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. […]

PublicationsFebruary 16, 2012

Public More Optimistic about Economy, But Concerns Persist

Optimism about the national economy, which sagged in 2011, has rebounded in the first two months of this year. Currently, 44% say they expect economic conditions to be better a year from now, up from 34% last month and 28% in December. Moreover, 54% say either that the economy is already recovering (25%) or […]

Featured ReportJune 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 […]

CommentaryMay 11, 2011

Bush Lost Battle Over the Surplus, But Won Tax Cut War

A decade ago, Washington grappled with a problem that seems unreal in today’s economic climate – what to do with the budget surplus? In 2000, George W. Bush had campaigned on a pledge to return part of the surplus to taxpayers in the form of an across-the-board tax cut. Bush’s opponent, Al Gore, countered with […]

PublicationsDecember 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 […]

PublicationsAugust 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 […]

PublicationsJune 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 […]

Multi-section ReportsFebruary 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 […]

PublicationsJanuary 7, 2009

Gains Seen On Minority Discrimination – But Little Else

As Barack Obama prepares to take office, majorities say the country is losing ground on any number of key issues, particularly economic ones. Nearly eight-in-ten (79%) say the country is falling further behind on the federal budget deficit, far more than said that during the mid-1990s when the deficit was a top-tier policy issue. […]

Multi-section ReportsDecember 11, 2008

Psychology of Bad Times Fueling Consumer Cutbacks

Americans continue to render extremely bleak assessments of economic conditions, both with respect to the national economy and their own financial situations. Fully 92% of the public rates the national economy as only fair or poor, and a substantial majority (61%) judges their personal finances that way. Both measures are among the most negative […]

Multi-section ReportsOctober 15, 2008

Public Not Desperate About Economy or Personal Finances

Americans are concerned about the nation’s economic problems almost to the exclusion of every other issue, and they register the lowest level of national satisfaction ever measured in a Pew Research Center survey. Just 11% say they are satisfied with the way things are going in the country – down 14 points in the […]

PublicationsJuly 31, 2008

Inflation Staggers Public, Economy Still Seen as Fixable

The public continues to be extremely downbeat about the national economy. Just 10% say the economy is in good shape, while 72% say the economy is either in a recession (54%) or a depression (18%). On a personal level, concerns about rising prices have surged. Beyond widespread anxiety about energy costs, a growing number […]

PublicationsOctober 11, 2007

Nation’s Real Estate Slump Hits Wealthy Areas

Summary of Findings Public assessments of the nation’s economy have fallen to a two-year low, and the nation’s economic outlook remains relatively gloomy. In particular, faced with a steady stream of negative news about the U.S. housing market, Americans are substantially less inclined than they were even a few months ago to say they expect […]

PublicationsSeptember 15, 2005

Economic Pessimism Grows, Gas Prices Pinch

Summary of Findings A summer’s worth of bad news, culminating with Hurricane Katrina, has taken a toll on the public’s mood, particularly when it comes to views of the economy and energy costs. The public’s economic expectations, while hardly robust in the spring, have grown much more negative. Nearly four-in-ten (37%) think economic conditions will […]

PublicationsJune 1, 2005

Economic Concerns Fueled by Many Woes

Summary of Findings The public continues to be wary in its assessments of the health of the U.S. economy, despite recent improvement in some key economic indicators. Only about one-in-three Americans think the national economy is in good shape, and optimism about the future is markedly lower than it has been over the past three […]

PublicationsAugust 12, 2004

Public Faults Bush on Economy – 55% Say Jobs are Scarce

Summary of Findings With three months to go until the presidential election, the American public remains largely dissatisfied with economic conditions and with President Bush’s stewardship of the economy. Two-thirds rate the national economy as “only fair” or “poor,” while just one-third judge it to be “excellent” or “good.” Accordingly, Bush gets low ratings for […]

PublicationsMay 7, 2003

Americans More Optimistic About Economy, But Not Bush Tax Cut

Summary of Findings With the war in Iraq over, Americans are feeling more optimistic about a turnaround in the national economy, and a greater number than at the beginning of the year think that President Bush is doing as much as he can to improve economic conditions. But the president’s tax cut proposal continues to […]

PublicationsJanuary 23, 2003

Bush Confronts State of Economic Unease

Summary of Findings As President Bush prepares for his Jan. 28 State of the Union address, the public’s mood is more subdued that it was a year ago, especially regarding the nation’s struggling economy. Just three-in-ten say they expect economic conditions to improve over the next 12 months, a significant decline from last January when […]

CommentaryJuly 15, 2002

Growing Linkage Between Market Movements and Consumer Confidence

A Pew Research Center Note

CommentaryJuly 14, 2002

Increasingly, It’s the Economy That Scares Us

by Andrew Kohut for The New York Times