Jun. 4, 2012

Section 9: Trends in Party Affiliation

The number of political independents has continued to grow, as both parties have lost ground among the public. Based on surveys conducted this year, 38% describe themselves as independents, up from 32% in 2008 and 30% in 2004. The proportion of independents is now higher than at any point in more than two decades. Looking […]

Jun. 4, 2012

Section 1: Understanding the Partisan Divide Over American Values

Much has changed over the past 25 years – internationally, domestically and technologically. But through this period, the public’s core values have remained relatively stable. The way that the public thinks about poverty, opportunity, business, unions, religion, civic duty, foreign affairs and many other subjects is, to a large extent, the same today as in […]

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. […]

Sep. 12, 2011

More Now See GOP as Very Conservative

Though voters’ views of the ideologies of the political parties have shifted little since the summer of 2010, an increasing number see the Republican Party as very conservative, while slightly fewer see the Democratic Party as very liberal. In 2010, somewhat more, on balance, viewed the Democratic Party as very liberal than said the […]

Jul. 22, 2011

GOP Makes Big Gains among White Voters

As the country enters into the 2012 presidential election cycle, the electorate’s partisan affiliations have shifted significantly since Barack Obama won office nearly three years ago. In particular, the Democrats hold a much narrower edge than they did in 2008, particularly when the partisan leanings of independents are taken into account. Notably, the GOP […]

May. 4, 2011

Beyond Red vs. Blue: The Political Typology

With the economy still struggling and the nation involved in multiple military operations overseas, the public’s political mood is fractious. In this environment, many political attitudes have become more doctrinaire at both ends of the ideological spectrum, a polarization that reflects the current atmosphere in Washington. Yet at the same time, a growing number […]

Apr. 7, 2011

Section 3: Views of the Political Parties

The Republican Party now leads the Democrats by 12 points as the party better able to reduce the federal budget deficit: 46% say the GOP could do better compared with 34% who prefer the Democrats. A year ago, the two parties were rated about evenly on reducing the deficit (38% Republicans, 35% Democrats). On most […]

Sep. 23, 2010

Section 3: Trends in Party Affiliation

Partisan affiliation has shifted in small but important ways several times over the past two decades, with several politically consequential changes occurring the in past few years. After holding a 10-percentage point advantage in party identification among registered voters in 2008 and 2009, the Democratic Party now has only a five-point lead in 2010. Fewer […]

Sep. 23, 2010

Section 4: Independents Under the Microscope

Independents are often described as a cohesive bloc of voters, whose views consistently fall midway between those of Republicans and Democrats. Yet a closer look at independents finds a substantial degree of diversity among these voters – demographic, ideological and in their attitudes and opinions. In this survey, we identify four main groups of independent […]

Sep. 23, 2010

Independents Oppose Party in Power…Again

For the third national election in a row, independent voters may be poised to vote out the party in power. The Republican Party holds a significant edge in preferences for the upcoming congressional election among likely voters, in large part because political independents now favor Republican candidates by about as large a margin as […]

Sep. 23, 2010

Section 2: Independents in the 2010 Midterm

Among registered voters, 34% call themselves Democrats, and 28% Republicans. With virtually all partisans voting for their party’s candidates, and independent registered voters divided, the overall race is about even (47% of registered voters favor Democrats, while 44% favor Republicans). But when the sample is narrowed to likely voters, two things happen. First, high engagement […]

May. 24, 2010

Willingness to Compromise a Plus in Midterms

Many Americans say they will look less favorably this fall at congressional candidates who supported the federal bailout of major banks and financial institutions in response to the 2008 financial crisis. About half (49%) say they are less likely to vote for a candidate who supported the major government loans to banks; 14% say […]

Apr. 18, 2010

Section 1: Trust in Government 1958-2010

Public trust in the federal government in Washington is at one of its lowest levels in half a century. Just 22% of Americans say they trust the government to do what is right “just about always” (3%) or “most of the time” (19%). The current level of skepticism was matched previously only in the periods […]

Jul. 30, 2009

Section 4: Health Care Overhaul

Public Generally Opposes Health Care Proposals Public attention to the health care overhaul debate in Congress continues to grow. This week’s Pew Research Center News Interest Index survey finds that, for the first time, the health care debate in Washington is the public’s top news story. When asked specifically about the bills in Congress to […]

May. 21, 2009

Independents Take Center Stage in Obama Era

Centrism has emerged as a dominant factor in public opinion as the Obama era begins. The political values and core attitudes that the Pew Research Center has monitored since 1987 show little overall ideological movement. Republicans and Democrats are even more divided than in the past, while the growing political middle is steadfastly mixed […]

May. 21, 2009

Section 11: Growing Partisan Gaps and Centrist Independents

The 2009 political values study finds that the deep partisan fissures in values and core attitudes have continued to widen. Across 48 value questions asked consistently over the past 22 years, the average difference between the opinions of Democrats and Republicans has grown from nine percentage points as recently as 1997 to a new high […]

Feb. 28, 2008

Section 1: General Election Patterns of Support

Obama and Clinton both hold modest leads over McCain in a general election matchup; Obama has a 50% to 43% lead and Clinton holds a 50% to 45% edge. But Clinton draws more universal support among Democrats (89%) than does Obama (81%). Conversely, Obama leads McCain slightly among independents (49% to 43%), while McCain edges […]

Jan. 22, 2007

Broad Support for Political Compromise in Washington

Summary of Findings A survey conducted in association with National Public Radio A large majority of the American public thinks the country is more politically polarized than in the past, and an even greater number expresses a strong desire for political compromise. Fully three-quarters say they like political leaders who are willing to compromise, compared […]

Oct. 26, 2006

Democrats Hold Double-Digit Lead in Competitive Districts

Summary of Findings With less than two weeks to go before the midterm elections, the Democrats not only continue to maintain a double-digit advantage nationally, but also lead by the same margin in the competitive districts that will determine which party controls the House of Representatives. Nationally, the Democrats hold a 49%-38% lead among registered […]

Mar. 7, 2006

Independents Sour on Incumbents