Public’s Wish List for Congress — Jobs and Deficit Reduction
Fully 80% say it is very important for Congress to pass legislation to address the job situation; nearly half of public disapproves of challenge to Arizona’s immigration law and health care legislation.
How the Press Covered Health Care Reform
Media coverage of the health care debate followed a roller coaster trajectory, spiking dramatically at times and plunging at other points. The media focused far more on the politics of health care than the system or plans for reform.
Rights of Conscience vs. Civil Rights
New “conscience protection” cases have emerged in the health care area expanding the debate beyond abortion and birth control to discrimination protection for certain groups, notably gays and lesbians.
Public’s Economic Woes Persist
Americans don’t favor the current health care reform legislation, but most opponents prefer a new bill to no bill and more see their health care costs rising without reform than with it. Nearly everyone gives the national economy a negative rating; 70% of Americans say they have faced one or more job or financial-related problems in the past year
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.
Millennials’ Lukewarm Support For Health Care Bills
A third of Millennials lack health care insurance, and their support for health care reform exceeds that of older generations, but they have tuned out of the debate in Washington.
Public Knowledge: Senate Legislative Process a Mystery to Many
In the latest Pew Research News IQ Quiz, Americans answered on average fewer than six out of 12 questions correctly. The public struggled with most of the political questions, and despite expressing strong interest in the health care debate, few know how many votes it takes to break a filibuster or how many GOP votes the bill got in the Senate.
Obama Image Unscathed By Terrorism Controversy
The government’s ratings for reducing the threat of terrorism have slipped, and Americans are increasingly more concerned with safety than civil liberties. Domestically, few see an upside to health care reform, and the national mood remains grim. Yet President Obama’s political standing is little affected, and his personal image remains positive.
At Year’s End, Nation Remains Divided
As has been the case since October, roughly half the country approves of President Obama’s job. The nation is also divided on Afghanistan and health care. One rare point of agreement, though, is that the economy remains poor.
Abortion Plays Small Role in Health Reform Opposition
While most Americans oppose government funding of abortion, concern about abortion funding plays only a small role in driving opposition to the health care reform legislation. If anything, opposition to reform has declined, with currently 42% in favor and 39% opposed to the health care proposals in Congress.