Aug. 1, 2012

Colorado Rampage Tops News Interest for July

In the final two weeks of July, Americans kept a close watch on news about a deadly shooting rampage at a Colorado movie theater, but they also closely tracked news about two long-running stories – the condition of the nation’s economy and the 2012 presidential campaign. News about the shootings, which left 12 dead […]

Jul. 24, 2012

Most Say They Already Know Enough about the Candidates

With more than three months to go before Election Day, most voters already feel that there’s little left to learn about the presidential candidates. When it comes to Barack Obama, 90% say they already pretty much know what they need to know about him; just 8% say they need to learn more. A substantial […]

Jul. 24, 2012

Romney’s Overseas Trip a Chance to Burnish Foreign Policy Credentials

Mitt Romney’s trip to Europe and Israel this week highlights a potential weakness of his candidacy. The former Massachusetts governor trails Barack Obama by eight points among registered voters as the candidate best able to handle foreign policy and 12 points as best able to defend against terrorist attacks, according to the Pew Research Center’s […]

Jul. 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 […]

Jul. 12, 2012

Section 1: The 2012 Race, Issue Strengths, Views of the Parties

The general election contest between Obama and Romney has changed little over the past few months. Currently, 50% of registered voters support Obama or lean more toward him, while 43% back Romney or lean toward him. In June (June 7-17), Obama held a slight four-point edge (50% to 46%) and in May, Obama led 49% […]

Jul. 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 […]

Jul. 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 […]

Jun. 21, 2012

Section 1: Campaign Interest and Engagement

Voter engagement in this year’s presidential election is lower than in 2008, but on par with, or higher than, levels at a similar point in the previous four election cycles. Two-thirds (67%) of registered voters say they are giving quite a lot of thought to the election. This is down somewhat from 2008 (72%), but […]

Jun. 21, 2012

Section 2: Assessing Obama and Romney’s Support

  All indications suggest that the 2012 vote will be a very close one. Barack Obama has never trailed Romney in head-to-head matchups with Romney over the past nine months. Obama currently holds a four-point advantage (50% to 46%) among all registered voters, which is not statistically significant. And if the higher engagement and interest […]

Jun. 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 […]

Jun. 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. […]

Apr. 17, 2012

Section 2: Issues of the 2012 Campaign

Fully 86% of registered voters say that the economy will be very important to their vote in the fall; 84% say that jobs will be very important. Both issues have ranked at or near the top of voters’ priorities in campaigns dating back to 2004. The federal budget deficit is now viewed as more important […]

Apr. 17, 2012

Section 1: General Election Preferences

As the general election campaign gets underway, Obama’s slim 49% to 45% edge over Mitt Romney is based on his continued support among women, college graduates, blacks, Latinos and lower-income voters. Obama leads Romney by 13 points among women, which is identical to his victory margin over McCain among women four years ago, according to […]

Apr. 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 […]

Apr. 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 […]

Apr. 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, […]

Mar. 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 […]

Mar. 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 […]

Mar. 14, 2012

Section 2: The General Election

With rising job approval and favorability ratings, Barack Obama also holds a growing advantage in voter preferences as they look toward November. Among registered voters, he currently leads Mitt Romney by 12 points and Rick Santorum by 18 points. The difference between Romney and Santorum at the head of the GOP ticket mainly affects independents. […]

Mar. 14, 2012

Section 1: The GOP Primary

Mitt Romney has regained the lead in the support for his party’s presidential nomination, as conservative backing for Rick Santorum has declined. Romney currently holds a 33% to 24% lead over Santorum among registered Republican and Republican-leaning independent voters, with 20% backing Newt Gingrich and 14% favoring Ron Paul. In mid-February, Santorum was tied with […]