Public Knowledge: Senate Legislative Process a Mystery to Many
In the latest Pew Research News IQ Quiz, Americans answered on average fewer than six out of 12 questions correctly. The public struggled with most of the political questions, and despite expressing strong interest in the health care debate, few know how many votes it takes to break a filibuster or how many GOP votes the bill got in the Senate.
Health Care Reform Now Seen on Life Support
The public’s take on the chances that health care legislation will be enacted this year shifted dramatically after Scott Brown’s Jan. 19 victory in Massachusetts. About two-thirds (67%) now say they do not think a health care reform bill will be passed into law this year.
It’s All About Jobs, Except When It’s Not
A look at the connection between the rise and fall of joblessness and the political fortunes of past presidents in the modern era is instructive although the lessons to be drawn are far from crystal clear. Thus far, only Ronald Reagan’s ratings in his first term have borne as close a connection as have Obama’s to changes in the unemployment rate.
The Public’s Political Agenda
Strengthening the nation’s economy and improving the job situation continue to top nation’s priority list. However, shifts have occurred on the priority give to two issues: energy (down) and the budget deficit (up). Extremely large partisan gaps exist on the importance of health care and global warming.
Michelle Obama’s Strong Personal Image
The first lady is more popular than either her husband or her two immediate predecessors.
Most View Census Positively, But Some Have Doubts
Most Americans think the census is very important and say they will definitely participate, but there are partisan as well as racial and ethnic differences in opinions about the values of the census and in personal willingness to participate.
Haiti Dominates Public’s Consciousness
Not only is the public closely tracking news from Haiti, 18% report they or someone in their household made a donation to those affected by the earthquake — many using the internet or other technology — while another 30% say they plan to donate. The Obama administration gets high marks for its response to the disaster.
Obama Image Unscathed By Terrorism Controversy
The government’s ratings for reducing the threat of terrorism have slipped, and Americans are increasingly more concerned with safety than civil liberties. Domestically, few see an upside to health care reform, and the national mood remains grim. Yet President Obama’s political standing is little affected, and his personal image remains positive.
Despite Media Attention, Terrorism Does Not Top the Public’s News Agenda
Health care, winter weather and the economy were all just as big a story to Americans as the much-hyped terrorist attempt.
Blacks Upbeat about Black Progress, Prospects
A comprehensive new survey of racial attitudes finds that a year after Barack Obama’s election, blacks’ assessments about the state of black progress in America have improved more dramatically than at any time in the last quarter century.