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AEI's Political Report May 2011: The Latest Polls on Obama, the Military, and the Economy

AEI's Political Report May 2011: The Latest Polls on Obama, the Military, and the Economy

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May's Political Report examines American public opinion on a variety of topics now in the news:

* The military is the top institution in American life. Three quarters give it high marks; 11 percent give Congress high marks.
* Most Americans give the military the lion’s share of credit for the mission to kill Osama bin Ladan.
* The Bin Laden Bump: Obama’s ratings are up. His handling of the economy isn’t.
* Large numbers think we are in a depression or a recession.
* Gas prices continue to drive negative assessments of the economy.
* Does Obama deserve re-election? We examine four major pollsters’ questions.
* Americans on the move: Geographically, the U.S. population is moving south and west. Most Americans live close to where they were born, and 42 percent have a valid passport.

For a complete listing of Political Reports, click here or visit AEI's Political Corner.
May's Political Report examines American public opinion on a variety of topics now in the news:

* The military is the top institution in American life. Three quarters give it high marks; 11 percent give Congress high marks.
* Most Americans give the military the lion’s share of credit for the mission to kill Osama bin Ladan.
* The Bin Laden Bump: Obama’s ratings are up. His handling of the economy isn’t.
* Large numbers think we are in a depression or a recession.
* Gas prices continue to drive negative assessments of the economy.
* Does Obama deserve re-election? We examine four major pollsters’ questions.
* Americans on the move: Geographically, the U.S. population is moving south and west. Most Americans live close to where they were born, and 42 percent have a valid passport.

For a complete listing of Political Reports, click here or visit AEI's Political Corner.

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: American Enterprise Institute on May 16, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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05/16/2011

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Volume 7, Issue 5 • May 2011
A M
O N T H L Y
P
O L L
C
O M P I L A T I O N
1150 Seventeenth Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036 202.862.5800www.aei.org
The Military and Memorial Day 
Even before the Navy SEALs’ raid on Osama bin Laden’s hiding place in Pakistan, the military was the most highly ranked institution in American life. Three-quarters in Gallup’s June 2010 poll said they had a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in it. Most Americans gave the military the lion’s share of the credit for the mission.A new poll from thePew Research Centertells us that a third of the population hasserved or has had some-one in their householdserve in the military orthe reserves. As weapproach MemorialDay, we look at viewsabout the military andremember the serviceand sacrifice of menand women in uniform.
Q: Now I am going toread you a list of insti-tutions in American society. Please tell mehow much confidence you, yourself, have ineach one . . . .
Great deal/ Quite a lotof confidence76%Some18%Very little/None4%0102030405060708090100
   1   9   7   5   1   9   7   7   1   9   7   9   1   9   8   1   1   9   8   3   1   9   8   5   1   9   8   7   1   9   8   9   1   9   9   1   1   9   9   3   1   9   9   5   1   9   9   7   1   9   9   9   2   0   0   1   2   0   0   3   2   0   0   5   2   0   0   7   2   0   0   9
76%11%01020304050607080Great Deal/Quite a lot of confidence
   T   h  e  m   i   l   i   t  a  r  y   S  m  a   l   l   b  u  s   i  n  e  s  s   T   h  e  p  o   l   i  c  e   T   h  e  m  e   d   i  c  a   l  s  y  s   t  e  m   T   h  e  p  r  e  s   i   d  e  n  c  y   U .   S .   S  u  p  r  e  m  e   C  o  u  r   t   T   h  e  p  u   b   l   i  c  s  c   h  o  o   l  s   N  e  w  s  p  a  p  e  r  s   B  a  n   k  s   T  e   l  e  v   i  s   i  o  n  n  e  w  s   O  r  g  a  n   i  z  e   d   l  a   b  o  r   H   M   O  s   B   i  g   b  u  s   i  n  e  s  s   C  o  n  g  r  e  s  s   T   h  e  c   h  u  r  c   h   /  o  r  g  a  n   i  z  e   d  r  e   l   i  g   i  o  n   T   h  e  c  r   i  m   i  n  a   l   j  u  s   t   i  c  e  s  y  s   t  e  m
Source: Gallup, latest that of June 2010.Source: Gallup, latest that of June 2010.
Confidence in the military
 
Great deal/Quite a lot of confidence, 2010
(continued on the next page)
 
1150 Seventeenth Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036 202.862.5800www.aei.org
2
Q: How much credit, if any, do you think ____ should get for the killing of Osama bin Laden?
Great deal/Quite a lot of creditNot much/None
The U.S. military97%2%The CIA and other U.S.intelligence agencies896Barack Obama7621George W. Bush5146
Source: Pew/ 
Washington Post 
, May 2011.
Q: Do you think that we should increase our spending on national defense, keep it about the same, or cut it back?
Note: In September 2000, question asked of registered voters.Source: Chicago Council for Global Affairs, 1978 to October 1994; PSRA/Pew Research Center, latest that of February–March 2011.
Q: I’m going to read you some pairs of statements that will help us understand how you feel about a number of things. As I read each pair, tell me whether the first statement or the second statement comes closer to your own views . . .
We should all be willing to fight for our country, whether it is right or wrong45%Its acceptable to refuse to fight in a war you believe is morally wrong48
Source: PSRA/Pew Research Center, February–March 2011.
(continued from the previous page)
Increase13%Keep same spending53%Cut back30%0102030405060
   N  o  v   1   9   7   8   J  u   l   1   9   8   0   M  a  r   1   9   8   2   N  o  v   1   9   8   3   J  u   l   1   9   8   5   M  a  r   1   9   8   7   N  o  v   1   9   8   8   J  u   l   1   9   9   0   M  a  r   1   9   9   2   N  o  v   1   9   9   3   J  u   l   1   9   8   5   M  a  r   1   9   9   7   N  o  v   1   9   9   8   J  u   l   2   0   0   0   M  a  r   2   0   0   2   N  o  v   2   0   0   3   J  u   l   2   0   0   5   M  a  r   2   0   0   7   N  o  v   2   0   0   8   J  u   l   2   0   1   0
Q: Have you or has anyone in your household . . . ?
Yes, served in the U.S. militaryor military reserves34%Yes, self13%Yes, household20No65
Source: PSRA/Pew Research Center, April 2011.
Q: Did you or that person serve . . . ?
Yes, serve in the military or militaryreserves since September 11, 200126%No74
Note: Question asked of those responded that they or someone intheir household had served in the military = 34 percent of the sample.Source: PSRA/Pew Research Center, April 2011.
Spending on national defense
 
1150 Seventeenth Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036 202.862.5800www.aei.org
3
The Bin Laden Bump
After the killing of Osama bin Laden, President Obama’s ratings rose in a handful of polls. But the positive feelings aboutthe commander in chief did not transfer to views about the nation’s chief economic steward. President Obama’s ratingson handling the economy are dismal.
Date Presidential Change from Rating on handling Change fromPollsterof pollapproval ratingprevious pollthe economyprevious poll
CNN/ORCMay 252%+142%+3Pew/ 
Wash Post 
May 256+940-2CBS/ 
NYT 
May 23 57+1134-4QuinnipiacMay 2352+638+1Gallup TrackingMay 2452+6NANA
Newsweek 
May 23480NANANBCMay 5952+337-8AP/GfK-RoperMay 5760+752+5Ipsos/ReutersMay 5949+3NANA
The Economy: It’s Personal
There is still very little good news in the public’s current assessment of the economy. In an April Gallup poll, 29 percentdescribed our situation as a depression and another 26 percent a recession. Forty percent in a recent Pew poll said therecession had had a major effect on their personal situation and that their finances have not recovered. Fifty-one percent,down barely from 54 percent a year ago, said that they or someone in their household had been out of job or looking forwork in the past year.High gas prices and rising prices for everyday items are taking a toll on public attitudes. Forty-three percent in an ABCNews/
Washington Post 
poll said the rise in gasoline prices had had a serious effect on them. In a Fox News poll, 34 percentthey had given up neces-sities to afford gas.The recession’s pain isproducing some long-term changes in publicthinking. In a recentGallup poll, nonretireeswere less confident thanat any time in the pastthat they will haveenough money to retire.And people are delayingtheir retirement. Theonly goodnews: mostpeople say it is a goodtime to buy a house.
Q: How would you ratethe economic conditionsin the country today . . . ?
Source: CNN/OpinionResearch Corporation,latest that of May 2011.
Very/Somewhat good18%Somewhatpoor44%Very poor38%0102030405060
   J  a  n   2   0   0   9   M  a  r   2   0   0   9   M  a  y   2   0   0   9   J  u   l   2   0   0   9   S  e  p   2   0   0   9   N  o  v   2   0   0   9   J  a  n   2   0   1   0   M  a  r   2   0   1   0   M  a  y   2   0   1   0   J  u   l   2   0   1   0   S  e  p   2   0   1   0   N  o  v   2   0   1   0   J  a  n   2   0   1   1   M  a  r   2   0   1   1
Rating economic conditions, 2009–2011
(continued on the next page)

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