Obama Draws More Confidence than Boehner, McConnell or Cantor on Debt Ceiling
Americans have more confidence in President Obama than other key players to do the right thing on the debt issue, but that amounts to only about half of the public. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor gets the lowest vote of confidence, although that is partly because he is less well-known.
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.
Public Remains Divided Over the Patriot Act
Views of the Patriot Act have changed little since the Bush administration, with slightly more Americans currently saying it is a necessary security tool rather than a threat to civil liberties. Democrats are now somewhat more supportive of the law.
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.
Taxed Enough Already?
Despite all the animosity aimed at Washington, one usual political punching bag is actually not seen as villainous as it once was: taxes. More say they pay about the right amount in taxes than say they pay more than their fair share.
Proud Patriots — and Harsh Critics of Government
Nearly all Americans consider themselves patriotic and voice pride in being American. But many of those who voice strong patriotism and pride in the country also are highly critical of the federal government and its political leaders.
How Americans Interact with Government Online
Fully 82% of internet users (61% of all Americans) looked for information or completed a transaction on a government website in the past year. Most government website visitors were happy with their experience, accomplishing everything or much of what they wanted to do.
Distrust, Discontent, Anger and Partisan Rancor
By almost every conceivable measure Americans are less positive and more critical of government these days.
Data: Public Trust in Government: 1958-2010
Data from Pew Research Center, National Election Studies, Gallup, ABC/Washington Post, CBS/New York Times, and CNN Polls.