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
As the 2010 midterm elections near, Republican engagement and enthusiasm continue at record levels, outpacing even improved Democratic showings on these indicators. The growing popularity of early voting -- about a quarter of voters nationally say they plan to vote before Election Day -- gives Democrats less time to make up ground and there is no indication that their voter mobilization efforts are outmatching Republican efforts.
With just over a month to go before the midterm elections, the latest Congressional Connection poll finds that the public by a wide margin says Barack Obama has done a better job than Republican congressional leaders in explaining his plans and vision for the country.
A substantial and growing number of Americans say that Barack Obama is a Muslim, while the proportion saying he is a Christian has declined.
As Congress gears up for debate over the tax cuts passed when Bush was president, the public is divided, with roughly equal numbers in favor of keeping all of Bush's tax cuts, repealing only those for wealthy Americans, or scrapping them entirely.
While facing a controversial health care bill, a high jobless rate and the largest environmental disaster in the nation's history, the president's approval rating (48%) hasn't moved this year. A majority now opposes increased offshore drilling, but a large partisan split remains. Americans back Arizona's tough immigration law, but also support a "path to citizenship."
For the first time, slightly more say the impact of Obama's economic policies has been negative rather than positive; many see recovery as distant; views on financial reforms are mixed.
As has been the case for most of the past two years, about nine-in-ten rate national economic conditions as only fair or poor. As a political consequence, the Democratic Party has lost ground to the Republican Party on a wide range of issues, including the job situation.
By almost every conceivable measure Americans are less positive and more critical of government these days.