Presidential Race Maps Writing on the Wall

What Worries Americans Most About The Future?

Posted Jul 12, 2013 at 8:49 AM by Maurice Berger

What worries Americans the most about the future? A New survey by Gallup reports that "economic issues dominate Americans' concerns about the nation's future. Americans say the economy (17%) is their greatest worry or concern for the future of the United States, followed by the federal debt (11%). 5% or more also mention jobs and international wars and conflicts." Here is Gallup's chart:

Americans' Top Worry for the Future

Obama's America (Part 6): The State Of The Nation--Foreign Affairs

Posted Jan 12, 2009 at 6:27 PM by Maurice Berger

Overall, Americans appear to be happier with the state of US foreign policy--and the state of the world itself--than with the present-day economic situation. American perceptions about the Iraq, for example, improved dramatically in 2008. A USA Today/Gallup poll taken this  summer reported that "nearly half of Americans say the U.S. troop surge in Iraq made the situation there better, up from 40% in February and just 22% a year ago. Accordingly, the percentage believing the surge 'is not making much difference' has declined from 51% a year ago, and 38% in February, to just 32%." In late summer, Americans were split down the middle on the issue of whether the United States should set an explicit timetable or target date for the removal of U.S. troops from Iraq -- "when it is made clear that withdrawal is a given in either circumstance." Americans view the Arab-Israeli conflict with surprising optimism (despite the recent confligration in Gaza): "52% now believe it is possible for Israel and the Palestinians to live in peace, but just 35% think Obama is likely to help end the conflict during his presidency. Only 12% say Obama is Very Likely to help bring the two sides together, while 23% say it is not at likely." As for Americans view of terrorism: despite warnings of a possible attack during the early months of the new administration, a poll this fall found that "while a new bipartisan report concludes that the United States remains 'dangerously vulnerable' to terrorist attacks, most Americans do not fear being directly affected. Only 38% are very or somewhat worried that they or a family member will become a victim of terrorism. This is down from 47% last July, and from a high of 59% in October 2001, but is still short of a post-9/11 low of 28% in January 2004."

Obama's America (Part 5): The State Of The Nation--Military Morale

Posted Jan 11, 2009 at 7:34 PM by Maurice Berger

One important factor in an incoming president's foreign policy and defense profile is his relationship to the military. Some presidents have assumed office with strong backing from military personal and leaders (Ronald Regan, George H. W. Bush, George W. Bush). Others have had a more difficult time, most notably Bill Clinton, especially after his attempt (in the first days of his new administration) to allow gays to serve the the military, through the still controversial "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. It looks like service members view president-elect Obama as a negative rather than positive force according to a Military Times poll of active-duty service members. Six out of 10 respondents say they are uncertain or pessimistic about Obama as commander in chief, , according to a Military Times survey: "In follow-up interviews, respondents expressed concerns about Obama’s lack of military service and experience leading men and women in uniform. . . . Underlying much of the uncertainty is Obama’s stated 16-month timetable for pulling combat troops out of Iraq, as well as his calls to end the 'don’t ask, don’t tell' policy to allow gays to serve openly in the military, according to survey responses and interviews. Most active service members still trust George W. Bush more than the incoming president: When asked who has their best interests at heart — Obama or Bush — a higher percentage of respondents picked Bush, though Bush has lost ground over time. About half of the respondents said Bush has their best interests at heart this year, the same percentage as last year but a decline from 69 percent in 2004." Obama's support increases significantly among African-American service members--eight out of 10 said they are optimistic about their incoming boss. One important caveat: The responses are unrepresentative of the the military as a whole, undercounting minorities, women and junior enlisted service members. Still, these numbers suggest that Obama may have a bumpy road ahead in his role as commander in chief.