Featured ReportJuly 12, 2012

Obama Holds Lead; Romney Trails on Most Issues

Despite the stagnant economy and broad dissatisfaction with national conditions, Barack Obama holds a significant lead over Mitt Romney. Currently, Obama is favored by a 50% to 43% margin among registered voters nationwide. Obama has led by at least a slim margin in every poll this year, and there is no clear trend in […]

PublicationsJuly 5, 2012

Partisans Agree: Presidential Election Will Be Exhausting

Republicans and Democrats find little to agree on these days, but they have some similar reactions to the 2012 presidential campaign. Nearly identical percentages of Republicans and Democrats say the election will be exhausting. On the positive side, there also is widespread partisan agreement that the campaign will be informative. The national survey by […]

CommentaryJuly 3, 2012

PBS NewsHour’s Jim Lehrer and Pew Research Center President Andrew Kohut Discuss the 2012 Election

  On Monday, July 2, retiring “PBS NewsHour” anchor Jim Lehrer interviewed Pew Research Center President Andrew Kohut at the Chautauqua Institution’s Morning Lecture Series, titled, “The Lehrer Report: What Informed Voters Need to Know.” The discussion was part of the New York institution’s annual summer event held before an audience of 3,500. Lehrer and Kohut discussed the […]

Featured ReportJune 21, 2012

GOP Holds Early Turnout Edge, But Little Enthusiasm for Romney

Less than five months before Election Day, voters are not as engaged with the presidential campaign as they were at this point four years ago, when interest in the campaign reached record levels. But voter engagement today generally equals or surpasses levels from the four campaigns prior to 2008, indicating that 2012 could be […]

Multi-section ReportsJune 4, 2012

Partisan Polarization Surges in Bush, Obama Years

As Americans head to the polls this November, their values and basic beliefs are more polarized along partisan lines than at any point in the past 25 years. Unlike in 1987, when this series of surveys began, the values gap between Republicans and Democrats is now greater than gender, age, race or class divides. […]

Multi-section ReportsApril 17, 2012

With Voters Focused on Economy, Obama Lead Narrows

With voters continuing to focus on economic issues, Barack Obama holds a slim 49% to 45% advantage over Mitt Romney in the latest Pew Research Center survey of nearly 2,400 registered voters nationwide. Obama’s lead has narrowed since last month, when he had a 12-point advantage, though it is comparable to margins from earlier […]

CommentaryApril 16, 2012

Obama vs. Romney: Which One Can Defy Political History to Win?

With the focus now fully on the campaign between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, commentary about the issues, the voting blocs and the strategies of the two campaigns dominates political discourse. But having polled on the last 10 presidential elections, I’m struck by a meta-question about each candidate’s viability that may trump all else. Obama […]

Featured ReportApril 9, 2012

74% of Republicans Say Romney ’Definitely’ the Nominee

Following primary victories in Wisconsin, Maryland and the District of Columbia last Tuesday, Mitt Romney is clearly seen as the inevitable GOP nominee, and Republicans now see continued primaries as bad for the party. In the latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, conducted April 5-8, 2012, […]

CommentaryMarch 29, 2012

The Gender Gap: Three Decades Old, as Wide as Ever

The gender gap in presidential politics is not new. Democratic candidates have gotten more support from women than men for more than 30 years. Even so, Barack Obama’s advantages among women voters over his GOP rivals are striking. In the Pew Research Center’s most recent national survey, conducted March 7-11, Obama led Mitt Romney by […]

Pew Research/Washington Post SurveysMarch 22, 2012

Top One-Word Reactions to GOP Candidates

When Americans are asked what one word comes to mind when thinking about Mitt Romney, no single term stands out. The most frequent responses are “no” or “no way,” and “rich.” That represents a shift from October and December 2011. In both of those surveys, far more mentioned the Republican presidential candidate’s Mormon faith than […]

Featured ReportMarch 14, 2012

Romney Leads GOP Contest, Trails in Matchup with Obama

Mitt Romney has retaken a significant lead nationally in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, even as he has fallen further behind Barack Obama in a general election matchup. Moreover, Obama’s own job approval rating has reached 50% for the first time since last May, shortly after the killing of Osama bin Laden. […]

Featured ReportMarch 5, 2012

GOP Race Is Rallying Democrats

The Republican nomination battle is rallying Democrats behind Barack Obama. Currently, 49% of Democrats say that as they learn more about the GOP candidates, their impression of Obama is getting better. Just 36% of Democrats expressed this view in December, before the Republican primaries began. In contrast, there has been virtually no change in Republicans’ […]

PublicationsFebruary 13, 2012

Santorum Catches Romney in GOP Race

Rick Santorum’s support among Tea Party Republicans and white evangelicals is surging, and he now has pulled into a virtual tie with Mitt Romney in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. In polling conducted Feb. 8-12, 30% of Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters favor Santorum while 28% favor Romney. As recently as a […]

Multi-section ReportsFebruary 7, 2012

Cable Leads the Pack as Campaign News Source

With a contested primary in only one party this year, fewer Americans are closely following news about the presidential campaign than four years ago. As a consequence, long-term declines in the number of people getting campaign news from such sources as local TV and network news have steepened, and even the number gathering campaign […]

Featured ReportJanuary 30, 2012

GOP Voters Continue to Give Field Subpar Ratings

Amid a bruising primary campaign, Republicans remain unimpressed with their party’s presidential field. In fact, more Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters say the GOP field is only fair or poor (52%) than did so in early January (44%). By comparison, just 46% of Republican voters have positive opinions of the GOP field, according to the […]

PublicationsJanuary 18, 2012

Unpopular Nationally, Romney Holds Solid GOP Lead

Days ahead of the South Carolina primary, Mitt Romney maintains a substantial lead nationally in the race for the GOP nomination. Yet his image among all voters has slipped since November and he runs no better in a general election matchup with Barack Obama than he did then, despite his advantage as the “electable” […]

PublicationsJanuary 17, 2012

Super PACs Having Negative Impact, Say Voters Aware of ’Citizens United’ Ruling

As campaign advertisements funded by Super PACs dominate the airwaves in the lead-up to the South Carolina primaries this Saturday, 54% of registered voters say they have heard about the 2010 Supreme Court decision that allows corporations and individuals to spend as much money as they want on political advertising as long as it […]

Pew Research/Washington Post SurveysJanuary 13, 2012

Few GOP Voters Would be Swayed by Endorsements

Political endorsements by prominent Republicans would provide little help for GOP candidates in the primaries and might be more of a liability than a benefit in a general election campaign. Most Republican and Republican-leaning voters say that candidate endorsements by leading GOP figures, including George W. Bush, Sarah Palin and John McCain, would make no […]

Featured ReportJanuary 12, 2012

Many Voters Unaware of Basic Facts about GOP Candidates

Many voters do not know basic facts about the Republican candidates running for president or the early primary calendar. While a sizable majority (69%) knows that Newt Gingrich served as speaker of the House, only about half (53%) identify Massachusetts as the state where Mitt Romney served as governor. Fewer than half of registered […]

PublicationsJanuary 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 […]