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.
Political attitudes have become more doctrinaire at both ends of the ideological spectrum. Yet at the same time, the growing center of the political spectrum is increasingly diverse. As an in-depth guide to the political landscape, the 2011 Political Typology sorts Americans into cohesive groups based on their values, political beliefs and party affiliation.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Views about federal spending are beginning to change. Americans no longer call for more spending on many popular programs. Still, support for cutting spending remains limited, though in a few cases it has risen noticeably. The public remains reluctant either to cut spending -- or to raise taxes - to balance state budgets.
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.
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.
Two years ahead of the next presidential election, the public is divided (47% yes, 42% no ) over whether Barack Obama should run for a second term. However, this is better than the outlook for Ronald Reagan in August 1982