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 […]

Sep. 7, 2011

Few See Job Proposals Having Much Effect

When asked which economic issue worries them most, nearly twice as many Americans cite the job situation as the federal budget deficit (43% to 22%). There is less clarity in the public’s views about ideas to address the job situation – many are seen as helping at least a little, but no specific proposal emerges […]

Sep. 6, 2011

Most Plan to Watch Obama Jobs Speech

Nearly six-in-ten Americans (58%) say they plan to watch President Obama’s speech Thursday night to a joint session of Congress about his plans to spur job growth and help the struggling national economy. Not surprisingly, fewer plan to watch Wednesday night’s debate in California among the candidates for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. Four-in-ten […]

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

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. 19, 2011

Debt Limit Fight Tops News Interest, Coverage

The debate over raising the federal debt limit proved to be the public’s – and the media’s – top news story last week as the federal government neared a possible default and high level deficit-reduction talks produced no agreement. About three-in-ten (31%) say they followed the discussions about how to address the federal deficit […]

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. 18, 2011

Public Split Evenly on Urgency of Debt Limit Debate

While administration officials project an economic catastrophe if the debt limit is not raised by Aug. 2, many Americans do not see this deadline as a major problem. Four-in-ten (40%) say that, from what they’ve read and heard, it is absolutely essential that the federal debt limit be raised by Aug. 2 to avoid […]

Jul. 14, 2011

The Debt Ceiling Showdown – Where the Public Stands

The nation is headed toward a possible government default on Aug. 2 if no agreement is reached to raise the debt ceiling. The public is still coming to grips with this complex issue, but recent Pew Research Center surveys show that opinions are beginning to take shape: The Bottom Line. The public has grown more […]

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

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, […]

Jun. 20, 2011

More Say GOP Would Be Mainly Responsible If No Increase In Debt Limit

More Americans believe Republicans in Congress, rather than the Obama administration, would be mainly responsible if the two sides cannot agree on a plan to increase the federal debt limit. About four-in-ten (42%) say Republicans would bear the most responsibility if the debt limit is not raised and the government is unable to borrow more […]

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 […]

Jun. 6, 2011

Opposition to Ryan Medicare Plan from Older, Attentive Americans

The public offers a mixed reaction to a proposal to change Medicare into a program that would give future participants a credit toward purchasing private health insurance coverage: 41% oppose such a change, 36% favor it, and nearly a quarter (23%) have no opinion either way. Despite this even division of opinion overall, […]

May. 24, 2011

More Concern about Raising Debt Limit than Government Default

The public is concerned about both of the possible outcomes of the debt limit debate – raising the debt limit and failing to do so. But more say they are very concerned about the possible consequences of raising the debt limit than of not raising it. And by a 48% to 35% margin, Americans say […]

May. 11, 2011

Bush Lost Battle Over the Surplus, But Won Tax Cut War

A decade ago, Washington grappled with a problem that seems unreal in today’s economic climate – what to do with the budget surplus? In 2000, George W. Bush had campaigned on a pledge to return part of the surplus to taxpayers in the form of an across-the-board tax cut. Bush’s opponent, Al Gore, countered with […]

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. 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 […]

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,” […]