Aug. 11, 2009

Budget Woes Take Toll on Views of State Governments

With the economy wreaking havoc on state budgets, the favorability ratings of state governments have declined from a year ago. Overall, 50% of the public now holds a favorable opinion of their state government, down from 59% in April 2008. The falloff in positive views has been greater in states with large and moderate […]

Jul. 30, 2009

Obama’s Ratings Slide Across the Board

Barack Obama’s approval ratings have suffered major declines. The president’s overall job approval number fell from 61% in mid-June to 54% currently. His approval ratings for handling the economy and the federal budget deficit have also fallen sharply, tumbling to 38% and 32%, respectively. Majorities now say they disapprove of the way the president […]

Jul. 9, 2009

Public Praises Science; Scientists Fault Public, Media

Americans like science. Overwhelming majorities say that science has had a positive effect on society and that science has made life easier for most people. Most also say that government investments in science, as well as engineering and technology, pay off in the long run. And scientists are very highly rated compared with members […]

Jun. 24, 2009

Romney’s Image Improves; Palin Well Regarded by Republican Base

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney has seen his favorability ratings improve and now enjoys a positive balance of opinion among the general public: 40% rate him favorably, 28% unfavorably. This marks a reversal of opinion from February 2008, during the latter stages of the GOP primary campaign, when just 30% viewed him favorably and […]

Jun. 19, 2009

Public More Optimistic About the Economy, But Still Reluctant to Spend

The public is increasingly optimistic that the nation’s economy will improve in the next year, while a growing number also expect their personal finances to get better. But this has not caused people to open their wallets: The proportion saying they have cut back on personal spending remains as high as it was earlier […]

Jun. 18, 2009

Obama’s Ratings Remain High Despite Some Policy Concerns

A solid majority of Americans (61%) continue to approve of Barack Obama’s job performance, although they express mixed views of several of his policies. An important positive sign for Obama is the public’s continued optimism that his policies will improve the economy – fully 65% express this view. A smaller majority (55%) is optimistic […]

May. 21, 2009

Independents Take Center Stage in Obama Era

Centrism has emerged as a dominant factor in public opinion as the Obama era begins. The political values and core attitudes that the Pew Research Center has monitored since 1987 show little overall ideological movement. Republicans and Democrats are even more divided than in the past, while the growing political middle is steadfastly mixed […]

Apr. 30, 2009

Public Takes Conservative Turn on Gun Control, Abortion

Public attitudes on a pair of contentious national issues – gun control and abortion – have moved in a more conservative direction over the past year. In both cases, the changes have been driven in part by relatively large shifts among men, while opinions among women have not changed very much. For the first […]

Apr. 28, 2009

Support for Free Trade Recovers Despite Recession

Despite the economic recession, public support for free trade agreements has recovered after declining a year ago. Currently, 44% say that free trade agreements like NAFTA and the policies of the World Trade Organization are good for the country, up from 35% a year ago. Slightly more than a third (35%) say that such […]

Apr. 23, 2009

Obama at 100 Days: Strong Job Approval, Even Higher Personal Ratings

As he approaches the 100-day mark of his presidency, Barack Obama’s job approval ratings are higher than those of his most recent predecessors. However, the 44th president is even more distinguished by his strong personal popularity. Fully 73% of Americans – including as many as 46% of Republicans – hold a favorable view of […]

Apr. 23, 2009

Public Remains Divided Over Use of Torture

Amid intense debate over the use of torture against suspected terrorists, public opinion about this issue remains fairly stable. Currently, nearly half say the use of torture under such circumstances is often (15%) or sometimes (34%) justified; about the same proportion believes that the torture of suspected terrorists is rarely (22%) or never (25%) […]

Apr. 8, 2009

Partisan Bickering Is Back, Says Public

Shortly before President Obama took office in January, the public was uncharacteristically optimistic that Republicans and Democrats would work together more to solve problems in the year ahead. Less than three months later, those expectations have faded and most see a return to partisan politics in Washington. A majority (53%) currently says that Republicans […]

Apr. 2, 2009

Public Knows Basic Facts About Financial Crisis

The latest Pew Research Center News IQ survey finds the American public reasonably well-informed about a number of basic facts pertaining to the current economic situation. Fully 83% know that the government assistance to banks and other financial institutions is aimed at getting them to lend more money, not less money. Roughly seven-in-ten (71%) […]

Mar. 25, 2009

Americans Favor Carbon Cap, Gays in the Military and Renewing U.S.-Cuba Ties

Washington’s policy agenda has been dominated by the economy and financial crisis during President Obama’s first two months in office. Yet a number of other policy proposals are currently being considered or may emerge in the future. The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted March […]

Mar. 19, 2009

Support For Health Care Overhaul, But It’s Not 1993

Most Americans believe that the nation’s health care system is in need of substantial changes. But there is less support for completely rebuilding the health care system than there was in April 1993, during the early stage of the Clinton administration’s unsuccessful effort to revamp health care. Still, the public continues to favor the […]

Mar. 16, 2009

Obama’s Approval Rating Slips Amid Division Over Economic Proposals

President Barack Obama’s approval rating has slipped, as a growing number of Americans see him listening more to his party’s liberals than to its moderates and many voice opposition to some of his key economic proposals. Obama’s job approval rating has slipped from 64% in February to 59% currently, while disapproval has jumped from […]

Feb. 18, 2009

Obama Faces Familiar Divisions Over Anti-Terror Policies

President Obama receives positive ratings for his handling of terrorism and most Americans say his administration’s policies will reduce the likelihood of another major attack on the United States. But as in recent years, the public remains deeply divided over how best to defend the nation against the threat of terrorism. Americans approve of […]

Feb. 12, 2009

As Jobs Crisis Spreads, Worries Climb the Economic Ladder

For the public, the continuing financial crisis has been overtaken by a jobs crisis. The proportion of Americans citing jobs or unemployment as the nation’s most important economic problem has more than quadrupled – from 10% to 42% – since early October and job worries now far surpass concerns over the financial crisis. People’s […]

Feb. 9, 2009

Support for Stimulus Plan Slips, But Obama Rides High

After weeks of intense debate over President Obama’s economic stimulus plan, a narrow majority of Americans (51%) who have heard about the $800 billion plan say it is a good idea, while 34% say it is a bad idea. In January, the balance of opinion regarding the plan was more positive: 57% of those […]

Jan. 22, 2009

Economy, Jobs Trump All Other Policy Priorities In 2009

As Barack Obama takes office, the public’s focus is overwhelmingly on domestic policy concerns – particularly the economy. Strengthening the nation’s economy and improving the job situation stand at the top of the public’s list of domestic priorities for 2009. Meanwhile, the priority placed on issues such as the environment, crime, illegal immigration and […]