Dec. 13, 2012

As Fiscal Cliff Nears, Democrats Have Public Opinion on Their Side

The Democrats are in a strong position with the public as they engage in negotiations to find a solution to the fiscal cliff crisis. Barack Obama’s first post-reelection job approval rating has risen to 55%, up five points since July and 11 points since the start of the year. Obama’s job rating is markedly […]

Dec. 4, 2012

Pessimism About Fiscal Cliff Deal, Republicans Still Get More Blame

With Washington making little apparent progress in efforts to avoid going over the “fiscal cliff,” public opinion about the situation has changed little over the past three weeks. The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press and The Washington Post, conducted Nov. 29-Dec. 2 among 1,003 adults, […]

Nov. 13, 2012

Broad Concern about ’Fiscal Cliff’ Consequences

As the president and congressional leaders begin negotiations to avoid the “fiscal cliff” deadline at the end of the year, there is widespread public concern about the possible financial consequences. More say the automatic spending cuts and tax increases scheduled to take effect in January would have a major effect on the U.S. economy […]

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 […]

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 […]

Jul. 16, 2012

Raising Taxes on Rich Seen as Good for Economy, Fairness

By two-to-one (44% to 22%), the public says that raising taxes on incomes above $250,00o would help the economy rather than hurt it, while 24% say this would not make a difference. Moreover, an identical percentage (44%) says a tax increase on higher incomes would make the tax system more fair, while just 21% […]

Jun. 21, 2012

GOP Holds Early Turnout Edge, But Little Enthusiasm for Romney

Less than five months before Election Day, voters are not as engaged with the presidential campaign as they were at this point four years ago, when interest in the campaign reached record levels. But voter engagement today generally equals or surpasses levels from the four campaigns prior to 2008, indicating that 2012 could be […]

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

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. […]

Mar. 2, 2012

For the Public, It’s Not about Class Warfare, But Fairness

Income inequality has become a major issue in the presidential campaign. A recent Pew Research Center poll, for example, attracted wide attention when it found that as many as 66% of Americans believe there are “very strong” or “strong” conflicts between the rich and the poor, an increase of 19 percentage points since 2009. But […]

Feb. 23, 2012

Auto Bailout Now Backed, Stimulus Divisive

Public support for government loans to major U.S. automakers has increased sharply since 2009. Opinions are far less positive, however, about two other major initiatives to bolster the economy – the 2008 bank bailout and the 2009 stimulus plan. Americans also are of two minds when it comes to government regulation of business. While […]

Feb. 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 […]

Feb. 2, 2012

Lower-Income Republicans Say Government Does Too Little for Poor People

Mitt Romney’s statement that he is focused solely on the problems of middle class Americans, not the poor, may not sit well with lower-income voters within his own party. Roughly a quarter of Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters have annual family incomes under $30,000, and most of them say that the government does not do […]

Jan. 27, 2012

It’s About Fairness, Not Class Warfare

Income inequality has become a hot-button issue during this political campaign. A recent Pew Research Center poll, for example, attracted an extraordinary amount of attention when it found that 66 percent of Americans believed there were “very strong” or “strong” conflicts between the rich and the poor — an increase of 19 percentage points since […]

Jan. 23, 2012

Public Priorities: Deficit Rising, Terrorism Slipping

As the 2012 State of the Union approaches, the public continues to give the highest priority to economic issues. Fully 86% say that strengthening the economy should be a top priority for the president and Congress this year, and 82% rate improving the job situation as a top priority. None of the other 20 […]

Dec. 20, 2011

Tax System Seen as Unfair, in Need of Overhaul

Public dissatisfaction with the tax system has grown over the past decade, and the focus of the public’s frustration is not how much they themselves pay, but rather the impression that wealthy people are not paying their fair share. The number of Americans who feel they pay more than their fair share in federal […]

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. 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 […]

Oct. 24, 2011

Public Divided Over Occupy Wall Street Movement

About four-in-ten Americans say they support the Occupy Wall Street movement (39%), while nearly as many (35%) say they oppose the movement launched last month in New York’s financial district. By contrast, more say they oppose the Tea Party movement than support it (44% vs. 32%), according to the latest survey by the Pew Research […]