Dec. 21, 2009

Current Decade Rates as Worst in 50 Years

As the current decade draws to a close, relatively few Americans have positive things to say about it. By roughly two-to-one, more say they have a generally negative (50%) rather than a generally positive (27%) impression of the past 10 years. This stands in stark contrast to the public’s recollection of other decades in […]

Dec. 16, 2009

Mixed Views of Obama at Year’s End

Public opinion about President Barack Obama and his major polices continues to be divided as the year comes to a close. His overall approval rating is 49%, which is largely unchanged from November (51%). However, the percentage expressing at least a fair amount of confidence in Obama to do the right thing when it […]

Dec. 3, 2009

U.S. Seen as Less Important, China as More Powerful

The general public and members of the Council on Foreign Relations are apprehensive and uncertain about America’s place in the world. Growing numbers in both groups see the United States playing a less important role globally, while acknowledging the increasing stature of China. And the general public, which is in a decidedly inward-looking frame […]

Dec. 1, 2009

GOP Seen as Friendlier to Religion than Democrats

More Americans continue to view the Republican Party as friendly toward religion (48%) than rate the Democratic Party that way (29%). President Barack Obama’s administration, however, is seen as friendly toward religion by more people (37%) than the Democratic Party as a whole. And all three get higher ratings for friendliness toward religion than […]

Nov. 19, 2009

Abortion Plays Small Role in Health Reform Opposition

While most Americans oppose government funding of abortion, a new Pew Research Center survey finds that concern about abortion funding plays only a small role in driving opposition to the health care reform legislation under consideration by Congress. When health care opponents are asked in an open-ended question to describe their main reason for […]

Nov. 18, 2009

Modest Rise in Concern About Islamic Extremism

The public continues to express concern about the rise of Islamic extremism in the United States and abroad, but a survey taken shortly after the deadly Nov. 5 shootings at the Fort Hood Army base shows only a modest increase in these concerns since 2007. Just more than half (52%) of Americans say they […]

Nov. 16, 2009

Faith-Based Programs Still Popular, Less Visible

More than eight years after former President George W. Bush unveiled his faith-based initiative to make it easier for religious groups to receive government funding to provide social services, the policy continues to draw broad public support. But as was the case when Bush first announced the initiative, many Americans express concerns about blurring […]

Nov. 11, 2009

A Year Out, Widespread Anti-Incumbent Sentiment

The mood of America is glum. Two-thirds of the public is dissatisfied with the way things are going in the country. Fully nine-in-ten say that national economic conditions are only fair or poor, and nearly two-thirds describe their own finances that way – the most since the summer of 1992. An increasing proportion of […]

Oct. 22, 2009

Fewer Americans See Solid Evidence of Global Warming

There has been a sharp decline over the past year in the percentage of Americans who say there is solid evidence that global temperatures are rising. And fewer also see global warming as a very serious problem – 35% say that today, down from 44% in April 2008. The latest national survey by the […]

Oct. 14, 2009

Well Known:Public Option, Sonia Sotomayor Little Known: Cap and Trade, Max Baucus

The U.S. government has a lot on its plate right now, which means that the American public has a lot to keep up with in the news. The Pew Research Center’s latest News IQ Quiz finds a mixed picture of public awareness on key issues, with majorities aware of some key facts on health […]

Oct. 9, 2009

Majority Continues to Support Civil Unions

A clear majority of Americans (57%) favors allowing gay and lesbian couples to enter into legal agreements with each other that would give them many of the same rights as married couples, a status commonly known as civil unions. This finding marks a slight uptick in support for civil unions and appears to continue […]

Oct. 8, 2009

Mixed Views of Economic Policies and Health Care Reform Persist

Public opinion is conflicted regarding the two major domestic issues of the day – the economy and health care reform. On the economy, most Americans remain optimistic that Barack Obama’s policies will help, but the public expresses mixed views of the steps he has taken so far and sees no clear signs of recovery […]

Oct. 6, 2009

Most Would Use Force to Stop Iranian Nukes

The public approves of direct negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program, although most Americans are not hopeful the talks will succeed. And a strong majority – 61% – says that it is more important to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, even if it means taking military action. Far fewer (24%) say it […]

Oct. 1, 2009

Support For Abortion Slips

Polls conducted in 2009 have found fewer Americans expressing support for abortion than in previous years. In Pew Research Center polls in 2007 and 2008, supporters of legal abortion clearly outnumbered opponents; now Americans are evenly divided on the question, and there have been modest increases in the numbers who favor reducing abortions or […]

Sep. 22, 2009

Public Support for Afghan Mission Slips

Public support for keeping U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan has declined since June and Americans express decidedly mixed views about whether the United States is making progress in reducing civilian casualties, defeating the Taliban militarily and establishing democracy in Afghanistan. Nonetheless, a sizable majority of the public (76%) views the possibility of the […]

Sep. 17, 2009

Obama Approval Ratings Steady, Personal Image Remains Positive

Following his nationally televised address to Congress, opinion of President Barack Obama has taken a more favorable turn. Obama’s job approval ratings, which had declined in the summer, have remained essentially unchanged over the past month. And the balance of opinion regarding the health care reform proposals before Congress has become a bit more […]

Sep. 13, 2009

Press Accuracy Rating Hits Two Decade Low

The public’s assessment of the accuracy of news stories is now at its lowest level in more than two decades of Pew Research surveys, and Americans’ views of media bias and independence now match previous lows. Just 29% of Americans say that news organizations generally get the facts straight, while 63% say that news […]

Sep. 9, 2009

Muslims Widely Seen As Facing Discrimination

Eight years after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, Americans see Muslims as facing more discrimination inside the U.S. than other major religious groups. Nearly six-in-ten adults (58%) say that Muslims are subject to a lot of discrimination, far more than say the same about Jews, evangelical Christians, atheists or Mormons. In fact, of all […]

Sep. 2, 2009

Congressional Favorability at 24-Year Low

Americans are extremely displeased with Congress, and there are already some signs that this could take a toll on the Democrats in the 2010 midterm elections. Currently, 37% express a favorable opinion of Congress, while 52% hold an unfavorable view. Positive opinions of Congress have declined by 13 points since April and are now […]

Aug. 19, 2009

More See White House and GOP Leaders at Odds

Americans are in an increasingly sour mood about Washington. Barack Obama’s approval ratings continue to inch downward and a growing proportion of Americans (63%) think that the president and Republican leaders are not working together to deal with important issues facing the nation; in June, 50% said the two sides were not cooperating. While […]