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The public policy blog of the American Enterprise Institute
What you may have missed in the polls
Zimmerman trial and race relations: Pew reported that the trial of George Zimmerman “attracted relatively modest public interest overall” with 26% following the trial very closely. Fifty-six percent of blacks followed the story very closely, compared to 20% of whites. Shortly before the trial began, Gallup asked respondents to rate race relations between various groups in the US as good or bad. Sixty percent described the relationship between blacks and Hispanics as good, while 32% described it as bad. Seventy percent described the relationship between whites and blacks as good, 30% as bad.
Good enough for government work: Gallup asked respondents to rate the federal government’s work in 19 different areas. Self-identified Republicans rated the government lower in every category than did Democrats and Independents. The largest partisan disagreement was over health care (a 46-point gap between Democrats and Republicans) and foreign affairs (a 45-point gap). Gallup has asked this question before and views are highly dependent on which party occupies the White House. In 2005, for example, there was a gap in partisan attitudes, but Republicans were more positive than Democrats and Independents in every category.
The party pickup on immigration: Forty-eight percent told Gallup that the Democratic Party’s policies on immigration and immigration reform were closest to their own. Thirty-six percent said the same about the Republican Party. Hispanics said they were closer to the Democratic Party on the issue by a large margin: 60% favored the Democratic Party compared to 26% for the GOP. Non-Hispanic whites were divided by age – those 18 to 49 years old narrowly sided with the Democratic Party (44% favored the Democrats to 39% for the Republicans) while those 50 and older sided with the Republican Party (39% for the Democrats to 46% for the Republicans).
Gridlock blame: Quinnipiac pitted two competing narratives for the gridlock in Washington against each other. The first is that “there is gridlock in Washington mainly because President Obama lacks the personal skills to convince leaders of Congress to work together.” The second is that “there is gridlock in Washington mainly because Republicans in Congress are determined to block any President Obama initiative.” Thirty-five percent pointed to Obama’s lack of skills, while 51% blamed Republicans. Opinions were highly partisan, but Republican opinions were more ambivalent than Democratic ones. Sixty-six percent of self-identified Republicans blamed Obama, 19% blamed Republicans, and 15% were uncertain. Eight-two percent of Democrats blamed Republicans, 10% Obama, and 8% didn’t know.
Aid to Egypt: In the wake of the Egyptian military removing Mohamed Morsi from power, the National Journal and United Technologies asked about the future of the US–Egyptian relationship. Self-identified Republicans and Democrats were split over whether the US should reduce (35% of Republicans and 32% of Democrats) or completely eliminate (31% of Republicans and 27% of Democrats) foreign aid to Egypt. It’s hard to say, however, whether these attitudes are in response to recent events in Egypt or are more in line with the general unpopularity of foreign aid itself. In January 2013, Kaiser asked if people preferred major, minor, or no reductions to foreign aid. Only 9 percent nationally said they wanted no reductions, with low responses from Democrats (11%), Independents (9%), and Republicans (2%).
Interestingly, according to a February 2012 Gallup poll, 82% of Egyptians don’t even want US aid. Eighty-one percent in a new Pew poll of Egyptians viewed the US unfavorably and majorities there said US economic aid (55%) and military aid (58%) had a mostly negative effect on their country.
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