PublicationsSeptember 23, 2008

57% of Public Favors Wall Street Bailout

By a margin of almost two-to-one the American public thinks the government is doing the right thing in investing billions of dollars to try to keep financial institutions and markets secure. Reacting to initial reports of the federal bailout plan over the weekend, 57% said the government was doing the right thing, while 30% […]

Multi-section ReportsAugust 21, 2008

More Americans Question Religion’s Role In Politics

Some Americans are having a change of heart about mixing religion and politics. A new survey finds a narrow majority of the public saying that churches and other houses of worship should keep out of political matters and not express their views on day-to-day social and political matters. For a decade, majorities of Americans […]

PublicationsJuly 31, 2008

Inflation Staggers Public, Economy Still Seen as Fixable

The public continues to be extremely downbeat about the national economy. Just 10% say the economy is in good shape, while 72% say the economy is either in a recession (54%) or a depression (18%). On a personal level, concerns about rising prices have surged. Beyond widespread anxiety about energy costs, a growing number […]

PublicationsJanuary 4, 2008

The Public’s Not-So-Happy New Year

Summary of Findings The American public begins the new year with a highly negative view of national conditions and tempered expectations for 2008. Half of Americans say that as far as they are concerned, 2008 will be a better year than 2007, while 34% say it will be worse. In December 2006, and in several […]

CommentaryMay 2, 2007

Surge in Support for Social Safety Net

Support for government programs to help disadvantaged Americans, as well as sympathy for the plight of the poor, have surged since 1994 and returned to levels last seen in 1990 prior to welfare reform, with gains occurring among virtually every major social, political and demographic group. Read full analysis at

PublicationsMarch 22, 2007

Trends in Political Values and Core Attitudes: 1987-2007

Summary of Findings Increased public support for the social safety net, signs of growing public concern about income inequality, and a diminished appetite for assertive national security policies have improved the political landscape for the Democrats as the 2008 presidential campaign gets underway. At the same time, many of the key trends that nurtured the […]

CommentaryJanuary 4, 2007

The Complicated Politics of Free Trade

Crafting effective U.S. trade policies in an era of rapid economic globalization is tough. But the politics of free trade are even tougher — particularly for Democrats, according to a recent national survey conducted by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. Read the full analysis at

PublicationsDecember 19, 2006

Free Trade Agreements Get a Mixed Review

Summary of Findings The American public continues to have a mixed opinion about free trade agreements such as NAFTA and the WTO. On balance they are seen as a good thing for the country, but Americans are divided over the impact of free trade agreements on their own personal financial situations. About as many people […]

PublicationsSeptember 14, 2006

Democrats Hold Solid Lead; Strong Anti-Incumbent, Anti-Bush Mood

Summary of Findings As the congressional midterm campaign begins in earnest, the mood of the electorate is sharply drawn. Voters are disappointed with Congress and disapproving of President Bush. Anti-incumbent sentiment, while a bit lower than a few months ago, is far more extensive than in the previous two midterms and remains close to 1994 […]

PublicationsAugust 8, 2006

Public Holds Conflicting Views of Press Reports about Government Monitoring Bank Records

Summary of Findings The public is of two minds about news reports that the government has been secretly examining the bank records of American citizens who may have ties to terrorist groups. By a margin of 50%-34%, Americans think that news organizations have hurt rather than helped the interests of the American people with these […]

PublicationsJune 27, 2006

Democrats More Eager to Vote, But Unhappy with Party

Summary of Findings With less than five months to go before Election Day, Democrats hold two distinct advantages in the midterm campaign that they have not enjoyed for some time. First, Americans continue to say they favor the Democratic candidate in their district, by a 51% to 39% margin. Second, the level of enthusiasm about […]

CommentaryJune 6, 2006

Two Americas, One American

PublicationsMarch 22, 2006

Less Opposition to Gay Marriage, Adoption and Military Service

Summary of Findings Public acceptance of homosexuality has increased in a number of ways in recent years, though it remains a deeply divisive issue. Half of Americans (51%) continue to oppose legalizing gay marriage, but this number has declined significantly from 63% in February 2004, when opposition spiked following the Massachusetts Supreme Court decision and […]

CommentaryMarch 14, 2006

Do Deficits Matter Anymore? Apparently Not to the Public

PublicationsFebruary 7, 2006

Iran a Growing Danger, Bush Gaining on Spy Issue

Summary of Findings Public concern over Iran’s nuclear program has risen dramatically in the past few months. Today, 27% of Americans cite Iran as the country that represents the greatest danger to the United States. In October, just 9% pointed to Iran as the biggest danger to the U.S., while there was far more concern […]

PublicationsDecember 14, 2005

Public Unmoved by Washington’s Rhetoric on Iraq

Summary of Findings The political debate over the Iraq war has grown more pointed in recent weeks, as President Bush has embarked upon a series of high-profile speeches defending the war and Democratic Rep. John Murtha has made headlines with his calls for a withdrawal of U.S. forces. But fundamental public attitudes toward the war […]

CommentaryOctober 27, 2005

Budget Cuts Look Cheaper Out of Focus

How does the public want to pay for cleaning up after Hurricane Katrina and her disruptive relatives? As politicians grapple with the costs of disaster relief following a string of major hurricanes along the Gulf Coast, there is no clear public consensus over where the money should come from. In particular, while most Americans believe […]

PublicationsOctober 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, […]

CommentarySeptember 22, 2005

Katrina Has Only Modest Impact on Basic Public Values

As the Hurricane Katrina recovery effort unfolds along the Gulf Coast, there has been considerable speculation about the disaster’s possible impact on fundamental public attitudes on such questions as the role of government, the plight of the poor and the extent of racial progress in the U.S. On the left, some have expressed the hope […]

CommentaryApril 29, 2005

Did the President Score on Social Security?

President Bush’s proposals on Social Security resonate with the public opinion in some respects but are off key in others. The public is squarely with the president on the urgency of the issue. Pew Research Center polling in February found nearly three-quarters of Americans wanting action on fixing Social Security, either right away or in […]