Weekly News Interest Index Jan. 11, 2012

Perceptions of Economic News Continue to Improve

The number of Americans hearing mostly bad news about the nation’s economy continues to decline. Three-in-ten (30%) now say they are hearing mostly bad economic news, less than half the number that said this in early August (67%). The percentage saying they are hearing a mix of good and bad news about the economy […]

Survey Reports Jan. 9, 2012

GOP Voters Still Unenthused About Presidential Field

On the eve of the New Hampshire primary, Republican voters continue to express mixed views of the party’s presidential field. Roughly half (51%) of Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters say the candidates are excellent or good, while 44% say they are only fair or poor. The percentage expressing positive views of the GOP presidential […]

Survey Reports Jan. 6, 2012

Continued Majority Support for Death Penalty

Public opinion about the death penalty has changed only modestly in recent years, but there continues to be far less support for the death penalty than there was in the mid-1990s. A survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press and the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, conducted […]

Commentary 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 […]

Survey Reports Dec. 28, 2011

Little Change in Public’s Response to ’Capitalism,’ ’Socialism’

The recent Occupy Wall Street protests have focused public attention on what organizers see as the excesses of America’s free market system, but perceptions of capitalism – and even of socialism – have changed little since early 2010 despite the recent tumult. The American public’s take on capitalism remains mixed, with just slightly more […]

Weekly News Interest Index Dec. 21, 2011

2011: A Year of Big Stories Both Foreign and Domestic

The threat of nuclear disaster in Japan and the killing of Osama bin Laden by Navy SEALs were two of the breaking news stories that captured the greatest amount of public attention in 2011. But Americans also kept a steady watch on the economy at home. More than half said they followed news about […]

Commentary 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 […]

Survey Reports Dec. 20, 2011

Tax System Seen as Unfair, in Need of Overhaul

Public dissatisfaction with the tax system has grown over the past decade, and the focus of the public’s frustration is not how much they themselves pay, but rather the impression that wealthy people are not paying their fair share. The number of Americans who feel they pay more than their fair share in federal […]

Survey Reports Dec. 15, 2011

Frustration with Congress Could Hurt Republican Incumbents

Public discontent with Congress has reached record levels, and the implications for incumbents in next year’s elections could be stark. Two-in-three voters say most members of Congress should be voted out of office in 2012 – the highest on record. And the number who say their own member should be replaced matches the all-time […]

Survey Reports Dec. 14, 2011

Top One-Word Reactions to GOP Frontrunners

When Americans are asked what comes to mind when they hear Newt Gingrich’s name, no single word stands out. Some refer to the Republican frontrunner’s intellect and conservatism.Others see him as “old school” or even as an “idiot.” Most frequently, they offer a quick negative assessment of Gingrich’s White House bid: “no” or “no way.” […]

Weekly News Interest Index Dec. 13, 2011

Public Focuses on Elections, Economy and Penn State

The latest allegations in the child sex abuse scandal at Penn State University rivaled news about the 2012 elections and the economy for the public’s attention last week. About two-in-ten (19%) say news about the candidates for the 2012 presidential elections was their top story, while 18% each say they followed news about the […]

Survey Reports Dec. 13, 2011

Gingrich Leads, But Likely GOP Primary Voters Have Not Ruled Out Romney

Newt Gingrich holds a substantial 35% to 21% lead over Mitt Romney among Republican and Republican-leaning independent voters who say they are very likely to vote in the GOP primaries or caucuses. But clear majorities say there is at least a chance they would vote for either Gingrich or Romney in Republican primaries in […]

Commentary 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 […]

Weekly News Interest Index Dec. 7, 2011

Many Fewer Hearing Mostly Bad Economic News

The number of Americans hearing mostly bad news about the economy has fallen 12 points over the past month and 31 points since fears of a new recession intensified in August. Currently, 56% say the news they are hearing about the economy is a mix of good and bad, while 36% say the news […]

Survey Reports Dec. 6, 2011

Illegal Immigration: Gaps Between and Within Parties

The public continues to support tough measures to crack down on illegal immigration, but also a path to citizenship for those in the country illegally. A plurality (43%) says the priority should be better border security and enforcement, as well as creating a way for illegal immigrants to become citizens if they meet certain […]

Survey Reports Dec. 6, 2011

Nomination Race Hurting GOP, But Not Helping Obama

As the fight for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination unfolds, more Americans say their impression of the GOP field is worsening than improving. Those views, however, have not resulted in a better view of President Barack Obama at this point. By a margin of two-to-one, more say that their impression of the GOP field is […]

Commentary 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 […]

Survey Reports Dec. 1, 2011

Modest Rise in Number Saying There Is ’Solid Evidence’ of Global Warming

The percentage of Americans who say there is solid evidence of global warming has increased modestly over the past two years. Currently, 63% say there is solid evidence that the earth’s average temperature has been getting warmer over the past few decades. In October 2009, 57% expressed this view. The number saying global warming […]

Commentary 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 […]

Survey Reports Nov. 23, 2011

Romney’s Mormon Faith Likely a Factor in Primaries, Not in a General Election

A new survey finds that there has been virtually no change in Americans’ impressions of the Mormon faith over the past four years. Meanwhile, about half of all voters, and 60% of evangelical Republicans, know that Mitt Romney is a Mormon. Romney’s religion has implications for his nomination run but not for the general election […]