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Taking the public's pulse on business, politics, and culture, by KARLYN BOWMAN.
Party ID and Age 07/31/2014 

In a survey based on interviews with 267,321 adults aged 18 to 85 years old, Gallup was able to look at partisan identification in various age groups. In the overall sample, 44 percent called themselves Democrats or said they leaned to the Democratic Party, while 39 percent identified as Republicans. Although party identification varied greatly across all ages, Gallup found that the Democrats had a double-digit advantage at every age point from age 18 to 35. The GOP’s edge among seniors was not as large as the Democrats’ advantage among the young. At no point across the entire age spectrum did the GOP enjoy a double-digit advantage. 

Undocumented Immigrants 07/29/2014 

ABC News and the Washington Post recently asked adults about how President Obama and, separately, the Republicans in Congress were handling the issue of undocumented immigrants coming into the United States over the border with Mexico. Only a third approved of the job the president was doing, while 58 percent disapproved. As for the Republicans in Congress, 23 percent approved, while 66 percent disapproved. Among Independents, 28 percent approved of the job Obama was doing. Just 22 percent of them approved of the GOP in Congress.

Can Religion Answer Today's Problems? 07/24/2014 

In 1957, when the Gallup Organization asked adults if religion could answer all or most of today’s problems, 82 percent said it could. The next time Gallup asked the question in the mid-1970s, 62 percent agreed. When Gallup repeated the question this May, a smaller but still solid majority, 57 percent, said it could, while 30 percent said that religion was largely old-fashioned and out of date. Those who attend church weekly are much more likely than those who have no religious identification to say religion can answer today’s problems, 84 and 21 percent, respectively.

Obama and Iraq 07/22/2014 

In new polls, President Obama gets low marks for handling the situation in Iraq. In the new CBS News/New York Times poll, for example, just 37 percent of adults approve of the job he is doing there. Yet in another question in the poll, a plurality (41 percent) say he is doing the right amount to stem the violence there. Twenty-nine percent say he should do more; 22 percent said he should do less.

Exporting Democracy 07/17/2014 

In a new CBS News/New York Times poll on the situation in Iraq, 37 percent of adults said the United States has a responsibility to make sure Iraq is a stable democracy, but 57 percent said the country does not. Half of Republicans and 61 percent of Democrats said Iraq’s stability was not our responsibility. Although Americans agree that the world would be safer with more democracies, they aren’t sure we know enough to produce stable ones.

Gun Control 07/16/2014 

When the Pew Research Center asked adults what was more important to them, 49 percent said it was to protect the right of Americans to own guns, while a virtually identical 48 percent said it was more important to control gun ownership. A recent Quinnipiac University poll of registered voters also found a pretty even split: 50 percent supported stricter gun control laws, while 47 percent opposed them.

Free Trade 07/10/2014 

A newly released Pew Research Center survey finds that 59 percent of adults think free trade agreements between the United States and other countries have been a good thing for the United States, while 30 percent disagreed. Pew asked the question in 2009 and again in 2011, and the new responses are the most positive. Although Pew did not include the question in its new survey, the last time the polling organization asked about specific free trade agreements like NAFTA, more people said it was a bad thing (44 percent) than a good thing (35 percent) for the United States.

Closing Gitmo 07/08/2014 

In a new Fox News poll, 52 percent of registered voters said they wanted to continue to hold terrorist suspects in the military prison at Guantanamo, while 36 percent said it was time to move them to federal prisons in the United States and close Guantanamo. Early in the Obama administration, in January 2009, in response to a slightly different question, more people (47 percent) said it should be closed than kept open (45 percent). In the abstract, Americans liked the idea of closing the base, but when the possible implications of closing it — putting terrorists suspects in federal prisons — became clear, Americans changed their minds. 

Obama's Foreign Policy 07/03/2014 

When President Barack Obama entered office, his marks on handling foreign policy were high. The public applauded the president’s decisions to draw down troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. But today Americans are critical of the job he is doing. A new poll of registered voters by Fox News finds that only 32 percent, an all-time low in Fox’s polling, approve of the way the president is handling foreign policy. A new CBS News/New York Times poll of adults revealed that 37 percent supported the way he is handling the situation in Iraq. Two-thirds say the president hasn’t explained his goals there.

Morality Redefined 07/01/2014 

Since 2002, the Gallup Organization has been asking adults every year whether certain behaviors or practices are morally acceptable. In their latest poll, large majorities of adults said birth control (90 percent) and divorce (69 percent) were morally acceptable. At the bottom of Gallup’s list in terms of acceptability were polygamy (14 percent), cloning humans (13 percent), and extramarital affairs (7 percent). In the new poll, 58 percent of adults (up from 45 percent in 2002) said having a baby out of marriage was morally acceptable. Forty percent of Republicans and 72 percent of Democrats agreed.