Job Anxiety: The president mentioned jobs a dozen times in his Rose Garden remarks this week. It’s hardly surprising. Eighty-two percent of respondents in a July ABC News/Washington Post poll said jobs are difficult to find where they live. Only 14 percent said there are plenty of jobs available. Half said jobs were very difficult to find. For those who had had a layoff in their household, 68 percent say jobs are very difficult to find. AEI’s new Political Report examines job, personal finance, healthcare, and housing anxiety.
Another Stimulus?: Well, not if the last one is the model. NBC News and the Wall Street Journal recently updated a question the pollsters asked for the first time in July 2009. In four askings, around 40 percent have said that the2009 stimulus plan would not help the economy. In the new June question, 19 percent said the stimulus was already helping the economy, 15 percent that it would help the economy in the future, and 45 percent that it would not help.
Budget Amendment: This year, as in the mid-1990s when the issue was last hot, nearly all polls show support for a balanced budget in the abstract. But when asked about possible consequences of passing such an amendment, opinion shifts. In June 2011, for example, 72 percent told Fox News interviewers they favored a balanced budget amendment and 20 percent were opposed. When asked if they would favor one if it meant major spending cuts to entitlement programs, only 31 percent signed on. Thirty-four percent favored the amendment if it meant tax increases for every American.
Conservatives Lead: Gallup recently looked at people’s self-reported ideology for the first six months of 2011. Forty-one percent of those surveyed called themselves conservatives, 36 percent moderates, and 21 percent liberals. If the pattern holds, Gallup says, 2011 will be the third year in a row in which conservatives have outnumbered moderates (and liberals) since Gallup started doing these yearly compilations in 1992.
The poll also confirms what we know about increased polarization. Taken together, self-identified conservatives and liberals were 53 percent of the population in 1992. Today they are 62 percent. The number in the middle is declining.
Muslims in America: Gallup released the results this week of an exhaustive study of Muslims in America, updating a 2009 study on their political, social, and civic views. The complex methodology yielded a large sample of self-identified Muslim Americans. The report documents their optimism about their communities and their future, their strong support for President Obama, and their loyalty to the United States and rejection of Al Qaeda. Self-identified American Muslims were more likely than other religious groups to view U.S. involvement in Iraq as a mistake. Forty-seven percent of them (and 47 percent of those with no religious affiliation) viewed America’s involvement in Afghanistan as a mistake, too. Other religious groups were less likely to call it a mistake.
Cut the Spending: Sixty-five percent in an August 1 CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll approved of the spending cuts in the debt ceiling deal, and 30 percent were opposed. Of those who were opposed, 18 percent said it was because the cuts went too far, but almost as many, 15 percent, said it was because they didn’t go far enough. The deal has not gotten great reviews from other pollsters.
A New Low: In the wake of the debt ceiling agreement, 82 percent told CBS and New York Times pollsters that they disapprove of the way Congress is doing its job—the highest percentage in the poll’s history dating back to 1977. Only 14 percent approved. The previous high of 77 percent disapproval occurred in May 2010.