Jul. 18, 2011

Public Split Evenly on Urgency of Debt Limit Debate

While administration officials project an economic catastrophe if the debt limit is not raised by Aug. 2, many Americans do not see this deadline as a major problem. Four-in-ten (40%) say that, from what they’ve read and heard, it is absolutely essential that the federal debt limit be raised by Aug. 2 to avoid […]

Jul. 11, 2011

Public Now Divided on Debt Limit Debate

As the debate over the nation’s debt and deficit continues, the public has grown more concerned that failing to raise the debt limit would force the government into default and hurt the economy. Despite this change, however, about as many Americans are concerned by the consequences of raising the nation’s debt limit as by the […]

Jul. 7, 2011

Public Wants Changes in Entitlements, Not Changes in Benefits

As policymakers at the state and national level struggle with rising entitlement costs, overwhelming numbers of Americans agree that, over the years, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid have been good for the country. But these cherished programs receive negative marks for current performance, and their finances are widely viewed as troubled. Reflecting these concerns, […]

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 […]

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, […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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, […]

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 […]

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. […]

May. 24, 2011

More Concern about Raising Debt Limit than Government Default

The public is concerned about both of the possible outcomes of the debt limit debate – raising the debt limit and failing to do so. But more say they are very concerned about the possible consequences of raising the debt limit than of not raising it. And by a 48% to 35% margin, Americans say […]

May. 9, 2011

Obama Bump Recedes a Bit

Barack Obama’s job approval rating has fallen slightly since the day after Osama bin Laden’s death was announced. But the balance of opinion regarding Obama’s job performance remains more positive than it was in early April. There also continues to be more optimism about the U.S. achieving its goals in Afghanistan than there was […]

May. 5, 2011

Why Are Gas Prices Rising? A Mix of Reasons

As gas prices soar, many Americans pin the blame on greed or a push for higher profits among oil companies, speculators and oil-producing nations. About three-in-ten (31%) offer a variation on this theme – greed, oil companies or speculation – when asked what they think is the main reason gasoline prices have gone up recently, […]

May. 4, 2011

Beyond Red vs. Blue: The Political Typology

With the economy still struggling and the nation involved in multiple military operations overseas, the public’s political mood is fractious. In this environment, many political attitudes have become more doctrinaire at both ends of the ideological spectrum, a polarization that reflects the current atmosphere in Washington. Yet at the same time, a growing number […]

May. 3, 2011

More Optimism about Afghanistan, But No Boost in Support for Troop Presence

The killing of Osama bin Laden has bolstered the public’s confidence on two fronts: that the government can prevent a possible terrorist attack, and that the U.S. will succeed in achieving its goals in Afghanistan. However, the public’s basic views about U.S. forces in Afghanistan and the threat of terrorism in the United States […]