The public continues to be divided over many of the anti-terrorism policies that arose in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks ten years ago. These differences extend to opinions about whether U.S. wrongdoing prior to 9/11 may have motivated the attacks.
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.
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.
Relief and pride are the prevailing emotional responses to Sunday's dramatic events. Obama's approval rating has jumped, and he gets far more credit from the public than does George W. Bush for bin Laden's killing. Still, the military and CIA receive most of the credit.
The killing of Osama bin Laden has bolstered confidence that the government can prevent a possible terrorist attack, and that the U.S. will achieve its goals in Afghanistan. But an overnight Pew Research/Washington Post poll finds the public remains divided about keeping U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
Views of the Patriot Act have changed little since the Bush administration, with slightly more Americans currently saying it is a necessary security tool rather than a threat to civil liberties. Democrats are now somewhat more supportive of the law.
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.