White House/Pete Souza
Three major events serve as focal points for the January 2013 AEI Political Report. For President Obama’s inauguration on January 21, we examine how the president stacks up against early expectations for him for his first term. January 21 is also Martin Luther King Jr. Day. It is only fitting, then, that this issue explore views on black progress during the term of America’s first black president. We also review attitudes on affirmative action before the Supreme Court rules on the Fisher case. Finally, January 22 will mark the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. We survey major trends on the subject over those 40 years. Highlights include:
* In 2009, 65 percent expected Barack Obama to be an outstanding or an above average president. In 2012, 38 percent said he had been outstanding or above average thus far.
* Congress’s approval rating hit new lows in several 2012 polls. In one recent poll, just 1 percent said members of Congress listen and care about what ordinary Americans think most of the time.
* The polls show most people believe a woman should be able to obtain an abortion if the circumstances are beyond the woman’s control, such as rape. When the circumstances are under her control, the public is more divided. Attitudes on nearly all aspects of the abortion issue have been stable over 40 years.
* Five percent of self-identified voters indicated abortion was the most important issue to them in voting for a candidate. Four percent of Obama voters and 6 percent of Romney voters gave that response.
* When President Obama was elected, 70 percent said race relations in the country would improve. In 2011, 35 percent said they had improved, 23 percent that they had gotten worse, and 41 percent that they remained unchanged.
* Seventy-two percent of Americans agree that Irish, Italians, Jews, and many other minorities overcame prejudice and worked their way up and that blacks should do the same without special favors.