Economy, Jobs Top Public’s Policy Agenda
Americans overwhelmingly cite the economy and jobs as the most important issues facing the president and new Congress. On health care reform, roughly as many would like to see legislation expanded as have it repealed.
Strengthen Ties with China, But Get Tough on Trade
As President Obama prepares to host Chinese President Hu Jintao next week, Americans increasingly see Asia as the region of the world that is most important to the United States. While Americans see China as a rising global power, relatively few characterize the U.S.-China relationship as adversarial; China is seen primarily as an economic threat, rather than a military one.
In the depths of the 1981-1982 recession, Americans were far more displeased with their president and his policies than were their predecessors during the Great Depression, more so even than in today’s high-unemployment economy.
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.
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.
In the Courts: Voucher Battle Redux
A coming Supreme Court case on an Arizona law allowing funds donated to religious schools to be subtracted from state taxes owed by donors could severely limit future Establishment Clause challenges.
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.
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.