Survey Reports Jun. 4, 2012

Partisan Polarization Surges in Bush, Obama Years

As Americans head to the polls this November, their values and basic beliefs are more polarized along partisan lines than at any point in the past 25 years. Unlike in 1987, when this series of surveys began, the values gap between Republicans and Democrats is now greater than gender, age, race or class divides. […]

Weekly News Interest Index May. 31, 2012

Presidential Campaign Public’s Top Story

Americans continued to follow news about the presidential campaign more closely than any other news last week, though they also closely followed news about the price of gasoline. Nearly three-in-ten (28%) say news about the candidates for president was their top story, while 17% say they followed news about gas prices most closely. One-in-ten […]

Survey Reports May. 31, 2012

Public Sees Gas Prices Down A Little Across Much of Nation

About half of Americans say the price of gasoline has gone down over the past month. But West Coast residents are much more likely to see gasoline prices going up, which is consistent with a rise in prices at the pump in that part of the country. In total, 51% of the public says that […]

Commentary 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 […]

Weekly News Interest Index May. 22, 2012

Presidential Campaign Tops Public’s News Interest

Americans focused most closely last week on news about the presidential election, as the race increasingly shifted from the Republican primary contest to the head-to-head fight between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. Nearly three-in-ten (28%) say the campaign was their top story, while 16% say they most closely followed news about the economy, according […]

Commentary 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 […]

Weekly News Interest Index May. 15, 2012

Obama Support for Gay Marriage Public’s Top Story

President Obama’s expression of support for same-sex marriage proved to be the public’s top news story last week. About a quarter of Americans (26%) say they followed news about Obama’s statements on the divisive topic more closely than any other news, according to the latest weekly News Interest Index survey, conducted May 10-13 among […]

Methodology Reports, Survey Reports May. 15, 2012

Assessing the Representativeness of Public Opinion Surveys

For decades survey research has provided trusted data about political attitudes and voting behavior, the economy, health, education, demography and many other topics. But political and media surveys are facing significant challenges as a consequence of societal and technological changes. It has become increasingly difficult to contact potential respondents and to persuade them to […]

Survey Reports May. 14, 2012

Half Say View of Obama Not Affected by Gay Marriage Decision

Roughly half of Americans (52%) say Barack Obama’s expression of support for gay marriage did not affect their opinion of the president. A quarter (25%) say they feel less favorably toward Obama because of this while 19% feel more favorably. There are wide partisan and age differences in reactions to Obama’s expression of support […]

Weekly News Interest Index May. 9, 2012

Public Attention Focused on U.S. Economy

Americans followed news about the nation’s economy more closely than any other news last week amid new signs the pace of the recovery has slowed. A quarter of the public (25%) says their top story was reports about the condition of the U.S. economy, while 18% say they followed news about the 2012 presidential […]

Weekly News Interest Index May. 1, 2012

Public’s Top Stories: Martin Case, Election, Economy

Developments in the Trayvon Martin murder case and news about the candidates for president topped the public’s news interest last week, with about as many saying they followed news about the economy most closely. Roughly two-in-ten (22%) say their top story was developments in the legal case against George Zimmerman, the community watch volunteer […]

Survey Reports May. 1, 2012

Supreme Court Favorability Reaches New Low

Public assessments of the Supreme Court have reached a quarter-century low. Unlike evaluations over much of the past decade, there is very little partisan divide. The court receives relatively low favorable ratings from Republicans, Democrats and independents alike. The survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted April 4-15, […]

Survey Reports Apr. 26, 2012

Growing Gap in Favorable Views of Federal, State Governments

Just a third of Americans have a favorable opinion of the federal government, the lowest positive rating in 15 years. Yet opinions about state and local governments remain favorable, on balance. As a result, the gap between favorable ratings of the federal government and state and local governments is wider than ever. Ten years […]

Survey Reports Apr. 25, 2012

More Support for Gun Rights, Gay Marriage than in 2008 or 2004

Opinions about a pair of contentious social issues, gun control and gay marriage, have changed substantially since previous presidential campaigns. On gun control, Americans have become more conservative; on gay marriage, they have become more liberal. Currently, 49% of Americans say it is more important to protect the rights of Americans to own guns, […]

Weekly News Interest Index Apr. 24, 2012

News about Trayvon Martin Case Still Top Story

With a Florida judge clearing the way for George Zimmerman to get out of jail on bail, developments in the case against the man charged in the killing of Trayvon Martin topped Americans’ news interest last week. About a quarter of the public (26%) says they followed developments in the case more closely than […]

Survey Reports Apr. 18, 2012

Most Swing Voters Favor Afghan Troop Withdrawal

Public support for maintaining U.S. forces in Afghanistan has reached a new low. And as the general election campaign begins, swing voters, by nearly two-to-one, favor removing U.S. troops from Afghanistan as soon as possible. Nearly two-thirds (65%) of voters who say they are certain to support Barack Obama in the general election favor […]

Weekly News Interest Index Apr. 17, 2012

Murder Charge in Trayvon Martin’s Death Top Story

The Trayvon Martin killing continued to top the public’s news interest last week as prosecutors in Florida filed a second-degree murder charge against George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer who shot the African American 17-year-old. About a third of the public (32%) says they followed news about the charges against Zimmerman more closely than […]

Survey Reports Apr. 17, 2012

With Voters Focused on Economy, Obama Lead Narrows

With voters continuing to focus on economic issues, Barack Obama holds a slim 49% to 45% advantage over Mitt Romney in the latest Pew Research Center survey of nearly 2,400 registered voters nationwide. Obama’s lead has narrowed since last month, when he had a 12-point advantage, though it is comparable to margins from earlier […]

Commentary 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 […]

Commentary 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 […]