Aug. 21, 2012

Medicare Voucher Plan Remains Unpopular

Paul Ryan’s selection to the Republican ticket has put the issue of Medicare squarely on the 2012 campaign agenda. And the latest Pew Research Center survey continues to find the public is aware of a proposal to gradually shift Medicare to a system of vouchers and is, on balance, more opposed than supportive of […]

Aug. 13, 2012

Older Americans Have Been Highly Resistant to Medicare Changes

Older Americans are wary of changes to Medicare. Compared with younger people, they are more positive about the way the program operates, less apt to think that changes are needed and far less disposed towards Paul Ryan’s proposal to reshape Medicare. A Pew Research survey in May of 2011 found that those 65 and older […]

Jun. 14, 2012

Debt and Deficit: A Public Opinion Dilemma

The issue of the debt and the deficit – and what to do about it – has paralyzed Washington lawmakers. But when it comes to measures for reducing the deficit on which they might reach common ground, they will get little help in building support for an agreement by turning to public opinion. In my […]

Jun. 4, 2012

Section 4: Values About Government and the Social Safety Net

Americans have long been skeptical of the federal government and suspicious of elected representatives as a whole. Roughly eight-in-ten (81%) say elected officials in Washington lose touch with the people pretty quickly, and 62% say “most elected officials don’t care what people like me think.” Just 41% of Americans now say the government is really […]

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. […]

Nov. 3, 2011

The Generation Gap and the 2012 Election

In the last four national elections, generational differences have mattered more than they have in decades. According to the exit polls, younger people have voted substantially more Democratic than other age groups in each election since 2004, while older voters have cast more ballots for Republican candidates in each election since 2006. The latest […]

Nov. 3, 2011

Section 6: Generations and Entitlements

The policy debates over Social Security and Medicare are potentially cross-cutting issues for older generations. Silents, as well as many Boomers, place a high priority on these issues politically and are generally more resistant to major changes or reforms than are younger Americans. As a result, while Silents favor the GOP by wide margins on […]

Jul. 7, 2011

Section 2: Entitlements vs. Deficit Reduction

Despite rising public concern about the federal budget deficit, Americans favor keeping Social Security and Medicare benefits as they are rather than taking steps to reduce the budget deficit (by 60% vs. 32%). Republicans are twice as likely as Democrats to say deficit reduction is the higher priority (42% vs. 21%), yet even among Republicans […]

Jul. 7, 2011

Section 3: Views of Medicare

Nearly nine-in-ten (88%) give Medicare positive marks for its contributions to the country over the years, and these positive assessments cross party lines. There also is general agreement over the job Medicare does serving the people it covers (41% of Americans say it does an excellent or good job), and its financial shape (just 18% […]

Jul. 7, 2011

Section 4: Views of Medicaid

In contrast to opinions about Medicare and Social Security, there are clear partisan differences in assessments of Medicaid. About three-quarters of the public (77%) say the program has been good for the country, but that percentage rises to 91% of Democrats and falls to 68% of Republicans; 75% of independents say it has been good […]

Jul. 7, 2011

Section 5: Views of Social Security

As with Medicare, an overwhelming majority (87%) says that Social Security has been good for the country. At the same time, however, just 39% say it does an excellent or good job serving the people it covers and only 18% say the program is in excellent or good financial condition. There is little variation in […]

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. 7, 2011

Section 1: Impressions of Entitlement Programs

Majorities say that Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security need to be completely rebuilt or undergo major changes. However, even larger numbers say that other systems and policies are in need of major changes. Two-thirds (67%) say that immigration policy needs to be completely rebuilt (24%) or undergo major changes (43%). Nearly as many say the […]

Dec. 9, 2010

Deficit Solutions Meet With Public Skepticism

In many respects, there is a broad public consensus when it comes to the federal budget deficit: seven-in-ten say it is a major problem that must be addressed right away, and roughly two-thirds say that the best way to reduce the deficit is through a combination of cutting major government programs and increasing taxes. […]

Mar. 22, 2007

Trends in Political Values and Core Attitudes: 1987-2007

Summary of Findings Increased public support for the social safety net, signs of growing public concern about income inequality, and a diminished appetite for assertive national security policies have improved the political landscape for the Democrats as the 2008 presidential campaign gets underway. At the same time, many of the key trends that nurtured the […]

Jan. 24, 2005

Politics and Values in a 51%-48% Nation

Summary of Findings This report is an excerpt from chapter one of the book Trends 2005, produced by the Pew Research Center. Public attitudes on national security are now much more strongly associated with partisan affiliation than they were in the late 1990s. A comprehensive study of long-term public values finds that beliefs about national […]

Jan. 17, 1997

The Optimism Gap Grows

Introduction and Summary As 1996 drew to a close Americans were evaluating their lives much the way they have over the past four decades during good economic times. Most feel they have made personal progress over the past five years, and most are optimistic about the future. Financial stability, good health and a strong family […]