Despite Years of Terror Scares, Public’s Concerns Remain Fairly Steady
Since 9/11, there is little evidence that close calls in the U.S. or terrorist attacks overseas have led to a fundamental change in the public’s worries about terrorism. Also, Americans are divided over whether the U.S. is winning or losing its campaign against terrorism.
Muslim Publics Divided on Hamas and Hezbollah
While Hamas and Hezbollah continue to receive mixed ratings from Muslim publics around the globe, opinions of al Qaeda and bin Laden are consistently negative. Meanwhile, most Muslims surveyed welcome a significant role for Islam in their countries’ politics, and most also say democracy is preferable to any other kind of government.
Most Continue to Favor Gays Serving Openly in Military
Large majorities of Democrats and independents favor allowing homosexuals to serve openly in the armed forces. Republicans are divided, but among conservative Republicans, far more oppose than favor allowing gays to serve openly.
The Better-Off Online
Some 95% of Americans who live in households earning $75,000 or more a year use the internet at least occasionally, compared with 70% of those in households with less income. Even among all internet users, the well-off are more likely to own and use various types of technology.
The Rise of College Student Borrowing
Graduates who received a bachelor’s degree in 2008 borrowed 50% more (in inflation-adjusted dollars) than their counterparts who graduated in 1996.
The Decline of Marriage and Rise of New Families
Americans today are less likely to be married than at any time in the nation’s history. Rates have declined for all groups, but they have fallen most sharply among those on the lower rungs of the socio-economic ladder. A new survey finds that these less-advantaged adults are more likely than others to say that economic security is an important reason to marry. Even as marriage shrinks, family remains the most important and most satisfying element in the lives of most Americans.
Public Knows Basic Facts about Politics, Economics, But Struggles with Specifics
Americans see the big picture when it comes to the changing balance of power in Washington, but is not sure which party controls which house of Congress or who the next speaker will be. Many have a good idea about the growth of the federal deficit, but the public struggles with questions about specifics of the budget, TARP and inflation.
National Latino Leader? The Job is Open
When asked in an open-ended question to name the person they consider “the most important Latino leader in the country today,” nearly two-thirds (64%) of Latino respondents said they did not know. An additional 10% said “no one.” The most frequently named individual was Sonia Sotomayor (7%).
Mixed Reactions to Republican Midterm Win, Policies
Compared with four years ago, there is less excitement and optimism about the victorious party and its plans following the GOP’s overwhelmingly successful Election Day. Also, while the public expresses more conservative views about the role of government than it did just two years ago, on major policy decisions that will arise in coming months, opinion is closely divided.
Americans Are of Two Minds on Trade
The public wants increased trade with Canada, Japan and several other countries (China and South Korea being notable exceptions), but support for free trade agreements is at a 13-year low, and more say trade agreements have negative rather than positive impact on jobs, wages and economic growth.