As Congress gears up for debate over the tax cuts passed when Bush was president, the public is divided, with roughly equal numbers in favor of keeping all of Bush's tax cuts, repealing only those for wealthy Americans, or scrapping them entirely.
A year-long study finds that, as a group, African Americans attracted relatively little attention in the U.S. mainstream news media during the first year of Barack Obama's presidency -- and what coverage there was tended to focus more on specific episodes than on broader issues and trends affecting the lives of blacks generally.
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."
The president gets an enthusiastic thumbs up from the world (with the notable exception of the U.S.) for the way he has handled the world economic crisis. Obama's personal popularity remains high, as do favorable views of the U.S. In a striking difference from the Bush years, while many around the world disagree with Obama's foreign policies, the U.S. image has not been significantly dented as a result. Muslim countries, however, continue to hold a negative view of America and most also give Obama unfavorable ratings.
For the first time, slightly more say the impact of Obama's economic policies has been negative rather than positive; many see recovery as distant; views on financial reforms are mixed.
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.
By almost every conceivable measure Americans are less positive and more critical of government these days.
Pope Benedict XVI, though he made no visits to the United States last year, was the subject of two of the top 10 religion stories, while the Obama administration accounted for three of the top 10 religion-focused storylines during the year
Americans don't favor the current health care reform legislation, but most opponents prefer a new bill to no bill and more see their health care costs rising without reform than with it. Nearly everyone gives the national economy a negative rating; 70% of Americans say they have faced one or more job or financial-related problems in the past year
When President Barack Obama travels to Indonesia he will visit a country where his personal popularity has dramatically transformed America's image.