The Honorable Services
The military is the most trusted institution in American life. And according to a recent Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll, Americans think it is the most honorable as well. Thirty-eight percent of respondents described military leaders as the "most honorable," followed closely by 34 percent who said clergy. Journalists and political leaders rounded out the bottom of the list, with 9 percent describing journalists as the "most honorable" and 4 percent describing political leaders that way.
Source: Fox News/Opinion Dynamics, December 2007.
According to an online poll by Harris Interactive, Americans are divided about the potential gains from economic growth. In the November poll, participants were asked to choose between two different viewpoints on growth. Forty-seven percent agreed that “growth would bring many benefits and advantages,” and therefore should be “encouraged and fostered.” But 48 percent said that growth would “jeopardize the quality of life for residents,” and therefore should be “managed and limited.” When Harris asked the question in May 2006, public opinion was similarly split.
Gains from Growth?
Source: Harris Interactive, November 2007.
The Cost of Care
With rising expenditures, Americans continue to view health care as one of the most important issues in the 2008 election, topped only by the Iraq war and the economy. Still, in Kaiser/Pew’s most recent Global Health Survey, less than one-tenth (8 percent) of Americans said that there had been a time in the past year when they did not have enough money to pay for the medical care their families needed. When asked a broader question by Gallup, the results were slightly different. Three in ten said that there had been a time in the past year when they or a member of their family put off medical treatment because of the cost they would have to pay, up from 22 percent that said that in 1991. Source: Kaiser Family Foundation and the Pew Global Health Survey, December 2007; The Gallup Organization, November 2007.
Presidential Aspirations and Black Progress
In 1958, when Gallup asked Americans whether they would vote for a well-qualified person “who happened to be a Negro” for president, 37 percent of Americans said they would. By 1967, the year before Martin Luther King’s assassination, a small majority (53 percent) gave that response. Last year, when Gallup asked about Americans’ willingness to vote for a well-qualified black person for president, 93 percent said they would. On many other issues, including interracial marriage and equal employment opportunity, public opinion data suggest that prejudice against African Americans has diminished significantly.
Source: Pew Research Center, January-October, 2007.
A Happiness Gap
Can political affiliation help predict a person’s self-reported happiness? According to a recent Gallup poll, Republicans are more likely than Democrats or independents to report satisfaction with the way things are going in their personal lives. Their reported happiness is slightly higher, too. Notably few respondents—of any political persuasion—reported negative attitudes. Less than 10 percent of each group—Republicans, Democrats, and independents—reported being “very dissatisfied” or “not too happy."
Source: The Gallup Organization, combined analysis of three surveys conducted between December 2005-December 2007.