The Pew Foundation’s research arm did a nice job on a survey on “the State of the State of the Union Address.” It appears that President Obama is riding a tremendous popularity and approval wave into a second term that is already characterized by a buoyed economy with clear skies ahead. The President’s victory on the fiscal cliff seems to have sealed the deal, as the President enters his second term with the Republicans in shambles and, perhaps more importantly, with Americans believing in this two term President the opposition tried to paint as a boogyman. The President seems to be smiling on, like the baby boomer that he is, saying: “Boogie oogie oogie!”
“President Barack Obama delivered his State of the Union address to the nation on Tues., Feb. 12. A survey released ahead of his speech found that 43% of the public views the president’s address as about as important as past years’ addresses, and a third (32%) say Obama’s speech will be more important than those in past years.
Here’s a roundup of Pew Research findings across 10 of the biggest public policy issues:
The economy and jobs remain the public’s top two priorities for the White House and Congress.
57% of Americans (and 74% of Republicans) say that President Obama won the battle over the “fiscal cliff.”
Americans took a dim view of the fiscal cliff deal, saying it would hurt: the economy (46%), people like themselves (52%), efforts to curb the deficit (44%).
Read more about Pew Research findings on the economy
Debt and Deficit
72% of Americans now say reducing the deficit is a top priority, up from 53% in Jan. 2009, including 84% of Republicans, 67% of Democrats and 71% of independents.
Majorities of Americans oppose most deficit reduction measures, including reducing funding for education (77% disapprove), reducing transportation funding (67%) and reducing funding to help low-income people (58%).
There are wide partisan gaps on many debt reduction proposals, including reducing military defense spending (+35 points Democrats) and reducing funding to help low-income people (+29 points Republicans).
74% say a combination of program cuts and tax increases is the best way to reduce the deficit.
Read more about Pew Research findings on the debt and deficit
The Middle Class
The median income for a middle-income, three-person household fell to $69,487 in 2010 from $72,956 in 2000 (in 2011 dollars.) Median net worth among the middle-income tier fell 28% to $93,150 in 2010 from $129,582 in 2000.
85% of those in the middle class say it is more difficult today than a decade ago to maintain their standard of living.
The middle class blamed their difficulties on: Congress (62%), banks and financial institutions (54%) and large corporations (47%).
Middle-class adults say they are: Democrats (34%), Republicans (25%) and independents (35%); conservative (39%), moderate (35%) and liberal (22%).
Read more about Pew Research findings on the middle class
51% of Americans say it is more important to control gun ownership, while 45% say it is more important to protect gun rights.
47% say mass shootings reflect broader societal problems, 44% call them isolated acts of troubled individuals.
There is broad public support for background checks for private and gun show sales (85%) and laws preventing the mentally ill from purchasing guns (80%).
There are large partisan divides on creating a federal database to track gun sales (35-point gap, Democrats favor), implementing a ban on assault-style weapons (25-point gap, Democrats favor) or having more teachers and school officials with guns in schools (33-point gap, Republicans favor).
Read more about Pew Research findings on gun control
U.S. Foreign Policy
83% of Americans say that “we should pay less attention to problems overseas and concentrate on problems here at home,” up 10 points since 2002.
40% say the U.S. relies on military strength too much to achieve its foreign policy goals, 44% say about the right amount and 10% say too little.
63% say the U.S. should be less involved in Middle East leadership changes.
Americans largely approve of the use of drones to target extremists, unlike most other nations surveyed.
71% say defending the nation from terrorism is a top priority.
60% support withdrawing troops from Afghanistan “as soon as possible.”
Read more about Pew Research findings on foreign policy
via State of the Union 2013 and Public Opinion | Pew Research Center.
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