In 2007, Mood Just Beginning to Sour, Democrats Better Regarded
As another presidential election year approaches, the political and economic landscape has changed in a number of ways since four years ago. The public’s mood was not very good, but still a lot better than it is today.
Press Widely Criticized, But Trusted More than Other Sources of Information
Negative opinions about the performance of news organizations now equal or surpass all-time highs on nine of 12 core measures the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press has been tracking since 1985.
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.
Views of Tea Party Supporters in Congress Grow More Negative
More Americans now think that members of Congress who support the Tea Party are having a negative effect than said that in January, at the start of the new Congress.
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.