- Benghazi Fallout 06/19/2013
Perhaps more important than the pollsters’ questions about how much attention Americans are paying to the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi are questions about President Obama’s handling of the attack and public confidence in future actions of the administration. A new opt-in Internet poll from the Economist and YouGov asks about both. In the poll, 29 percent of respondents approved of the way the president handled the attack and 44 percent disapproved. The “not sure” response was substantial, at 27 percent. Forty-four percent said they are confident that the administration and the State Department are taking the right steps to prevent future attacks, while 47 percent are not.
- IRS Power 06/17/2013
In the late 1990s, Congress held hearings on IRS performance that led to passage of the Internal Revenue Service Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998. Several pollsters asked questions at that time about whether the IRS used its powers responsibly. In one question from a Gallup/CNN/USA Today poll, 62 percent of respondents said the agency abused its powers, while 34 percent said it used its powers responsibly. An NBC/Wall Street Journal question found that 70 percent thought IRS unethical behavior occurred fairly regularly, while 19 percent said that recent incidents had been isolated ones. Similar questions haven’t been asked in recent years. A few pollsters, however, have asked about abolishing the IRS. The latest, from a 2010 CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll, found that 26 percent wanted to abolish the agency. Confidence in the IRS in a new Fox News poll stands at 42 percent, down from 67 percent in 2002.
- Brits and the EU 06/13/2013
Forty-three percent of Brits had a favorable view of the European Union in a new Pew Research Center survey, while 48 percent had an unfavorable one. Only 7 percent of Brits had a very favorable view. Twenty-one percent favored giving more decision-making power to the EU to deal with current European economic problems, while a substantial majority, 71 percent, were opposed. Twenty-six percent said Britain would be strengthened in the long run by European economic integration, while two-thirds disagreed. When asked how they would vote today, Brits were split evenly about remaining in or leaving the European Union.
- Role of Government 06/12/2013
In the May Reason/Rupe poll, 48 percent of respondents said they agreed with the statement “the less government the better” while 47 percent said they agreed with the statement “there are more things government should be doing.” In another question in the poll, 45 percent said we need a strong government to handle today’s complex economic problems, while 51 percent said people would be better able to handle them within a free market with less government regulation.
- TSA Measures 06/10/2013
The May Reason/Rupe poll asked people about three security measures in airports. Fifty-nine percent of respondents said TSA’s ban on pocket-sized knives was needed to prevent a terrorist attack, while 38 percent said it wasn’t necessary. Fifty-eight percent said TSA’s requirement that travelers take off their shoes was necessary, 39 percent said it wasn’t. When asked about TSA’s ban on regular-sized bottles of shampoo and other toiletries, 44 percent said this was necessary, but 51 percent said it was not.
- Opinions on Obamacare 06/07/2013
House Republicans voted recently to repeal Obamacare. According to news reports, this was the 37th time GOP lawmakers have led an effort to repeal all or part of the law. How do Americans feel about Obamacare today? A new poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation finds that 35 percent of respondents have a favorable view and 40 percent an unfavorable one. In the new opt-in Internet Economist/YouGov poll, people were asked whether they would pay more either in taxes or insurance costs under the new law, and 55 percent said they would. In another question that asked about the kind of care they would get under the law, 12 percent said it would be better, 42 percent thought it would be about the same, and 36 percent predicted it would be worse.
- EU Unpopular 06/03/2013
The Pew Research Center recently surveyed opinion in eight European nations about the European project. In Germany, Britain, France, Spain, Italy, Poland, and Greece, unfavorable views of the European Union have risen since 2012. Only in the Czech Republic were people slightly more positive than they were a year ago. In all eight countries, the median response in terms of EU favorability was 60 percent in 2012 and 45 percent in 2013. Gloom about economic conditions is widespread in these countries. Just 1 percent of Greeks, 3 percent of Italians, 4 percent of Spanish, and 9 percent of French respondents think economic conditions are good. German opinion looks very different. Seventy-five percent of respondents in Germany say conditions are good.
- Egyptian Pessimism 05/30/2013
After Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was overthrown, a majority of Egyptians (56 percent) were optimistic about economic improvement in their country. Today, only 29 percent of Egyptians polled in a new Pew Research Center survey expect their economy to improve in the next 12 months. Only 30 percent were positive about the way things are going in Egypt. In 2011, 65 percent gave that response. In the survey, 53 percent of respondents had a favorable impression of the current president Muhammad Morsi.
Note: The survey was conducted face-to-face throughout Egypt, except for the Frontier governates, where 2 percent of Egyptians live. They were excluded for security reasons.
Source: Pew Research Center, latest that of March 2013.
- Nurture or Nature? 05/28/2013
Is a person’s sexual orientation determined at birth or by external factors? Gallup asked people about this in a recent poll and found significant changes in opinions since 1977, when they first asked the question. That year, 13 percent of respondents said being gay or lesbian was “something a person is born with,” while 56 percent said it was due to “factors such as upbringing or environment.” Today, 47 percent say it is something a person is born with, while a third say it is due to external factors. In recent years, perhaps the most interesting change comes among the young. In 2011, more young people selected upbringing and environment (47 percent) than something you are born with (38 percent), but today 49 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds say homosexuality is something a person is born with and 33 percent attribute it to external factors.
Source: The Gallup Organization, latest that of May 2013.
- Retiring Late 05/23/2013
Since the early 1990s, Gallup has been asking retirees at what age they retired, and the average age has been going up. In 1991, it was 57. Today it is 61. In the new poll, more non-retirees said they expected to delay their retirement past age 65, so the average age in these surveys will mostly likely continue to increase.
Note: Selected years shown.
Source: The Gallup Organization, latest that of April 2013.