For the Public, a Tough Year Ends on a Down Note
Consistent with the mood of the nation all year, 2010 is closing on a down note — but not as low as in December 2008. Fully 72% are dissatisfied with national conditions, 89% rate national economic conditions as only fair or poor, and majorities or pluralities think the country is losing ground on nine of 12 major issues.
Tax Deal Wins Broad Bipartisan Support
The public views the tax agreement between Obama and congressional Republicans as beneficial to both the economy and their personal finances. There are virtually no partisan differences in opinions about the agreement.
Deficit Solutions Meet With Public Skepticism
While an overwhelming number of Americans deem the deficit a major problem that must be dealt with now, few are willing to support specific proposals to address the issue. On dealing with the deficit, Obama has more credibility than Republican congressional leaders.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
GOP Likely to Capture Control of House
Republicans continue to hold a solid lead in preferences for Tuesday’s midterm elections among likely voters — enough so as to suggest they will win control of the House. The GOP owes its lead to strong backing from independents and record-levels of engagement among its partisans.