Auto Bailout Now Backed, Stimulus Divisive
Public support for government loans to major U.S. automakers are viewed more positively today than in the fall of 2009, but there has been less change in opinions about other major economic policies such as the federal loans to banks and financial institutions during the 2008 financial crisis and President Obama’s economic stimulus plan.
Public More Optimistic about Economy, But Concerns Persist
Optimism about the national economy has rebounded in the first two months of this year after sagging in 2011. The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press also finds an uptick in Barack Obama’s job rating.
Public Priorities: Deficit Rising, Terrorism Slipping
As the State of the Union approaches, the economy continues to be the public’s top priority. Fully 86% say that strengthening the economy should be a top priority for the president and Congress this year, and 82% rate improving the job situation as a top priority.
Pessimism about National Economy Rises, Personal Financial Views Hold Steady
Opinions about the state of the economy remain grim, and President Obama has lost the bump in approval he received after the killing of Osama bin Laden. For all the negativity, however, there has been little change in people’s assessments of their personal financial situations.
Obama’s Policies Seen as Better than Bush’s for Improving the Economy
As Congress gears up for debate over the tax cuts passed when Bush was president, the public is divided, with roughly equal numbers in favor of keeping all of Bush’s tax cuts, repealing only those for wealthy Americans, or scrapping them entirely.
Government Economic Policies Seen as Boon for Banks and Big Business, Not Middle Class or Poor
Partisan groups disagree sharply about many aspects of the government’s anti-recession policies — with two notable exceptions: Large majorities of independents, Republicans and Democrats all say large banks and financial institutions got the most help while few in each group say the policies have done much for the poor.
Doubts About Obama’s Economic Policies Rose Over the Last Year
For the first time, slightly more say the impact of Obama’s economic policies has been negative rather than positive; many see recovery as distant; views on financial reforms are mixed.
Midterm Election Challenges for Both Parties
Opinions of the Republican Party have improved significantly but still far more people blame the GOP for the poor economy than blame the Democrats. Anti-incumbent sentiment runs high: three-in-ten don’t want to see their current representative reelected. Financial institutions remain a major target of public anger.
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.
Mixed Views of Economic Policies and Health Care Reform Persist
Most Americans remain optimistic that Barack Obama’s policies will help the economy, but see no clear signs of recovery yet; many key provisions of health care reform remain popular but support for the overall package has slipped.