Saturday, December 20, 2014
Christmas comes but once a year -- but usually not accompanied by so much big news.
Yesterday, just before he left for Christmas vacation, President Obama announced the United States will make a “proportional” response to North Korea’s computer hacking and threat campaign against Sony Pictures that led to the cancelling of the film, “The Interview.” Earlier in the week, Obama announced his intention to end the 54-year-old U.S. economic embargo against Cuba.
Americans will weigh in on both these topics in surveys we release early next week. If it’s in the news, it’s in our polls.
The week’s other major event was the massacre by the radical Islamic Taliban of 145 people, most of them children, in a school in Pakistan. U.S. voters are hesitant to join Pakistan in the search for the killers, but the incident has dramatically reduced support for negotiations with the Taliban to end the war in Afghanistan.
Support for the use of unmanned drone aircraft to kill suspected terrorists overseas is now the highest it's been in over two years. Nearly half of voters favor the harsh interrogation tactics used against suspected terrorists by the CIA and think they elicited valuable information that helped the United States.
After all, the number of voters who think the United States is winning the War on Terror continues to fall to new lows, and more than ever they see a terrorist attack as the biggest threat to this country.
Voters feel more strongly these days that the U.S. military should focus on defending America’s interests rather than addressing the problems of other nations.
Just 27% now believe the United States will still be the most powerful nation in the world by the end of the 21st century.
Looking ahead in the short term, voters are closely divided over whether the incoming Congress will make any difference, but they believe overwhelmingly that the president and the new Congress should work together rather than stand on principle.
The president’s daily job approval ratings have improved slightly since Election Day but still remain in the mid- to high negative teens.
Voters continue to see Republicans as the party to trust when it comes to national security, economic growth and fiscal restraint. Democrats remain their first choice on issues like health care, education and the environment.
The lead on the Generic Congressional Ballot continues to swing back and forth between the two parties as it has weekly for months.
Enough of this heavy stuff. It’s Christmastime, and more Americans are feeling the spirit this holiday season.
With less than 10 days left until Christmas, though, 30% still had not begun their holiday shopping.
The good news for retailers is that consumer confidence has been climbing steadily over the past month to some of its highest levels of the year.
But buyers, beware: Americans are ending the year more in debt than they were at the beginning of 2014.
The number of homeowners who think they are likely to miss or be late on a mortgage payment in the next few months is at its highest level in over a year.
Yet homeowners remain fairly confident in their home’s short- and long-term value, and most still think their home is worth more than what they owe on their mortgage. Adults nationwide round out 2014 still believing owning a home is a family's best investment but remain divided as to whether now’s a good time to sell in their area.
Voters are more positive about the fairness of the U.S. economy than they’ve been all year.
In other surveys last week:
-- Twenty-five percent (25%) of voters think the United States is headed in the right direction.
-- Those under 40 have less confidence than their elders in voting as an agent for change and express more confidence in public protests and economic boycotts.
-- Voters still strongly approve of the health care they are getting, but most also remain convinced that it will get worse under the new national health care law.
-- Voters continue to believe the government should cut spending to help the economy.
-- Six years after the Wall Street meltdown, one-third of Americans still fear they will lose their money due to bank failure. Americans remain worried about inflation, too, but they are a bit less pessimistic about rising food prices that they have been in months.
Subscribers to Rasmussen Reports receive more than 20 exclusive stories each week for less than a dollar a week. Please sign up now. Visit the Rasmussen Reports home page for the latest current polling coverage of events in the news. The page is updated several times each day.
Remember, if it's in the news, it's in our polls.
Rasmussen Reports is a media company specializing in the collection, publication and distribution of public opinion information.
We conduct public opinion polls on a variety of topics to inform our audience on events in the news and other topics of interest. To ensure editorial control and independence, we pay for the polls ourselves and generate revenue through the sale of subscriptions, sponsorships, and advertising. Nightly polling on politics, business and lifestyle topics provides the content to update the Rasmussen Reports web site many times each day. If it's in the news, it's in our polls. Additionally, the data drives a daily update newsletter and various media outlets across the country.
Some information, including the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll and commentaries are available for free to the general public. Subscriptions are available for $4.95 a month or 34.95 a year that provide subscribers with exclusive access to more than 20 stories per week on upcoming elections, consumer confidence, and issues that affect us all. For those who are really into the numbers, Platinum Members can review demographic crosstabs and a full history of our data.
To learn more about our methodology, click here.