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.
As gas prices soar, many Americans pin the blame on greed or a push for higher profits among oil companies, speculators and oil-producing nations.
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.
Support for the increased use of nuclear power has declined amid the ongoing nuclear emergency in Japan. But with the surge in gas prices, support for increased offshore oil and gas drilling is growing.
A majority of Americans say the earth is warming, but far fewer than said so in 2006. The decline has come mostly from Republicans, and very few Tea Party supporters say there is solid evidence of global warming. Also, the public is divided on the question of whether scientists themselves agree that the earth is warming.
Senior research staff answer questions from readers relating to all the areas covered by our seven projects, ranging from polling techniques and findings, to media, technology, religious, demographic and global attitudes trends.
At a time when global publics are mostly glum, half of Brazilians say they are satisfied with national conditions, and 62% say their economy is in good shape. Most also see their country as a rising global power.
Religious beliefs continue to be influential in shaping some Americans' views about social issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage. Far fewer cite religion as a top influence on issues such as immigration, the environment and poverty.
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."
Most Americans envision a future where cancer is cured and space travel is for everyone. But they also see a world beset by war, energy shortages and a terrorist attack with nuclear weapons. Still, most see a better future for themselves and the nation over the next four decades.