, 2012

The Gender Gap: Three Decades Old, as Wide as Ever

The gender gap in presidential politics is not new. Democratic candidates have gotten more support from women than men for more than 30 years. Even so, Barack Obama’s advantages among women voters over his GOP rivals are striking. In the Pew Research Center’s most recent national survey, conducted March 7-11, Obama led Mitt Romney by […]

Mar. 26, 2012

Public Remains Split on Health Care Bill, Opposed to Mandate

As the 2010 Affordable Care Act comes before the U.S. Supreme Court this week, surveys show that the public remains divided over the basic law. However, majorities continue to oppose the key element of the bill before the Court this week – the requirement that all Americans buy health insurance or face a penalty. A […]

Mar. 2, 2012

For the Public, It’s Not about Class Warfare, But Fairness

Income inequality has become a major issue in the presidential campaign. A recent Pew Research Center poll, for example, attracted wide attention when it found that as many as 66% of Americans believe there are “very strong” or “strong” conflicts between the rich and the poor, an increase of 19 percentage points since 2009. But […]

Mar. 1, 2012

Colleges Viewed Positively, But Conservatives Express Doubts

Americans generally think that colleges and universities have a positive impact on the country, and an overwhelming majority of college graduates say higher education is worth the investment. However, conservative Republicans are skeptical of colleges’ effects on the country, even though most who have completed college view the experience as personally beneficial. In the latest […]

Feb. 27, 2012

Public Views of the Divide between Religion and Politics

Recent comments by presidential candidate Rick Santorum have brought renewed attention to the role of religion in politics. In both 2010 and 2008, narrow majorities said that churches and other houses of worship should keep out of political matters rather than express their views on social and political questions, according to polls by the Pew […]

Feb. 7, 2012

Growing Public Support for Same-Sex Marriage

UPDATED FEBRUARY 16, 2012, WITH MORE COMPLETE DATA. As courts and legislatures address the question of whether same-sex couples should be allowed to legally marry, public support for gay marriage continues to grow. Polls in 2011 by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press found that an average of 46% favor allowing […]

Feb. 2, 2012

Lower-Income Republicans Say Government Does Too Little for Poor People

Mitt Romney’s statement that he is focused solely on the problems of middle class Americans, not the poor, may not sit well with lower-income voters within his own party. Roughly a quarter of Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters have annual family incomes under $30,000, and most of them say that the government does not do […]

Jan. 27, 2012

It’s About Fairness, Not Class Warfare

Income inequality has become a hot-button issue during this political campaign. A recent Pew Research Center poll, for example, attracted an extraordinary amount of attention when it found that 66 percent of Americans believed there were “very strong” or “strong” conflicts between the rich and the poor — an increase of 19 percentage points since […]

Jan. 4, 2012

Six Telling Findings from the Iowa Caucuses

Here are several findings from polling of voters on the day of the Iowa caucuses that may — or may not — prove to be important as the GOP race moves on to New Hampshire and beyond.  Romney Gets 1% of “True Conservative” Voters.  A quarter of Iowa caucus voters said the most important candidate […]

Dec. 20, 2011

In 2007, Mood Just Beginning to Sour, Democrats Better Regarded

Four years ago, as voters were about to cast the first ballots in the 2008 election, the public’s mood was not very good, but still a lot better than it is today. In late 2007, the economic recession was gaining strength and the public’s view of the economy had grown more negative. Only about a […]

Dec. 8, 2011

For Gingrich, Age May Just Be a Number

As the newly anointed GOP frontrunner, Newt Gingrich is facing increased scrutiny about his record, policy proposals and temperament. But so far, Gingrich’s age – he will turn 69 next summer – has virtually escaped notice. This marks quite a change from the last presidential campaign, when then 72-year-old John McCain faced persistent questions about […]

Dec. 6, 2011

An ‘Iron Hand’ Is No Substitute For Democracy

Two decades ago, a survey conducted by the Times Mirror Center of the Soviet Union during perestroika showed a huge divide between hardline communists and the young, urban Russians who backed Boris Yeltsin and favoured a free market economy. Last weekend’s election results show how the divide endures 20 years on. A new Pew Research […]

Nov. 29, 2011

More Now Disagree with Tea Party – Even in Tea Party Districts

Since the 2010 midterm elections, the Tea Party has not only lost support nationwide, but also in the congressional districts represented by members of the House Tea Party Caucus. And this year, the image of the Republican Party has declined even more sharply in these GOP-controlled districts than across the country at large. In the […]

Oct. 19, 2011

Public and Occupy Wall Street Movement Agree on Key Issues

For more debate on Occupy Wall Street click here. The American public is beginning to take notice of the “Occupy movement.” The Pew Research Center’s polling this week finds a growing number of people paying attention to news about the movement. And the Gallup Poll found that among the minority of its respondents who are […]