Soaring concern about the economy has displaced the Iraq War as the top priority issue among voters. Ambivalent and contradictory public opinions further complicate the role that the conflict will play in the November election.
The proportion of Americans who say that the earth is getting warmer has decreased modestly since January 2007, mostly because of a decline among Republicans.
Presidential challengers -- and the ultimate winner -- will face a public that is disillusioned, downbeat and partisan about foreign affairs but far from clear about what it wants done.
The public remains conflicted in its approach toward energy and the environment, but 55% favor more conservation and regulation compared with 35% who support expanded exploration. Fully 90% favor tighter auto fuel standards.
But candidates' perceptions on economic growth and tax cuts diverge from overall public priorities.
Republicans' concerns about climate change have fallen through the floor. Just 12% now call it a top priority for policymakers.
Republicans and Democrats agree the economy should be a top priority for the president and Congress, but they differ more than ever on the importance of other domestic issues -- such as global warming and health insurance for the uninsured.
For the first time in a long time, nearly half of Americans express positive opinions about the situation in Iraq and judgments about the overall situation in Iraq have been improving steadily since the summer.
A year before the 2008 presidential election, most major national opinion trends decidedly favor the Democrats and discontent with the state of the nation is markedly greater than it was four years ago. Also, Republicans have become less likely to say that their party is doing a good job standing up for its traditional positions.
Though much courted by GOP candidates, the impact of this voting bloc on the presidential nominating process remains unclear.