PublicationsMay 23, 2012

Changing Views of Gay Marriage: A Deeper Analysis

President Obama’s recent expression of support for same-sex marriage has highlighted long-term changes in opinion on the issue. In interviews with more than 5,000 adults conducted in 2011-2012, prior to Obama’s announcement, 46% favored gay marriage while 44% were opposed. (See detailed tables for a breakdown among subgroups by year). Four years ago, a majority […]

PublicationsMay 15, 2012

Obama Support for Gay Marriage Public’s Top Story

President Obama’s expression of support for same-sex marriage proved to be the public’s top news story last week. About a quarter of Americans (26%) say they followed news about Obama’s statements on the divisive topic more closely than any other news, according to the latest weekly News Interest Index survey, conducted May 10-13 among […]

PublicationsMay 14, 2012

Half Say View of Obama Not Affected by Gay Marriage Decision

Roughly half of Americans (52%) say Barack Obama’s expression of support for gay marriage did not affect their opinion of the president. A quarter (25%) say they feel less favorably toward Obama because of this while 19% feel more favorably. There are wide partisan and age differences in reactions to Obama’s expression of support […]

PublicationsApril 25, 2012

More Support for Gun Rights, Gay Marriage than in 2008 or 2004

Opinions about a pair of contentious social issues, gun control and gay marriage, have changed substantially since previous presidential campaigns. On gun control, Americans have become more conservative; on gay marriage, they have become more liberal. Currently, 49% of Americans say it is more important to protect the rights of Americans to own guns, […]

PublicationsApril 16, 2012

Gay Marriage: The Electorate Changes, and Politics Follow

Seems like just yesterday that opposition to gay marriage was the strategy of choice to rally and energize the conservative base. In the 2004 presidential election, analysts believed that proposed state constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage increased the turnout of socially conservative voters in as many as 11 states, where the measures appeared on the […]

PublicationsMarch 30, 2012

Views of Law Enforcement, Racial Progress and News Coverage of Race

The controversy over the death of Trayvon Martin has highlighted issues relating to the treatment of blacks by local police departments, the state of race relations in the U.S. and press coverage of African Americans. Pew Research Center surveys in recent years have covered the opinions of blacks and whites on these and other issues. […]

PublicationsMarch 2, 2012

For the Public, It’s Not about Class Warfare, But Fairness

Income inequality has become a major issue in the presidential campaign. A recent Pew Research Center poll, for example, attracted wide attention when it found that as many as 66% of Americans believe there are “very strong” or “strong” conflicts between the rich and the poor, an increase of 19 percentage points since 2009. But […]

PublicationsFebruary 14, 2012

Public Divided Over Birth Control Insurance Mandate

About six-in-ten Americans (62%) have heard about the proposed federal rule that would require employers, including most religiously affiliated institutions, to cover birth control as part of their health care benefits. Among those aware of the issue, opinion is closely divided over whether these institutions should be given an exemption to the rule if […]

PublicationsFebruary 7, 2012

Growing Public Support for Same-Sex Marriage

UPDATED FEBRUARY 16, 2012, WITH MORE COMPLETE DATA. As courts and legislatures address the question of whether same-sex couples should be allowed to legally marry, public support for gay marriage continues to grow. Polls in 2011 by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press found that an average of 46% favor allowing […]

PublicationsJanuary 6, 2012

Continued Majority Support for Death Penalty

Public opinion about the death penalty has changed only modestly in recent years, but there continues to be far less support for the death penalty than there was in the mid-1990s. A survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press and the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, conducted […]

PublicationsNovember 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 […]

PublicationsAugust 30, 2011

Muslim Americans: No Signs of Growth in Alienation or Support for Extremism

As the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks approaches, a comprehensive public opinion survey finds no indication of increased alienation or anger among Muslim Americans in response to concerns about home-grown Islamic terrorists, controversies about the building of mosques and other pressures that have been brought to bear on this high-profile minority group in recent years.

PublicationsJune 14, 2011

Most Say Political Sex Scandals Due to Greater Scrutiny, Not Lower Morality

Most Americans attribute the series of public sex scandals in recent years involving politicians more to the heightened scrutiny they face than to lower moral standards among elected officials. A 57% majority say elected officials just get caught more often because they are under greater scrutiny. About two-in-ten (19%), on the other hand, say elected […]

PublicationsMay 13, 2011

Most Say Homosexuality Should Be Accepted By Society

While the public is divided over same-sex marriage, a majority of Americans (58%) say that homosexuality should be accepted, rather than discouraged, by society. Among younger people in particular, there is broad support for societal acceptance of homosexuality. More than six-in-ten (63%) of those younger than 50 – 69% of those younger than 30 – […]

PublicationsApril 8, 2011

Civil War at 150: Still Relevant, Still Divisive

As the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War approaches, most Americans say the war between the North and South is still relevant to American politics and public life today. More than half of Americans (56%) say the Civil War is still relevant, according to the latest national survey by the Pew […]

PublicationsMarch 3, 2011

Fewer Are Angry at Government, But Discontent Remains High

The public remains deeply frustrated with the federal government, but fewer Americans say they are angry at government than did so last fall. Overall, the percentage saying they are angry with the federal government has fallen from 23% last September to 14% today, with much of the decline coming among Republicans and Tea Party […]

PublicationsJanuary 19, 2011

No Shift Toward Gun Control After Tucson Shootings

Most Point to Troubled Individuals, Not Broader Societal Problems

PublicationsJanuary 13, 2011

Views of Gun Control — A Detailed Demographic Breakdown

PublicationsDecember 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, […]

PublicationsNovember 29, 2010

Most Continue to Favor Gays Serving Openly in Military