Religious Beliefs and Political Issues
Religious beliefs continue to be influential in shaping some Americans’ views about social issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage. Far fewer cite religion as a top influence on issues such as immigration, the environment and poverty.
Obama’s Rating Steady Despite Tough Environment
While facing a controversial health care bill, a high jobless rate and the largest environmental disaster in the nation’s history, the president’s approval rating (48%) hasn’t moved this year. A majority now opposes increased offshore drilling, but a large partisan split remains. Americans back Arizona’s tough immigration law, but also support a “path to citizenship.”
Public Sees a Future Full of Promise and Peril
Most Americans envision a future where cancer is cured and space travel is for everyone. But they also see a world beset by war, energy shortages and a terrorist attack with nuclear weapons. Still, most see a better future for themselves and the nation over the next four decades.
Obama More Popular Abroad than at Home, Global Image of U.S. Continues to Benefit
The president gets an enthusiastic thumbs up from the world (with the notable exception of the U.S.) for the way he has handled the world economic crisis. Obama’s personal popularity remains high, as do favorable views of the U.S. In a striking difference from the Bush years, while many around the world disagree with Obama’s foreign policies, the U.S. image has not been significantly dented as a result. Muslim countries, however, continue to hold a negative view of America and most also give Obama unfavorable ratings.
Fueling Both Sides of the Energy Debate
Americans want expanded exploration and development of coal, oil and gas in the U.S. but also want limits on carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions. Michele Obama’s favorability stays strong but the president’s and Sarah Palin’s popularity slip.
Public’s Priorities for Congress: Jobs and Energy Top Immigration
Congress’s ratings are abysmal; Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan draws mixed ratings but half have no opinion.
Oil Spill Seen As Ecological Disaster
Americans are critical of the government’s response to the environmental disaster in the Gulf, but even more so of BP. Support for offshore oil drilling is down, though Republican opinion is unchanged.
Support for Alternative Energy and Offshore Drilling
Americans strongly favor increased funding for research on wind, solar and hydrogen technology and more spending on mass transit, but majorities also support offshore drilling and nuclear power. Half have heard nothing at all about “cap and trade.”
Global Warming Seen as a Major Problem Around the World
As leaders convene in Copenhagen to discuss climate change, they will address a concern shared around the globe. Publics are willing to sacrifice economic growth for the environment, but nations are split on which country should lead on global warming.
Searching For Clues in the Global Warming Puzzle
Why do fewer Americans believe the earth is warming? A range of possibilities, including a sour economy and, perhaps, a cooler than normal summer in parts of the U.S., may provide an explanation.