PublicationsJanuary 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 […]

CommentaryOctober 1, 2008

The Bad Rap on the Bailout Bill

PublicationsSeptember 30, 2008

Small Plurality Backs Bailout Plan

As Congress debated the financial bailout bill over the past week, public support for government action has declined. A new Pew Research Center survey conducted Sept. 27-29 finds a narrow 45%-38% plurality of the public saying that a government plan to invest or commit billions of dollars to secure financial institutions is the right […]

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% […]

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 […]

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 […]

CommentaryMarch 14, 2006

Do Deficits Matter Anymore? Apparently Not to the Public

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 […]

CommentarySeptember 5, 2003

World Publics Approve Increased International Trade

But Concern for Problems of Global Economy

PublicationsMay 7, 2003

Americans More Optimistic About Economy, But Not Bush Tax Cut

Summary of Findings With the war in Iraq over, Americans are feeling more optimistic about a turnaround in the national economy, and a greater number than at the beginning of the year think that President Bush is doing as much as he can to improve economic conditions. But the president’s tax cut proposal continues to […]

Multi-section ReportsFebruary 25, 2003

Tax Plan Fails to Connect, Bush’s Economic Ratings Sag

Introduction and Summary President Bush’s tax-cut plan is getting a tepid reception from the public and has failed to stem a steady erosion of his ratings on the economy. Barely four-in-ten Americans (43%) approve of his handling of the economy, while 48% disapprove. This marks the first time in Bush’s presidency a Pew survey has […]

PublicationsJanuary 23, 2003

Bush Confronts State of Economic Unease

Summary of Findings As President Bush prepares for his Jan. 28 State of the Union address, the public’s mood is more subdued that it was a year ago, especially regarding the nation’s struggling economy. Just three-in-ten say they expect economic conditions to improve over the next 12 months, a significant decline from last January when […]

Multi-section ReportsFebruary 21, 2002

Views of Business and Regulation Unchanged by Enron

Introduction and Summary The American public increasingly recognizes the gravity of the Enron scandal — a greater percentage than in January has been following news about the case, and more now think the collapse of the Houston energy giant is of great importance to the nation. Yet the public’s underlying attitudes toward business and government […]

PublicationsSeptember 6, 2001

Economy, Education, Social Security Dominate Public’s Policy Agenda

Introduction and Summary As President Bush and Congress return to work, a trio of long-standing concerns dominate the public’s list of policy priorities. The economy is the public’s leading priority, cited by eight-in-ten Americans, followed closely by education (76%) and Social Security (74%). Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill hold a 44%-37% edge over the president […]

CommentaryAugust 9, 2001

Wobbly Economic Attitudes Key to Bush’s Future

by Andrew Kohut for America Online

Multi-section ReportsFebruary 22, 2001

Bush Approval on Par, No Tax Cut Momentum

Introduction and Summary The public’s view of George W. Bush’s first month in office is remarkably unremarkable. Despite the extraordinary path he took to the White House, Americans are reacting to Bush in much the same way they responded to his predecessors. Bush’s modest February job approval rating (53%) is comparable to ratings accorded Bill […]

PublicationsApril 8, 1999

Americans Divided on China Policy

Introduction and Summary The public is deeply divided about the future of U.S.-China relations. Although a solid 60% majority say relations between the United States and China are stable — neither improving nor getting worse — there is little agreement over the question of whether our current handling of China is tough enough and no […]