Dec. 15, 2011

Frustration with Congress Could Hurt Republican Incumbents

Public discontent with Congress has reached record levels, and the implications for incumbents in next year’s elections could be stark. Two-in-three voters say most members of Congress should be voted out of office in 2012 – the highest on record. And the number who say their own member should be replaced matches the all-time […]

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 […]

Sep. 29, 2011

No Consensus About Whether Nation Is Divided Into ’Haves’ and ’Have-Nots’

Despite an extended economic downturn, the public’s impression of whether the nation is economically divided remains relatively stable. While 45% say American society is divided between “haves” and “have-nots,” 52% say it is incorrect to think of the country this way. This is comparable to the balance of opinion a year ago. The percentage of […]

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. 25, 2011

Obama Leadership Image Takes a Hit, GOP Ratings Decline

The public is profoundly discontented with conditions in the country, its government, political leadership and several of its major institutions. Fully 79% are dissatisfied with the way things are going in the country. Even more (86%) say they are frustrated or angry with the federal government. Favorable ratings for both political parties are in […]

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. 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 […]

Jun. 23, 2011

Pessimism About National Economy Rises, Personal Financial Views Hold Steady

With a growing number of Americans saying they have been hearing “mostly bad” economic news, opinions about the current state of the national economy remain grim. Positive expectations regarding future economic conditions, which remained high even during the depths of the recession, have declined and now stand at their lowest point since mid-2008. Yet […]

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 […]

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. 7, 2011

Economic Views Sag, Obama Rating Slips

With the public growing more anxious about the economy and concerned about overseas commitments, Barack Obama’s job rating has edged lower. About as many now approve (47%) as disapprove (45%) of the way Obama is handling his job as president. In March, opinions about Obama’s job performance were more positive; 51% approved of his job […]

Mar. 16, 2011

Republicans Are Losing Ground on the Deficit, But Obama’s Not Gaining

As the budget debate moves into a crucial phase, far fewer Americans say that Republicans in Congress have the better approach to the budget deficit than did so in November, shortly after the GOP’s sweeping election victories. The GOP has lost ground on the deficit among political independents and, surprisingly, among key elements of […]

Feb. 10, 2011

Fewer Want Spending to Grow, But Most Cuts Remain Unpopular

The public’s views about federal spending are beginning to change. Across a range of federal programs, Americans are no longer calling for increased spending, as they have for many years. For the most part, however, there is not a great deal of support for cutting spending, though in a few cases support for reductions has […]

Jan. 20, 2011

Economy Dominates Public’s Agenda, Dims Hopes for the Future

Less Optimism about America’s Long-Term Prospects