NYT poll on American political attitudes: Good news for Democrats

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2004 @ 9:36 am | Current Events

Today’s New York Times features a comprehensive poll on American political attitudes (“Americans Show Clear Concerns on Bush Agenda”). The poll results show that despite the results of the last election, Americans are still predominately moderate or liberal, and have a favorable attitude towards Democrats. The country is (predictably) evenly split on Bush, with a slight majority expressing skepticism or disapproval. A PDF of the full results, with historical data, can be downloaded here. Some of the more interesting highlights:

  • While a slight majority of Americans approve of Bush’s job performance and 56% say they are optimistic about the next four years, a majority also believe that the country is going in the wrong direction. 55% disapprove of Bush’s handling of Iraq, and 51% disapprove of his handling of the economy. Bush also receives a vote of little confidence on international crises and social security. A plurality of 48% disapprove of Bush’s foreign policy, and the same percentage believes that Bush’s presidency will continue to divide the country.
  • However, Bush did receive relatively high numbers on terrorism. 59% approve of his performance, which shows that terrorism fears likely helped to catapult him back into the White House.
  • A majority of Americans (51%) now believe that the Iraq War has nothing to do with the war on terrorism. A slight plurality are also pessimistic about the possibility of stabilizing Iraq.
  • 66% believe that big business has too much influence on the Bush administration
  • Despite the much-ballyhooed exit polls, “moral issues” aren’t nearly as important as was believed. The economy was the most important issue (29%), followed by terrorism (18%) and Iraq (17%). The moral issues of abortion (5%), gay marriage (2%) and stem cell research (4%) combined accounted for about 11% of voters.
  • A slight majority of Americans — and 70% of Kerry supporters — are worried about political leaders that are too close to religion and religious leaders. An overwhelming majority (85%) oppose the efforts of leaders to make their religious beliefs into law.
  • A majority of Americans support either gay marriage (21%) or civil unions (32%). 44% believe there should be no legal recognition.
  • A large majority (almost 80%) believe that abortion should remain legal. A plurality (44%) believe abortion should remain legal, but with strict limits.
  • Americans have a more favorable opinion of the Democratic party (54% favorable to 39% unfavorable) than of the Republican party (49% favorable to 46% unfavorable).
  • More Americans consider themselves Democrat (36%) as opposed to Republican (29%). This has been consistently true for at least the last twelve years. A plurality (over 40%) consider themselves moderate, over 30% consider themselves conservative, and about 20% consider themselves liberal.

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