Congressional Favorability Falls to 24-Year Low; Dems Lose Midterm Advantage
Americans’ opinion of Congress is at a 24-year low, and as a result the party in power has lost its electoral edge. Voters split between the Democrats and GOP in a 2010 matchup, but Democrats are still favored on most issues.
Public Souring on Washington
More say the president and GOP leaders are not working together, as Obama’s approval inches lower and the Democratic Party’s favorability falls sharply. Opinion about the economy remains negative with personal financial assessments becoming more bearish.
Opinion of State Governments Drops With the Economy, Budget Gaps
The falloff in favorable views has been greater in states with the largest budget gaps. Also, the new administration has shifted partisan views of the federal government dramatically.
Public Supports Targeting Al Qaeda Leaders, Wants Congress in the Loop
Americans generally support allowing the Central Intelligence Agency to assassinate al Qaeda leaders, but opinions are more mixed about whether the CIA should have such a program without first informing Congress.
Obama’s High Ratings Hold Despite Some Policy Concerns
A solid majority of Americans continue to approve of Barack Obama’s job performance, although they express mixed views of several of his policies. Only about one-in-five Americans (21%) say the U.S. is less safe from terrorism under the Obama administration than under the Bush administration
Independents Take Center Stage in the Obama Era
Centrism has emerged as a dominant factor in public opinion as the Obama administration begins. Republicans and Democrats are even more divided than in the past, while the growing political middle is steadfastly mixed in its beliefs about government, the free market and other values that underlie views on contemporary issues and policies. Both political parties have lost adherents since the election and an increasing number of Americans identify as independents.
The Religious Makeup of Congress
Although a majority of the members of the new, 111th Congress are Protestants, Congress — like the nation as a whole — is much more religiously diverse than it was 50 years ago.
The Free Exercise Clause and the Legislative and Executive Branches
Courts have long grappled with questions of religious freedom, but other government bodies also help ensure protection of this cherished liberty.
Most Approve of Wall Street Bailout and See Obama as Better Able to Address Crisis
With public interest in the economy at a 20-year high, by a margin of almost two-to-one Americans think the government is doing the right thing in investing billions of dollars to try to keep financial institutions and markets secure.
Democratic Party’s Favorables Rise, Congress Still Unpopular
While opinion of the Republican Party (39% favorable) remains at a historic low, favorable views of the Democratic Party have risen to 57%. Attitudes toward the Democratic-led Congress, however, remain very negative.