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.
Nearly three years after the financial crisis that sent the nation’s economy into a tailspin, the public expresses mixed views of Wall Street.
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.
March 25, 2011 marks the 100-year anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, a disaster widely credited with strengthening the still nascent labor union movement in the United States. Public approval of unions, which peaked in during the Depression era when many worker protections were put into law, has had its ups and downs but has hit new lows in recent years.
In its Topic A feature, the Washington Post asked several experts -- among them the Pew Research Center's Director of Survey Research Scott Keeter -- who's winning and who's losing in the fight over public-employee unions.
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.
By a 42%-31% margin, the public sides with public employee unions in their dispute with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. At the federal level, President Obama and GOP leaders would share blame for a government shutdown.
The bitter fight over union rights in Wisconsin calls to mind a labor battle that helped define the first year of Ronald Reagan's presidency.
Favorability ratings for labor unions remain at nearly their lowest level in a quarter century with virtually no differences in opinions about private and public sector unions. Yet the public now expresses similar opinions about business corporations whose rating is also near a historic low.