May. 3, 2011

More Optimism about Afghanistan, But No Boost in Support for Troop Presence

The killing of Osama bin Laden has bolstered the public’s confidence on two fronts: that the government can prevent a possible terrorist attack, and that the U.S. will succeed in achieving its goals in Afghanistan. However, the public’s basic views about U.S. forces in Afghanistan and the threat of terrorism in the United States […]

Apr. 5, 2011

Goal of Libyan Operation Less Clear to Public

Two weeks after U.S. and NATO forces began military operations in Libya, the public’s reaction to the situation remains mixed. Half (50%) say the United States and its allies made the right decision in conducting airstrikes in Libya, while 37% say it was the wrong decision – a balance of opinion virtually unchanged from […]

Mar. 28, 2011

Modest Support for Libya Airstrikes, No Clear Goal Seen

After several days of airstrikes on Libya by the United States and its allies, the public has mixed reactions to the military operation. Nearly half of Americans (47%) say the United States made the right decision in conducting air strikes in Libya while 36% say it was the wrong decision. Fully one-in-six (17%) express […]

Mar. 14, 2011

Public Wary of Military Intervention in Libya

The public by a wide margin says the United States does not have a responsibility to do something about the fighting between government forces and anti-government groups in Libya. And while opinion is divided over enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya, this view is undercut by the fact that Americans overwhelmingly oppose bombing Libyan […]

Feb. 8, 2011

No Consensus on How Egypt Protests Will Affect U.S.

Americans do not have a clear point of view on how the massive anti-government protests in Egypt will affect the United States. More than half (58%) say the protests will not have much of an effect (36%), or offer no response or are noncommittal (22%). Of the minority that thinks the protests will have […]

Feb. 4, 2011

Historically, Public Has Given Low Priority to Promoting Democracy Overseas

Dec. 7, 2010

Mixed Views on Tax Cuts, Support for START and Allowing Gays to Serve Openly

With the public giving subpar approval ratings to President Obama and continuing to express negative views of Congress and the political parties, it goes its own way on many of the remaining issues before the lame-duck Congress. In a survey conducted before Obama and GOP leaders agreed to temporarily extend all Bush-era tax cuts, […]

Nov. 30, 2010

Voting in Foreign-Policy Oblivion

Nov. 9, 2010

Public Support for Increased Trade, Except With South Korea and China

The public is of two minds when it comes to trade with other countries. Most Americans say that increased trade with Canada, Japan and European Union countries – as well as India, Brazil and Mexico – would be good for the United States. But reactions are mixed to increased trade with South Korea and […]

Jun. 22, 2010

Public Sees a Future Full of Promise and Peril

Imagine a future in which cancer becomes a memory, ordinary people travel in space, and computers carry on conversations like humans. Now imagine a darker future – a world beset by war, rising temperatures and energy shortages, one where the United States faces a terrorist attack with nuclear weapons. Most Americans think that these […]

Apr. 28, 2010

Pessimistic Public Doubts Effectiveness of Stimulus, TARP

The public remains doggedly downbeat about the condition of the national economy, even as many experts and economists see signs of recovery. As has been the case for most of the past two years, about nine-in-ten (88%) rate national economic conditions as only fair or poor, and over the past year there has been […]

Dec. 16, 2009

Mixed Views of Obama at Year’s End

Public opinion about President Barack Obama and his major polices continues to be divided as the year comes to a close. His overall approval rating is 49%, which is largely unchanged from November (51%). However, the percentage expressing at least a fair amount of confidence in Obama to do the right thing when it […]

Dec. 3, 2009

U.S. Seen as Less Important, China as More Powerful

The general public and members of the Council on Foreign Relations are apprehensive and uncertain about America’s place in the world. Growing numbers in both groups see the United States playing a less important role globally, while acknowledging the increasing stature of China. And the general public, which is in a decidedly inward-looking frame […]

Nov. 5, 2009

Public Divided Over Afghan Troop Requests, But Still Sees Rationale for War

Oct. 6, 2009

Most Would Use Force to Stop Iranian Nukes

The public approves of direct negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program, although most Americans are not hopeful the talks will succeed. And a strong majority – 61% – says that it is more important to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, even if it means taking military action. Far fewer (24%) say it […]

Sep. 22, 2009

Public Support for Afghan Mission Slips

Public support for keeping U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan has declined since June and Americans express decidedly mixed views about whether the United States is making progress in reducing civilian casualties, defeating the Taliban militarily and establishing democracy in Afghanistan. Nonetheless, a sizable majority of the public (76%) views the possibility of the […]

Aug. 7, 2009

Public Supports Targeting Al Qaeda Leaders, Wants Congress in the Loop

Jun. 18, 2009

Obama’s Ratings Remain High Despite Some Policy Concerns

A solid majority of Americans (61%) continue to approve of Barack Obama’s job performance, although they express mixed views of several of his policies. An important positive sign for Obama is the public’s continued optimism that his policies will improve the economy – fully 65% express this view. A smaller majority (55%) is optimistic […]

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 […]

Apr. 28, 2009

Support for Free Trade Recovers Despite Recession

Despite the economic recession, public support for free trade agreements has recovered after declining a year ago. Currently, 44% say that free trade agreements like NAFTA and the policies of the World Trade Organization are good for the country, up from 35% a year ago. Slightly more than a third (35%) say that such […]