The Public’s Political Agenda
Strengthening the nation’s economy and improving the job situation continue to top nation’s priority list. However, shifts have occurred on the priority give to two issues: energy (down) and the budget deficit (up). Extremely large partisan gaps exist on the importance of health care and global warming.
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.
Little Support for Terrorism Among Muslim Americans
The Pew Research Center’s comprehensive portrait of the Muslim American population suggests that, despite recent events, America is less likely to be a fertile breeding ground for terrorism than are Muslim minority communities in other countries.
U.S. Seen as Less Important, China as More Powerful
A new survey of both the public and members of the Council on Foreign Relations finds an increasingly isolationist sentiment among Americans. The public also differs with CFR members on increasing troop levels in Afghanistan, the threat posed by China and the use of torture.
Modest Rise In Concern About Islamic Extremism
Just more than half (52%) of Americans say they are very concerned about the possible rise of Islamic extremism in the U.S., up from 46% in April 2007.
Americans and Western Europeans Agree on Afghanistan-Pakistan Extremist Threat
While both Americans and Western Europeans generally believe the “Af-Pak” region potentially poses significant threats to national security, they do not share a common view about the deployment of military forces in Afghanistan.
Declining Support for bin Laden and Suicide Bombing
Confidence in al Qaeda’s leader has dropped considerably in recent years, particularly in Indonesia, Pakistan and Jordan. Violence against civilians in defense of Islam is also increasingly seen as never justified.
Pakistan: Growing Concerns About Extremism, Continuing Discontent with U.S.
Pakistani public opinion has turned against al Qaeda and the Taliban, and concerns about Islamic extremism are widespread. At the same time, Pakistanis continue to express negative views of the U.S., although there is an openness to improving relations between the two countries.
Confidence in Obama Lifts U.S. Image Around the World
In many countries opinions of the United States are now about as positive as they were at the beginning of the decade before George W. Bush took office. Improvements in the U.S. image have been most pronounced in Western Europe, where favorable ratings for both the nation and the American people have soared. But opinions of America have also become more positive in key countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia, as well. Signs of improvement in views of America are seen even in some predominantly Muslim countries.
Views About Torture Remain Evenly Split
Amid intense debate over the use of torture against suspected terrorists, public opinion about this issue remains about equally divided overall, although Republicans are far more likely than Democrats to say it is at least sometimes justified.