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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Post-State of the Union Approval Watch

For those of you who plan to check our site over the next few days to find out if President Obama won back any support with his State of the Union address, our Gallup Daily: Obama Job Approval chart is the place to watch.

To remind you how our daily averages work, each day we report a three-day rolling average. That is, the results of three nights of interviewing. So, for example, today's result released at 1 p.m. ET will include last night's interviewing, as well as Monday and Tuesday night's. It's tough to count last night as reflecting State of the Union reactions, since some people may have been surveyed before or during the speech. So, we really start counting reaction with tonight's results, which will be reported at 1 p.m. ET tomorrow. But again, that will still include Tuesday and Wednesday interviewing. For an accurate measure of how Obama's approval moves in response to the speech, we'll have to wait until Sunday at 1 p.m., when we'll report the average of Thursday, Friday, and Saturday interviewing. That's not to say you won't see a momentum shift between now and then. But also know that history foretells that a big change in approval following the State of the Union address is generally the exception rather than the rule.

In the meantime, we're still collecting your State of the Union questions. Please send them our way for answers from the people's perspective from Gallup Editor in Chief Frank Newport.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Send Us Your State of the Union Questions

President Barack Obama will communicate directly with the American people when he delivers his State of the Union address Wednesday night.

The people's discontent and falling job approval numbers will no doubt provide the backdrop for everything Obama says and proposes. According to the Associated Press, Obama will focus largely on plans to improve the economy -- including new education spending -- and will also introduce ideas to salvage the healthcare reform effort.

The question after the fact is: how will Americans react?

As you watch the State of the Union address, we'd like you to send us any questions you would like answered from the American people's perspective. For example, does idea X have majority support? Will most Americans be receptive to approach Y? Who is most likely to favor a specific proposal? Who is most likely to oppose it? Does your personal view line up with those of other Americans from your demographic group?

We'll dig through our data and have answers for you on

To submit a question, e-mail us at or submit a video question on our YouTube channel.

In the meantime, be sure to read Jeffrey M. Jones' analysis on the impact of State of Union addresses past. We'll be able to measure the short-term impact of this year's speech in our Gallup Daily tracking of Obama's job approval rating by Sunday, when we'll have three days of interviewing after the speech.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Americans on Helping and Hosting Haitians

New results from our weekend USA Today/Gallup poll provide the perfect complement to Monday's Washington Post story shedding light on immigration questions raised by the difficult situation in Haiti. We asked Americans if, in response to the earthquake, they think the U.S. should or should not increase the number of immigrants it accepts from Haiti. The majority (53%) say no; 41% say yes. The political split finds 57% of Democrats in favor and 67% of Republicans opposed.

According to The Washington Post, the debate centers on Haitians with relatives residing legally in the U.S., as well as critically injured children. Our question does not ask about these particular conditions.

Certainly, such Haitians could benefit from medical care in the U.S., not to mention a better guarantee of food and shelter. But with Americans voicing a tougher stance on immigration last year and Obama's approval numbers highly polarized in his first year in office and this month teetering at or near record lows, such a move likely carries risk. The Washington Post says the "vast majority" of the nearly 300 comments it has received on its story have been negative responses to the suggestion of increased immigration from Haiti; our data suggest majority disapproval, but still with some minority support.

Our story on this also reveals that 73% of Americans think the U.S. is doing enough to help the victims in Haiti, though the question does not distinguish between public and private sector aid. When asked about the presence of U.S. troops and other government workers, 63% of Americans support keeping large numbers in place in Haiti "as long as it takes to ensure basic services are restored and life is more or less back to normal for the Haitian people."

Sign up now to get future Gallup news on Haiti or immigration.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Scientific Measure of Religious Prejudice in America

The Gallup Center for Muslim Studies is out today with a new report which scientifically measures the amount of self-reported religious prejudice in the United States.

As reported in our story today "More than 4 in 10 Americans (43%) admit to feeling at least "a little" prejudice toward Muslims -- more than twice the number who say the same about Christians (18%), Jews (15%) and Buddhists (14%)."

You can see the numbers for yourself here:

The full report: Religious Perceptions in America: With an In-Depth Analysis of U.S. Attitudes Toward Muslims and Islam is available here.

For more news on Muslim-West relations from Gallup, click here.

Monday, January 18, 2010

How U.S. Leadership Fares Around the World

With this week marking one year since U.S. President Barack Obama took office -- and his first-year approval rating among Americans now in the Gallup record books -- many are asking us how U.S. leadership is faring around the world.

The question we ask globally is: "Do you approve or disapprove of the job performance of the leadership of the United States of America?" We've been asking this in every nation we possibly can, every year since 2005, and in some countries, more than once per year.

In the following table, we report the most recent data from our 2009 surveys and compare it to our 2008 surveys. You'll see the approval of U.S. leadership is more often up than down, but that the change from the Bush years to the Obama years is far from universal. In some cases, especially in surveys conducted earlier in the year, some of the shifts in approval mask shifts if the percentage who say they "don't know."

To see all the stories we've written on this data, as well as to see this data in map form, click here.

Since we are continually polling around the world and continually getting new data in house, we update this feature once a month and write new analyses at the regional level whenever possible.

To make sure you are always up to date on new data on world citizens' views of U.S. leadership, sign up for our world e-mail alerts and RSS feeds.

If you are interested in even more data on a particular country, including detailed demographic analysis, please e-mail or call 202.715.3030.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Handing Out Report Cards

Over the next many weeks at, we're handing out report cards. With a full year of data from 2009 now in house and ripe for analyzing, we will be reporting about the state of the nation -- and the people in it -- based on the best behavioral economic metrics available.

We gave you a taste this week with our report on Americans' well-being in 2009 compared to 2008. If you think Americans were down-trodden to new lows by the economic stress around them, think again. They did suffer in five of six key areas of well-being, but an improved outlook -- in terms of how they rate their lives today and in the future -- buoyed their collective well-being enough to match its 2008 level.

We're also out with a report card on Americans' exercise habits. Americans did fall behind here, reporting less daily exercise in 2009 compared to 2008 and in 10 of 12 months of the year. Since we know even one day of exercise relates to several health benefits, Americans will be well-served to improve those numbers in 2010. Next week, we'll follow up this report with a similar look at Americans' eating habits in 2009 versus 2008.

Don't think we forgot about politics. Monday morning, we're reporting on President Obama's approval rating for his first full year in office. We also have a report card for U.S. leadership from the citizens of 83 countries in our World Citizens' Views of U.S. leadership Pre- and Post-Obama feature.

But the report cards we're arguably the most excited about are those that break down our findings -- across politics, business, and well-being -- by state. As we did with our midyear 2009 data and our full-year 2008 data, we will report how many of our key metrics break down at the state level. This year, we're adding a few more bells and whistles to our reporting, which will give you the opportunity to sort different measures by state rank and also to get individual state snapshots across metrics. Our state-level data will again include Obama job approval, political party identification, economic confidence, job creation, consumer spending, and all of our key well-being indexes.

To make sure you don't miss a thing, sign up for our e-mail alerts or RSS feeds. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Finally, if you have a question or want a report card on something else we measure, feel free to e-mail us at or post a comment here.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Earthquake Adds to Existing Needs in Haiti

Beyond a death toll reaching toward the incomprehensible, the devastating earthquake in Haiti creates more need and suffering in a country where both are commonplace.

Gallup last polled in Haiti in December of 2008 and at that time found that 60% of Haitians said there were times in the past 12 months when they did not have enough money for food and 51% said the same about money for shelter.

Further, fewer than one-quarter of Haitians said they considered healthcare accessible to them or reported being satisfied with the quality of healthcare in their community.

When Gallup analyzed in detail the migration desires of citizens around the world, so many Haitians told us they would move permanently to another country if given the chance that the country would, in theory, lose 50% of its population if those wishes were fulfilled.

Gallup's Steve Crabtree is analyzing in-depth all of the Haiti data we have available and we'll have his story up within the next day on To make sure you get the story as soon as it is ready, sign up for "world" e-mail alerts or RSS feeds.

Update: Read the story.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Getting Underneath the Body Scan Issue

Are you enraged about potentially being subjected to full body scans at the airport?

Chances are you aren't.

New Gallup survey results reveal that 78% of air travelers -- a far greater majority than tend to agree on anything -- are okay with the use of these scans at U.S. airports. An even larger majority -- 84% -- say they see the scans as an effective way to prevent terrorists from getting dangerous devices on airplanes.

That's not to say privacy concerns raised aren't, in some respects, valid and that we should cease questioning our government about both the effectiveness and the cost of using these devices.

Still, this is an instance where our data provide a reality check on the perception out there that Americans aren't going to stand for being subjected to these scanners when they fly.

Later this week, we'll reveal whether Americans' level of worry about terrorism has increased since the Christmas Day attempt, as well as how Americans rate President Obama and the government more broadly on their handling of terrorism. Empirical evidence -- not anecdotes or opinion -- tell the real story.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Stay Tuned: The Queue Returns Jan. 11

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