A Static America: A Contrarian View of Current U.S. Public Opinion Trends
With predictions of a wave of Republican victories come the November elections, there has been talk of a sea change in American politics. While acknowledging that changes in political and economic conditions can produce substantial shifts in the partisan makeup of governments at all levels, the author, a long time Pew Research consultant, argues that such transformations are rarely the product of major shifts in basic American values.
Independents Oppose Party in Power … Again
For the third national election in a row, independent voters may be poised to vote out the party in power. Political independents now favor GOP candidates by about as large a margin as they backed Barack Obama in 2008. The “independent vote,” however, is in no way monolithic; this is not surprising given that most independents are recent refugees from the two major parties.
How You Feel About Midterms Depends on Your Party
Republicans are more likely to say this year’s election is more important than most and that news coverage of politics makes them angry. They are also more upbeat about their preferred candidates’ chances in November than are Democrats or independents.
Little Compromise on Compromising
The latest Congressional Connection poll finds most in the public are in no mood for political compromising. Also, Americans split evenly on which political party could best handle the economy while four-in-ten say eliminating tax cuts for the wealthy would hurt the economy.
Taxed Enough Already?
Despite all the animosity aimed at Washington, one usual political punching bag is actually not seen as villainous as it once was: taxes. More say they pay about the right amount in taxes than say they pay more than their fair share.
Religious Beliefs and Political Issues
Religious beliefs continue to be influential in shaping some Americans’ views about social issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage. Far fewer cite religion as a top influence on issues such as immigration, the environment and poverty.
Public Focused on Tensions over Islam
As the nation marked the ninth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks last week, many in the public and the media focused more on current tensions over Islam in America.
Mixed Views of GOP Proposals on Entitlements
While a majority of Americans favors allowing changes to Social Security, there is very little support for replacing Medicare with a voucher system. Also, the public continues to see no clear leader atop the GOP.
Americans Spending More Time Following the News
Americans are increasingly integrating new technologies into their news consumption habits. As a result, the average time spent with the news is as high as it was in the mid-1990s.
Views of Economic News Little Changed
The public’s perceptions of economic news remain mixed, but continue to be much more negative than they were earlier this year.