AEI Political Report, February 2012

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President Barack Obama addresses a Joint Session of Congress while delivering his State of the Union speech January 25, 2011 in Washington, DC. A new poll shows that 56 percent of Americans would vote to defeat and replace every member in Congress, including their own.

Political Report, February 2012

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In February's American Enterprise Institute (AEI) Political Report, senior fellow and public opinion expert Karlyn Bowman along with researchers Andrew Rugg and Jennifer Marsico examines American public opinion on a variety of topics now in the news:

How much do Americans hate Congress?
A new poll shows that 56 percent of Americans would vote to defeat and replace every member in Congress, including their own. And 76 percent say most members do not deserve to be reelected.

Why Obama can bet against the House
Did President Obama mostly bring the right kind of change to the country? Thirty-five percent say yes. But just 12 percent say the same about Republicans in Congress. And on the nation’s economy, federal budget deficit, Medicare and Social Security, creating jobs, and health care, more Americans trust Obama than congressional Republicans.

Arizona and Michigan: lessons from 2008
Political Report looks back at the exit polls from the 2008 Arizona and Michigan Republican primaries, when Mitt Romney was seen by many as the conservative alternative to John McCain. The GOP electorates were similar in demographic terms, and strong conservatives opted for Romney.

Sources of campaign news
It was a tough decade for daily papers and local and national TV networks. They had the sharpest drop among sources of news about the presidential campaign. While the Internet had the biggest jump – from 9 percent in 2000 to 25 percent in 2012 – cable news is now the top source. Social media lags far behind, with Facebook at 6 percent, YouTube at 3, and Twitter at 2.

Immigration: public vs. politicians
Since polling began in the 1940s, Americans have never wanted to increase immigration. But their views are more nuanced and less divisive than some campaign rhetoric would suggest. Most people support illegal immigrants becoming U.S. citizens, provided they meet certain requirements. Only 2 in 10 say deport them all. And by nearly a 2 to 1 margin, Americans favor increasing legal immigration.

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About the Author


  • Karlyn Bowman compiles and analyzes American public opinion using available polling data on a variety of subjects, including the economy, taxes, the state of workers in America, environment and global warming, attitudes about homosexuality and gay marriage, NAFTA and free trade, the war in Iraq, and women's attitudes. In addition, Ms. Bowman has studied and spoken about the evolution of American politics because of key demographic and geographic changes. She has often lectured on the role of think tanks in the United States and writes a weekly column for
  • Phone: 2028625910
  • Assistant Info

    Name: Andrew Rugg
    Phone: 2028625917




Jennifer K.
  • Jennifer K. Marsico is a senior research associate at AEI, working in the Political Corner. Her research focuses on elections and election reform, as well as government continuity issues. She is a visiting fellow at the Independent Women's Forum. She is also a contributor to the AEIdeas blog, and has also written for many outside print and online publications, including The Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, and Roll Call. Ms. Marsico serves as assistant director of the AEI-Brookings Continuity of Government Commission, and has contributed to recent studies on Supreme Court continuity, voter registration modernization, and civic participation in the digital age.

  • Phone: 202.862.5899

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