Oct. 12, 2012

Deep Divisions over Debt Reduction Proposals

Public concern over the debt and deficit, already extensive, is only likely to increase as the so-called “fiscal cliff” approaches at the end of the year. Yet among a dozen specific options for reducing the debt and deficit, only two win majority approval from the public – raising taxes on annual incomes over $250,000 […]

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 […]

Jun. 21, 2012

Section 4: Views of the National Economy

Amid a tepid economic recovery, evaluations of national economic conditions remain broadly negative. And the percentage expecting conditions to improve over the next year has fallen, after reaching a recent high in March. Meanwhile, opinions about the government’s economic policy priorities remain deadlocked: 48% place higher priority on spending to help the economy recover while […]

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 […]

Jan. 23, 2012

Section 1: The Public’s Policy Priorities

With the nation’s economy still struggling and unemployment still high, economic concerns continue to top the public’s policy agenda for President Obama and Congress. More than eight-in-ten cite strengthening the economy (86%) and improving the job situation (82%) as top priorities. These numbers have fluctuated only slightly since the start of 2009. Nearly seven-in-ten (69%) […]

Dec. 15, 2011

Frustration with Congress Could Hurt Republican Incumbents

Public discontent with Congress has reached record levels, and the implications for incumbents in next year’s elections could be stark. Two-in-three voters say most members of Congress should be voted out of office in 2012 – the highest on record. And the number who say their own member should be replaced matches the all-time […]

Dec. 15, 2011

Section 3: Views of National Economy, Major Economic Threats

The vast majority of Americans rate U.S. economic conditions as only fair (38%) or poor (53%) and most expect more of the same – or worse – over the course of the next year. Half (50%) expect the economy to be unchanged a year from now, while 18% expect things to get worse. Just 28% […]

Nov. 17, 2011

Obama Job Approval Improves, GOP Contest Remains Fluid

With much of the recent political focus on the ever-changing Republican presidential nomination race, Barack Obama’s job rating has improved modestly over the past month. And a majority of Americans continue to hold a favorable personal opinion of Obama. This is not the case for his main GOP rivals, whom he mostly bests in […]

Nov. 17, 2011

Section 3: The Deficit and the Super Committee

As the Nov. 23 deadline approaches for the congressional “super committee” to offer a deficit reduction proposal, the public continues to rank the budget deficit second to the job situation among its top national economic concerns. At the same time, 62% of Americans say the best approach to deficit reduction would include both spending cuts […]

Sep. 26, 2011

Obama Draws More Confidence than GOP Leaders on Deficit

As the nation prepares for another round of deficit reduction debates, the public’s confidence in congressional leaders, particularly Republican leaders in Congress, has plummeted. Just 35% say they have a great deal or fair amount of confidence in Republican leaders in Congress to do the right thing when it comes to dealing with the […]

Sep. 8, 2011

Jobs vs. Deficit — Where the Public Stands

When President Obama goes before a joint session of Congress on Thursday to lay out a plan for spurring jobs creation, one of the political and policy dynamics at work will be the tension that animated the debate in Washington all this year:  the push to reduce federal spending and the government’s deficit competing against […]

Aug. 1, 2011

Public Sees Budget Negotiations as “Ridiculous”, “Disgusting”, “Stupid”

From liberal Democrats to Tea Party Republicans, there is broad public consensus that the budget negotiations of recent weeks can be summed up in words such as ridiculous, disgusting, stupid, and frustrating. Nationwide, 72% describe the recent negotiations in negative terms such as these; while very few offer a positive (2%), or even neutral (11%), […]

Jul. 26, 2011

Section 2: The Debt and Deficit Debate

A week ahead of the Aug. 2 debt-ceiling deadline, the public overwhelmingly wants political leaders in Washington to compromise on the issue. About two-thirds (68%) say that lawmakers who share their views should be willing to compromise, even if it means striking a deal they disagree with. Only 23% say lawmakers who share their views […]

Jul. 26, 2011

Public Wants a Debt Ceiling Compromise, Expects a Deal Before Deadline

The public overwhelmingly favors a compromise in the debt ceiling standoff. And even as negotiations aimed at resolving the issue show little progress, a majority thinks that Barack Obama and congressional Republicans will reach a deal before the Aug. 2 deadline on a possible government default. Fully 68% say that lawmakers who share their […]

Jul. 18, 2011

Obama Draws More Confidence than Boehner, McConnell or Cantor on Debt Ceiling

The public expresses far more confidence in President Obama than it does in congressional leaders of both parties when it comes to the debate over the debt ceiling. Nonetheless, only about half of Americans (48%) have even a fair amount of confidence in Obama to do the right thing when it comes to dealing with […]

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

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 […]

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 […]

May. 4, 2011

Section 7: The Budget Deficit, Taxes, Spending and Entitlements

With Republicans winning a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives on a wave of anti-government sentiment, the political focus in Washington has turned to government spending and deficit reduction. Yet while most Americans agree that deficit reduction should be a top priority this year, it is not universally seen as the most pressing economic […]

Apr. 26, 2011

Deficit: More Concern, Less Optimism

The public increasingly views the federal budget deficit as a major problem the country must address now. But fewer predict the country will achieve significant progress in reducing the deficit in five years than did so in December. A new survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press and The Washington […]