Political Report, July/August 2011

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In the latest Political Report (PR) American Enterprise Institute (AEI) Senior Fellow and public opinion expert Karlyn Bowman and researcher Andrew Rugg examine Americans thoughts on the debt ceiling negotiations, worries about the economy and ways consumers are cutting back. The authors also trace US public opinion back 50 years to see what Americans cared about when President Obama was born.

Key findings include:

  • Thumbs Down: While Obama is polling better than the congressional Republicans over handling the debt limit, no one is looking good in the current negotiations.
  • Kitchen Table Issues – PR looked at worries about the economy across multiple dimensions:
  • Job Anxiety: In the past six months about 5% of Americans surveyed had lost their job, two in ten said a family member had lost their job, and six in ten knew someone who lost a job.
  • Cutting Back: Americans are cutting back on everything from health care to haircuts, polls explain what other items Americans are cutting back on.
  • Retirement: There has been a dramatic drop in the number of Americans who say they have enough money to retire.
  • Happy 50th Birthday, Mr. President: Polling from 1961 shows Americans were worried about East Germany closing the roads to Berlin, approving of the creation of Medicare, and in favor of increasing the price of a stamp to 5 cents!

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

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Karlyn
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