- Dealing with Inequality 03/05/2014
A 2013 poll by Reason-Rupe showed that 61 percent of adults believe it is not the responsibility of government to reduce income differences between those with high and low incomes. Other polls, such as the accompanying one from CBS, show that people are divided about whether government should do more to reduce the gap. The new edition of AEI’s Political Report examines attitudes about inequality in depth.
- Household Finances 02/28/2014
A new poll by NBC News and Marist College examines some of the financial difficulties Americans are facing today. In the poll, 24 percent of adults described their own financial situation as strong, 39 percent somewhat strong, 20 percent somewhat weak, and 17 percent weak. In another question, 9 percent said that the amount of money they owed overwhelmed them, while 35 percent said it was manageable but still worried them. Fifty-five percent of respondents said their debt was under control. Sixty-three percent said they were eating out less compared to a year ago, and 64 percent said they had postponed buying a big ticket item like a TV or new car for financial reasons.
- Hillary Clinton and John Kerry 02/26/2014
A new poll from CNN and the Opinion Research Corporation asks people about how Hillary Clinton handled her job as secretary of State and how John Kerry is handling the job now. Sixty-two percent of respondents said they approved of the way Clinton handled the job, while 35 percent disapproved. When asked about how Kerry is handling the job now, 49 percent approved and 34 percent disapproved. Seventeen percent didn’t have an opinion.
- Getting Ahead 02/21/2014
In a new poll, 54 percent of adults told Gallup that they were satisfied with Americans’ opportunities to get ahead by working hard. In the halcyon economic times around the turn of the century, 76 percent gave that response. Before the financial crisis hit in 2008, 68 percent did. The February 2014 AEI Political Report examines attitudes about inequality.
Note: Not all points in the trend are shown.
- Food Fights 02/12/2014
In the new Reason-Rupe poll, people were asked whether the government should prohibit or allow people to do certain things. Two of the items related to food and drink. Seventy-six percent of those polled said government should allow people to buy caffeinated energy drinks and 71 percent said they should be able to buy foods with trans fats. Around 20 percent wanted government to prohibit the purchase of these products.
- Mandatory Minimum Sentences 02/10/2014
Controversy has been brewing for some time about mandatory minimum prison sentences for nonviolent offenders. In the December Reason-Rupe poll, adults were asked whether they favored or opposed eliminating them "so that judges have the ability to make sentencing decisions on a case-by-case basis." Seventy-one percent of those polled were in favor, while 24 percent were opposed.
- The American Dream 02/07/2014
In a new poll from Fox News, 62 percent of registered voters said that if an individual works hard, he or she can still achieve the American Dream of “making a decent living, owning a home, and sending their children to college.” Thirty-four percent said this was not possible. A majority of Republicans (61 percent), Democrats (65 percent), and Independents (57 percent) agreed it was possible. Young people were more optimistic about the prospects than older ones.
- Defense Spending 02/05/2014
Americans recognize that the world is a dangerous place. In a new poll conducted by the Pew Research Center, 23 percent of those polled said that we should increase defense spending, 47 percent said to keep it about where it is now, and 28 percent said cut it back. More than half of the public in the poll (56 percent) say U.S. policies should try to keep America as the only military superpower, while 32 percent say it would be acceptable if China, another country, or the European Union became as powerful militarily as the United States.
- Obamacare’s Effects 01/30/2014
The Kaiser Family Foundation has been surveying American attitudes about the Affordable Care Act since before its passage in 2010. In its latest poll, views about the law were more negative than positive, as they have been for several years. Thirty-four percent of adults polled had a favorable view of the law, and 48 percent an unfavorable view (including 36 percent with a very unfavorable view). In another question, 11 percent said their family had benefited from the law. Twenty-six percent said their family had been negatively affected by it.
- Whatever 01/28/2014
For five years, pollsters at the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion have asked adults about the words and phrases they find most annoying in conversation. This year, for the fifth time, “whatever” topped the list at 38 percent. Next in line was “like” (22 percent), “you know” (18 percent), and “just saying” (14 percent). Fewer than 10 percent chose “obviously.” As for words Americans would like to eliminate next year, “Obamacare” was at the top of the list (41 percent) followed by “shutdown” (30 percent).