Apr. 12, 2011

The Deficit Debate – Where the Public Stands

With the initial skirmishing over this year’s budget now settled, President Obama and Congress are preparing for the main event – figuring out how to make substantial inroads on the country’s $1.5 trillion deficit.  In a number of surveys over the past several months, the Pew Research Center has shown where the public stands on the […]

Apr. 11, 2011

Budget Negotiations in a Word – “Ridiculous”

The public has an overwhelmingly negative reaction to the budget negotiations that narrowly avoided a government shutdown. A weekend survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press and the Washington Post finds that “ridiculous” is the word used most frequently to describe the budget negotiations, followed by “disgusting,” “frustrating,” “messy,” […]

Apr. 7, 2011

Section 1: Views of Obama

Currently, 47% approve of the way Obama is handling his job as president while 45% disapprove. Opinions about Obama’s job performance continue to be deeply divided along partisan lines: 80% of Democrats approve of the way he is handling his job while 16% disapprove. Republicans’ views are the reverse – 16% approve and 81% disapprove. […]

Mar. 16, 2011

Republicans Are Losing Ground on the Deficit, But Obama’s Not Gaining

As the budget debate moves into a crucial phase, far fewer Americans say that Republicans in Congress have the better approach to the budget deficit than did so in November, shortly after the GOP’s sweeping election victories. The GOP has lost ground on the deficit among political independents and, surprisingly, among key elements of […]

Feb. 10, 2011

Section 3: The Deficit and Government Spending

Overall, the public is divided over whether it is more important for the federal government to reduce the budget deficit or spend to help the economy recover. About half (49%) say that reducing the budget deficit should be the federal government’s higher priority, while nearly as many (46%) say the priority should be spending to […]

Jan. 20, 2011

Section 1: Public’s Policy Priorities

A decade ago, in January 2001, the public’s policy agenda was very different. Then as now, strengthening the economy ranked at the top, but it was followed closely by improving education, reducing crime, and securing Social Security and Medicare. Improving the job situation ranked eighth among 11 policy priorities listed. Today, the economy and jobs […]

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. […]

Jul. 19, 2010

Gov’t Economic Policies Seen as Boon for Banks and Big Business, Not Middle Class or Poor

The public sees clear winners and losers from the economic policies the government has implemented since the recession of 2008. Most Americans say these policies have helped large banks, large corporations and the wealthy, while providing little or no help for the poor, the middle class or small businesses. Fully 74% say that government […]

Mar. 10, 2010

Deficit Concerns Rise, But Solutions Are Elusive

Jan. 25, 2010

Public’s Priorities for 2010: Economy, Jobs, Terrorism

Summary of Findings As Barack Obama begins his second year in office, the public’s priorities for the president and Congress remain much as they were one year ago. Strengthening the nation’s economy and improving the job situation continue to top the list. And, in the wake of the failed Christmas Day terrorist attack on a […]

Jul. 30, 2009

Section 3: Priority Remains on Spending, Not Deficit

Despite President Obama’s falling ratings for dealing with the budget deficit, it is not clear that the public’s deficit concerns are uniformly resolute. When asked to think about budget tradeoffs, most Americans continue to place a higher priority on increased federal spending for health care, education and economic recovery than on reducing the budget deficit. […]

Jun. 24, 2009

Pollwatch: Comparing the Polls on Spending and the Deficit

Mar. 16, 2009

Section 2: The Policy Agenda

A month after President Obama signed the economic stimulus bill, most Americans (56%) express a positive view of the nearly $800 billion package. Slightly more than a third (35%) says the legislation is a bad idea. In early February, the Pew Research Center asked a similar question only of those who said they had heard […]

Jan. 22, 2009

Economy, Jobs Trump All Other Policy Priorities In 2009

As Barack Obama takes office, the public’s focus is overwhelmingly on domestic policy concerns – particularly the economy. Strengthening the nation’s economy and improving the job situation stand at the top of the public’s list of domestic priorities for 2009. Meanwhile, the priority placed on issues such as the environment, crime, illegal immigration and […]

Mar. 14, 2006

Do Deficits Matter Anymore? Apparently Not to the Public

Jan. 24, 2006

Economy Now Seen Through Partisan Prism

Summary of Findings As President Bush prepares for his Jan. 31 State of the Union address, the public remains skeptical that the economy is improving, in spite of recent positive signals. Overall, about a third of Americans (34%) rate economic conditions as excellent or good, while nearly twice that number say they are fair or […]

Oct. 19, 2005

Katrina Relief Effort Raises Concern Over Excessive Spending, Waste

Summary of Findings The public overwhelmingly supports the Hurricane Katrina rebuilding aid already approved by Congress. Going forward, however, as many Americans worry that the government will spend too much on hurricane relief as say it will spend too little. And while Katrina’s potential impact on the budget has become a major issue in Washington, […]

May. 10, 2005

Part 6: Issues and Shifting Coalitions

The extensive divisions within the two parties over fundamental political values are mirrored in disagreements over contemporary issues. Economic issues tend to divide Republican typology groups, while social issues split the Democrats. On many national security issues, especially the war in Iraq, internal partisan fissures are overshadowed by the vast gulf dividing Republicans and Democrats. […]

Feb. 19, 2004

Additional Findings

Democrats Energized, Independents Swayed Americans continue to have mixed views about the effectiveness of the primary process as the best means of selecting nominees, but it is clear that the 2004 primaries have engaged and energized voters, particularly Democrats and independents. Perceptions of the quality of the Democratic field of candidates, as well as the […]

Jan. 15, 2004

Additional Findings and Analyses

Defense, Economy Top Concerns Economic problems and concerns about foreign affairs, including terrorism and Iraq, are viewed as the top problems facing the country. In an open-ended format, 37% volunteer such defense and security concerns as the most important problem facing the country, with Iraq and terrorism mentioned most often. About as many (35%) cite […]