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.
While it is not unusual for foreign policy to take a back seat during difficult economic times, the absence of concern at a time when American troops are fighting a war in Afghanistan, and the threat of terrorism remains high is remarkable.
While global publics largely take a positive view of the president's leadership and foreign policy, he receives his lowest marks on dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict -- and his ratings on this issue are especially negative in the Arab nations of the Middle East.
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.
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.