The year in polls

President Obama left office a popular figure — 62 percent of Americans approved of the way he handled his job over the past eight years, ranking him third among outgoing presidents since CBS began asking the question in 1981 – behind outgoing presidents Bill Clinton (68 percent) and Ronald Reagan […] Read more »

Consumers judge 2017 the best year since 2000

Consumer confidence continued to slowly sink in December, with most of the decline among lower income households, according to the University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers. The extent of the decline was minor, with the December figure just below the average for 2017 (95.9 versus 96.8), said U-M economist Richard […] Read more »

Only the Economy Could Change the Political Atmosphere

There is no shortage of numbers and developments that should be worrisome to Republicans as they approach the 2018 midterm elections. Democrats swept both of the 2017 gubernatorial races, in New Jersey and Virginia, captured a U.S. Senate seat in ruby-red Alabama, and scored strong state legislative gains across the […] Read more »

Why is the GOP Tax Bill So Unpopular? Maybe It’s All Relative.

Congressional Republicans have succeeded in passing a signature $1.5 trillion rewrite of the tax code, which now awaits President Donald Trump’s signature. Yet the prospect of lower taxes has not sold the public at large on the bill. Surveys find that the bill is relatively unpopular, with more people disapproving […] Read more »

Republicans Are Taking Voter Concerns About The Tax Bill Too Literally

In reading coverage of the Republican tax bill, which passed the House on Wednesday and is ready for President Trump’s signature, I was reminded of this famous clip of the 1992 “town hall” presidential debate between Bill Clinton and George W. Bush,1 in which a voter asked the candidates a […] Read more »

America’s chaotic, crazy, challenging, great, tumultuous, horrible, disappointing year

Would you say this was a good year for the United States? For decades, Americans’ sense of how their nation was doing was closely linked to the economy. Through Democratic and Republican presidencies, through divided and unified sessions of Congress, Americans were consistent. When they saw jobs and GDP growing, […] Read more »

Focus Groups and the Culture of Consultation

Every day, all across America, small groups of strangers gather in nondescript rooms. Under the guidance of professional moderators, these strangers “focus” their feelings on paper plates, vodka advertisements, movie endings, and political sound bites. Microphones in the room record everything said for future review. … In her fascinating new […] Read more »

Impact of Tax Cuts Viewed Mostly Through Partisan Lens

As the most sweeping federal tax overhaul in decades progresses through the legislative process, most Americans think the cuts would not help their family’s financial situation (57%) or the U.S. economy (53%). As is the case with overall approval of the bill, partisanship is the biggest driver of opinion — […] Read more »