Survey Reports Jul. 5, 2011

Majority Sees U.S. Leadership in Space as Essential

On the eve of the final mission of the U.S. space shuttle program, most Americans say the United States must be at the forefront of future space exploration. Fifty years after the first American manned space flight, nearly six-in-ten (58%) say it is essential that the United States continue to be a world leader […]

Commentary Jun. 30, 2011

U.S. Seen as Among the Greatest Nations, But Not Superior to All Others

Despite the struggling economy and broad dissatisfaction with national conditions, the public has a positive view of the United States’ global standing. But more think that the U.S. is one of the greatest countries in the world than say it stands above all other countries. Slightly more than half (53%) say that the United States […]

Survey Reports Jun. 29, 2011

Four Years After Walter Reed, Government Still Faulted for Troop Support

As President Obama begins to draw down U.S. forces in Afghanistan, most Americans continue to say that government support for troops returning from war is falling short. The public remains divided over whether the American people give enough support to soldiers who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Opinions on this tilt more negative, […]

Weekly News Interest Index Jun. 29, 2011

Economy, Afghanistan Top News Interest, Coverage

Americans focused most closely last week on news about the nation’s struggling economy and President Obama’s plans to draw down U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Two-in-ten (20%) say the economy was their top story, while 16% say they followed the discussions in Washington about troop levels in Afghanistan more closely than any other top story, […]

Survey Reports Jun. 27, 2011

Little Change in Views of Obama’s Approach for Afghanistan Troop Withdrawal

Following Barack Obama’s June 22 speech about the Afghanistan war, there has been little change in public opinion about the president’s plans for drawing down the number of U.S. combat troops in that country. As in early March, a plurality (44%) says they think Obama will remove troops at about the right pace. About three-in-ten […]

Survey Reports Jun. 23, 2011

Pessimism About National Economy Rises, Personal Financial Views Hold Steady

With a growing number of Americans saying they have been hearing “mostly bad” economic news, opinions about the current state of the national economy remain grim. Positive expectations regarding future economic conditions, which remained high even during the depths of the recession, have declined and now stand at their lowest point since mid-2008. Yet […]

Weekly News Interest Index Jun. 22, 2011

Economy, Weiner Top Public’s News Interests

Americans last week followed news about the struggling economy and the resignation of Rep. Anthony Weiner from Congress more closely than other top stories, while the early stages of the 2012 presidential election led news coverage for this first time this year. Two-in-ten (20%) say they followed reports about the condition of the U.S. […]

Survey Reports Jun. 21, 2011

Record Number Favors Removing U.S. Troops from Afghanistan

As President Obama prepares to announce his policy for drawing down U.S. forces in Afghanistan, the percentage of Americans who favor removing the troops as soon as possible has reached an all-time high in Pew Research Center surveys. For the first time, a majority (56%) says that U.S. troops should be brought home as […]

Survey Reports Jun. 20, 2011

More Say GOP Would Be Mainly Responsible If No Increase In Debt Limit

More Americans believe Republicans in Congress, rather than the Obama administration, would be mainly responsible if the two sides cannot agree on a plan to increase the federal debt limit. About four-in-ten (42%) say Republicans would bear the most responsibility if the debt limit is not raised and the government is unable to borrow more […]

Commentary Jun. 20, 2011

Ideological Chasm Over Interpreting Constitution

As the Supreme Court’s current term concludes, public opinion is evenly divided about how the justices should interpret the Constitution when determining their rulings. Half of Americans (50%) say the Court’s rulings should be based on its understanding of what the U.S. Constitution means in current times, while about as many (45%) say rulings should […]

Commentary Jun. 16, 2011

In Shift from Bush Era, More Conservatives Say “Come Home, America”

In their first major presidential debate June 13, the Republican candidates sketched out a cautious approach to U.S. global engagement that would represent a departure from the policies of the Bush administration. Yet their ideas are very much in tune with the evolving views of the GOP base. In the Pew Research Center’s political typology […]

Weekly News Interest Index Jun. 15, 2011

Public Focused on Economy, Media on Weiner Scandal

Americans focused most closely last week on economic news amid continued reports about the weakness of the recovery, while the media gave the most coverage to the scandal involving New York Rep. Anthony Weiner. About a quarter of the public (23%) says the economy was their top story of the week, according to the […]

Survey Reports Jun. 14, 2011

Most Say Political Sex Scandals Due to Greater Scrutiny, Not Lower Morality

Most Americans attribute the series of public sex scandals in recent years involving politicians more to the heightened scrutiny they face than to lower moral standards among elected officials. A 57% majority say elected officials just get caught more often because they are under greater scrutiny. About two-in-ten (19%), on the other hand, say elected […]

Survey Reports Jun. 10, 2011

Views of Middle East Unchanged by Recent Events

Major events in the Middle East –including tensions between the U.S. and Israel, growing political unrest in many Arab countries, and the death of Osama bin Laden – have had little effect on public attitudes toward the region. Regarding the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, far more Americans continue to say they sympathize with Israel rather than […]

Weekly News Interest Index Jun. 8, 2011

Number Hearing “Mostly Bad” Economic News Highest Since March 2009

Following a series of downbeat reports about housing, jobs and the stock market, the public’s perceptions of economic news have turned much more negative. Fully 46% say they are hearing mostly bad news about the nation’s economy, up nine points since last month and the highest percentage since March 2009. Nearly as many now […]

Survey Reports Jun. 7, 2011

More Blame Wars than Domestic Spending or Tax Cuts for Nation’s Debt

Far more Americans say that the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has contributed a great deal to the nation’s debt than say that about increased domestic spending or the tax cuts enacted over the past decade. Six-in-ten (60%) say the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has contributed a […]

Survey Reports Jun. 6, 2011

Opposition to Ryan Medicare Plan from Older, Attentive Americans

The public offers a mixed reaction to a proposal to change Medicare into a program that would give future participants a credit toward purchasing private health insurance coverage: 41% oppose such a change, 36% favor it, and nearly a quarter (23%) have no opinion either way. Despite this even division of opinion overall, […]

Survey Reports Jun. 2, 2011

Republican Candidates Stir Little Enthusiasm

The emerging Republican presidential field draws tepid ratings. Just a quarter of voters (25%) have an excellent or good impression of the possible GOP candidates, and a separate survey conducted jointly with The Washington Post finds that negative descriptions of the field far outnumber positive ones. Asked for a single word to describe the […]

Weekly News Interest Index Jun. 1, 2011

Midwest Tornadoes Top Story for Public and Press

The devastating tornadoes that ripped through the Midwest last week dominated the public’s news interest and received much more coverage than any other story. About half of the public (48%) says they followed news about the powerful tornadoes that struck Joplin, Mo., more closely than any other news last week. None of the week’s […]

Survey Reports Jun. 1, 2011

Top Reaction to GOP Field – “Unimpressed”

Americans have decidedly negative reactions to the candidates running for the Republican presidential nomination. Asked for a single word to describe the GOP field, the top response is a variation on “unimpressed,” with 42 mentions. Overall, 44% offer negative words to describe the Republican candidates, 19% use neutral words and just 12% use positive words. […]