The Generation Gap and the 2012 Election
In the last four national elections, generation has mattered more in American elections than it has in decades. This continues to be true as voters look ahead toward the 2012 general election. In a contest between President Obama and Mitt Romney, there is a 20-point gap in support for Obama between Millennials and the over-65 Silent generation.
Obama Draws More Confidence than GOP Leaders on Deficit
While public confidence in President Obama on the budget deficit issue remains little changed since last December, confidence in congressional leaders, particularly Republican leaders in Congress, has plummeted.
Obama Leadership Image Takes a Hit, GOP Ratings Decline
For the first time in his presidency, significantly more Americans disapprove than approve of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as president and and the margin of strong disapproval over strong approval has widened. But the public is also profoundly discontented with the political leadership of both parties, angry at the federal government and dissatisfied with the way things are going in the country.
Obama Bump Recedes a Bit
Barack Obama’s job approval rating has fallen slightly since the day after Osama bin Laden’s death was announced. But the balance of opinion regarding Obama’s job performance remains more positive than it was in early April. There also continues to be more optimism about the U.S. achieving its goals in Afghanistan than there was prior to bin Laden’s killing.
Public “Relieved” By bin Laden’s Death, Obama’s Job Approval Rises
Relief and pride are the prevailing emotional responses to Sunday’s dramatic events. Obama’s approval rating has jumped, and he gets far more credit from the public than does George W. Bush for bin Laden’s killing. Still, the military and CIA receive most of the credit.
Obama Ratings Slip Amid Economic Anxieties
About as many now approve (47%) as disapprove (45%) of the way Obama is handling his job with the president getting especially negative ratings on his handling of the budget deficit and the overall economy. The GOP has an advantage on the budget, while Democrats are favored on traits such as concern for average people, willingness to work with the opposition, and ethics. The parties run about even on jobs and health care.
Obama Tests Well at Start of Reelection Run
Nearly half of registered voters say they would like to see Barack Obama reelected, while 37% say they would prefer to see a Republican candidate win the 2012 election. As for who that candidate will be, the GOP has yet to coalesce behind a candidate, but Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee lead the pack at this early stage.
Shifting Political Winds
Americans’ are less discontent with the federal government but no more ready for political compromise. Views of Congress remain heavily negative, while Obama’s ratings stay positive. On social issues, the public is, for the first time, evenly split on gay marriage, while support for legal abortion, legalized marijuana — but not gun control — have all risen.
Obama Ratings Remain Rock Steady
As has been the case since last summer, the public is evenly divided over Obama’s job performance, while his personal image remains on balance positive. Opinion of the GOP congressional leadership, however, has become far more negative since the midterm elections.
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.