Public opinion on the economy and Obama’s handling of it
Strengthening the economy has been one of the public’s top priorities for the president and Congress going back even before the Great Recession. Here are key takeaways from our surveys on the state of public opinion about the economy.
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For the Public, a Tough Year Ends on a Down Note
Consistent with the mood of the nation all year, 2010 is closing on a down note — but not as low as in December 2008. Fully 72% are dissatisfied with national conditions, 89% rate national economic conditions as only fair or poor, and majorities or pluralities think the country is losing ground on nine of 12 major issues.
How a Different America Responded to the Great Depression
The American public’s sour mood is in interesting contrast with many of the public’s views during the Great Depression of the 1930s, not only on economic, political and social issues, but also on the role of government in addressing them.
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.
After the Great Recession: Foreign Born Gain Jobs; Native Born Lose Jobs
Immigrants are gaining jobs at a time when native-born workers continue to sustain losses. Foreign-born workers job gains may be the result of greater flexibility with regard to wages and hours of work or greater mobility. But despite rising employment, immigrants have experienced a sharp decline in earnings as well as a still substantial net loss in jobs.
Is the Recession Linked to Fewer Marriages?
When researchers look at possible links among social, economic and demographic trends — such as the current recession and declining marriage rates — they face a challenge. Two trends may be heading in the same direction, but are they related? Correlation, the statisticians frequently warn, is no guarantee of causation.
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.
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.
Public Uncertain How to Improve Job Situation
There is broad public agreement that past government policies intended to address the financial crisis and recession have not worked. At the same time, there is very little agreement about what the government should do now to deal with the nation’s biggest economic concern — the job situation.