In the last four national elections, generation has mattered more in American elections than it has in decades. This continues to be true as voters look ahead toward the 2012 general election. In a contest between President Obama and Mitt Romney, there is a 20-point gap in support for Obama between Millennials and the over-65 Silent generation.
President Obama is running about even in hypothetical matchups against Mitt Romney and Rick Perry. In the race for the GOP presidential nomination, Mitt Romney continues to hold a slim lead, with Rick Perry placing second and Herman Cain moving up to third.
Nearly six-in-ten Americans (58%) say they plan to watch President Obama’s speech Thursday night to a joint session of Congress about his plans to spur job growth and help the struggling national economy.
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.
The sizeable lead Barack Obama held over a generic Republican opponent in May has vanished. In the race to be the Republican who takes on Obama, Mitt Romney still leads, but Rick Perry is getting strong interest from the most engaged Republicans, and Michele Bachmann is the candidate Republicans have heard most about recently.
The public overwhelmingly favors a compromise in the debt ceiling standoff, with 68% saying they want lawmakers to agree to a deal even if they disagree with it. Republicans overall favor a compromise by a small majority, but those who identify with the tea party movement say their representatives should stick to their principles.
Despite the struggling economy and broad dissatisfaction with national conditions, the public has a positive view of the United States' global standing. But more think that the U.S. is one of the greatest countries in the world than say it stands above all other countries.
The emerging GOP field draws tepid ratings, and among the well-known candidates only Romney has broad potential appeal (most say there is no chance they would vote for Palin). In a hypothetical matchup, Obama continues to hold a sizable lead against a generic Republican opponent.
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.