As the House and Senate wrangle over President Bush’s proposed economic stimulus plan, most Americans remain pessimistic about the economy. According to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll conducted in January, nearly two-thirds of Americans believe there will be an economic recession in the next twelve months. A recent Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll finds similar anxiety: 79 percent of respondents, including strong majorities of Democrats (89 percent), Republicans (68 percent), and independents (78 percent), said it was likely that the nation could face an economic recession sometime in the next year.
Source: Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg, January 2008.
The race for the presidential nomination accelerated this week, as Republicans and Democrats in 24 states went to the polls for “Super Duper Tuesday.” According to Gallup’s 2007 figures, a slight majority (51 percent) of Americans say they identify as Democrats or lean toward the Democratic Party, while only 40 percent say they identify as Republicans or lean toward the GOP—the lowest percentage in the 20 years Gallup has been compiling annual averages. Many other polls affirm that, as a party, the Democrats are currently more popular than the Republicans. In a January 2008 NBC News/ Wall Street Journal poll, 47 percent of those surveyed said they felt “very” or “somewhat” positive about the Democratic Party, compared to only 34 percent who said that about the Republican Party. Source: Annual averages from the Gallup Organization.
Judging the Jury
Jury service has been called one of America’s "most important" civic duties. According to a recent poll from Harris Interactive, of the 65 percent of Americans that reported being called for jury duty, 55 percent said they actually served on a jury, a number that reflects 24 percent of the total U.S. population. Whether they have served or not, most Americans believe jury verdicts are fair. Fifty-eight percent of respondents said “most people who are on trial have a fair and impartial jury,” compared to 8 percent who said that “rarely” or “never” happens. Americans say they trust a jury (50 percent) more than a judge (23 percent) to give a fair verdict. But they have a different view of sentencing: just 31 percent of respondents said they would trust a jury more than a judge to give a fair sentence, while 48 percent said they would trust a judge more. Source: Harris Interactive, December 2007.
Kiss and Make Up?
Following this week's “Super Tuesday,” it’s still not clear who will win the Democratic nomination for president. But whether it’s Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama, a recent Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll suggests Democrats would like to see both candidates on the ticket. Sixty-two percent of likely Democratic primary voters, including 80 percent of African Americans, said that if Clinton is the nominee they would like her to choose Obama as a running mate. Meanwhile, 60 percent of likely Democratic primary voters said Obama should choose Clinton as a vice presidential candidate if he is the nominee. Women were particularly supportive of an Obama-Clinton ticket. Among likely Democratic primary voters, 67 percent of women said Obama should choose Clinton as his running mate, compared to 49 percent of men. Source: Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg, January 2008.
More Satisfied—in Some Areas
Despite their widespread pessimism about the economy and their dissatisfaction with the Bush administration, Americans today are more satisfied in some areas than they were before George W. Bush took office in 2001. According to the Gallup Organization, Americans are more satisfied with the nation’s laws or policies on guns, the amount they pay in federal income taxes, the state of race relations, the nation’s military strength, the position of minorities, and the position of women. In 13 of the other 28 areas Gallup examined, Americans indicated they were less satisfied today than they were before Bush entered the White House.
Source: The Gallup Organization, latest that of January 2008.