Religion in the News: 2009
Pope Benedict XVI, though he made no visits to the United States last year, was the subject of two of the top 10 religion stories, while the Obama administration accounted for three of the top 10 religion-focused storylines during the year
Public’s Economic Woes Persist
Americans don’t favor the current health care reform legislation, but most opponents prefer a new bill to no bill and more see their health care costs rising without reform than with it. Nearly everyone gives the national economy a negative rating; 70% of Americans say they have faced one or more job or financial-related problems in the past year
Indonesia: The Obama Effect
When President Barack Obama travels to Indonesia he will visit a country where his personal popularity has dramatically transformed America’s image.
Restoring America’s Reputation in the World
Pew Global Attitudes surveys chronicled the rise of anti-Americanism around the world for much of the past decade and its sharp recession in many countries following the election of President Barack Obama. However, this improving trend may be more fragile than it would be if it had been based on views of his specific policies.
Midterm Election Challenges for Both Parties
Opinions of the Republican Party have improved significantly but still far more people blame the GOP for the poor economy than blame the Democrats. Anti-incumbent sentiment runs high: three-in-ten don’t want to see their current representative reelected. Financial institutions remain a major target of public anger.
Michelle Obama’s Strong Personal Image
The first lady is more popular than either her husband or her two immediate predecessors.
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.
Obama’s 2010 Challenge: Wake Up Liberals, Calm Down Independents
His approval has slipped, but is not much different from where Reagan stood at this point in his term. But the public’s conservative shift could be trouble for the president.
At Year’s End, Nation Remains Divided
As has been the case since October, roughly half the country approves of President Obama’s job. The nation is also divided on Afghanistan and health care. One rare point of agreement, though, is that the economy remains poor.
Religion, Race – and Obama
A religious scholar discusses the president-elect’s place in the nation’s historical tension between religion and politics and examines the role of black churches as well as the controversy surrounding the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.