Pew Research Center survey reports, demographic studies and data-driven analysis
Shifting Political Winds
Americans’ are less discontent with the federal government but no more ready for political compromise. Views of Congress remain heavily negative, while Obama’s ratings stay positive. On social issues, the public is, for the first time, evenly split on gay marriage, while support for legal abortion, legalized marijuana — but not gun control — have all risen.
Rising Oil Prices Big News for Public
With the media fixated on events in Libya, the public focused on a related concern that received little news coverage — rising oil prices.
Wisconsin Unions Favored Over Walker in Showdown
By a 42%-31% margin, the public sides with public employee unions in their dispute with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. At the federal level, President Obama and GOP leaders would share blame for a government shutdown.
Public Favors Tougher Border Controls and Path to Citizenship
Americans see no contradiction in supporting both stepped-up border security and a way for people already in the U.S. illegally to gain citizenship. Most oppose plans to change the Constitution to bar the children of illegal immigrants from becoming citizens. The public, however, also supports Arizona’s controversial immigration law.
Global Trouble Spots Top Public’s News Interests
The public expresses far more interest in news from global hot spots, including Iraq, Afghanistan and North Korea, than in news from many less troubled countries.
Public Focus Remains on Egypt
As the media turned to domestic debates about the economy, the public continued to follow Egypt more closely than any other news story. Most Americans are aware of the attack on Lara Logan, a CBS correspondent in Egypt.
In Showdown with Air Traffic Controllers, the Public Sided with Reagan
The bitter fight over union rights in Wisconsin calls to mind a labor battle that helped define the first year of Ronald Reagan’s presidency.
Labor Unions: Good for Workers, Not for U.S. Competitiveness
Favorability ratings for labor unions remain at nearly their lowest level in a quarter century with virtually no differences in opinions about private and public sector unions. Yet the public now expresses similar opinions about business corporations whose rating is also near a historic low.
Mubarak Leaves, Public Interest Surges
Fully 48% say they followed news about Egyptian protests and Mubarak’s resignation more closely than any other story, far surpassing the week’s other stories. The 2012 campaign has gotten off to a much slower start when compared with the previous presidential election campaign.
Public Remains Divided Over the Patriot Act
Views of the Patriot Act have changed little since the Bush administration, with slightly more Americans currently saying it is a necessary security tool rather than a threat to civil liberties. Democrats are now somewhat more supportive of the law.