As the current decade draws to a close, relatively few Americans have positive things to say about it. But major technological and communications advances are viewed in an overwhelmingly positive light.
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.
Faith-based initiatives remain popular eight years after President Bush unveiled his plan, but church-state concerns remain and not all religions garner high support for receiving funds. Also, 9% of Americans say they recently have turned to religious groups to help make ends meet.
Americans are famous both for being weight conscious, and at the same time unable to come to terms successfully with their bloated waistlines. The same paradox has applied to how the public looks at budget deficits for a very long time.
The mood of America is glum. Most are dissatisfied with the state of the nation, economic conditions, personal finances and an increasing number say the war in Afghanistan is not going well. Still, a majority continues to approve of Obama's job as president.
Most Americans remain optimistic that Barack Obama’s policies will help the economy, but see no clear signs of recovery yet; many key provisions of health care reform remain popular but support for the overall package has slipped.
Much of the opposition to health care reform today is being fueled by anti-government sentiment that did not exist during the mid-1960's.
While Obama adopted much of the program put into place by Bush, it has generated little of the contentious press coverage sparked by his predecessor's effort.
Support for Obama's job performance -- as well as his handling of health care, the economy and deficit--has fallen, but most remain confident his policies will be positive in the long term. The public supports many of his health care goals but opposes many proposals being debated in Congress.
A new survey of scientists and the public finds large majorities holding positive views of science. But scientists are concerned about Americans' ignorance of scientific findings and large differences exist between the two groups' views on evolution and global warming. Still, overwhelming percentages in both groups think that government investments in science and technology pay off in the long run.