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Friday, April 30, 2010

Weekly Hot List

Fast facts from Gallup news relating to top stories in the news:

Congress' Next Move: 39% want financial reform; 36% want immigration legislation

Arizona Immigration Law: 51% who are aware of the law favor it; 39% oppose

Energy vs. Environment: Before Gulf spill, 50% prioritized energy production

Economic Growth: Before news of first quarter growth, Gallup tracking showed signs of improvement

2010 vs. 2008: Younger voters less enthusiastic than older voters about voting this year

Flying Hassles: Before new rules, 45% of passengers were dissatisfied with handling of delays and cancellations

To get all of our stories, sign up for All Gallup Headlines via e-mail alert or RSS.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

New Flight Rules, Happier Passengers?

With a new three-hour cutoff for tarmac delays going into effect Thursday, both air travelers and airlines are likely wondering what the ultimate effect will be.

The goal is to make sure passengers aren't stuck on planes for hours on end without food, water, or working toilets. But with a hefty fine as high as $27,500 per passenger for breaking the rules, some argue passengers will see more flight cancellations.

Gallup asked air travelers in January about their level of satisfaction with specific aspects of flying, including airlines' efforts to deal with flight delays and cancellations. Just over half -- 53% -- said they were satisfied but 45% were dissatisfied. That's a better satisfaction rating than Americans give airlines on baggage and re-booking fees, but a worse rating than they give on going through security and the price they pay for tickets.

The question now -- will these rules help or hurt these ratings? Travelers could grow more satisfied with how airlines handle delays, but more dissatisfied with the number of cancellations. To make sure these numbers improve rather than deteriorate, airlines would be well served to do everything they can to keep cancellations to a minimum, even under the new deadlines for timely takeoffs.

I'll have more on these and other airline satisfaction data, as well as look at how many Americans had their travel plans disrupted by the recent volcanic eruption in Iceland, in a story this week. (Update: read the story.)

To make sure you get the story as soon as it is published, sign up for our business e-mail alerts or RSS feeds.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Insights on a Potential 2008 Repeat in 2010

President Barack Obama wants those who got him elected in 2008 to return to the polls in 2010 in favor of Democrats around the country.

“It will be up to each of you to make sure that the young people, African-Americans, Latinos, and women who powered our victory in 2008 stand together once again,” Obama said in a video message on YouTube.

For that to happen, those key groups must both support Democrats and actually show up to vote. Chris Cillizza of The Washington Post documents the challenge inherent in securing that one-two punch, looking back at exit polling from the 2008 presidential election and the 2009 governors' races in New Jersey and Virginia.

Our Gallup tracking of Election 2010 key indicators tracks the likelihood of a 2010 repeat going forward. As part of our Gallup Daily tracking, we're asking Americans every night about their preferences in the November election as well as their enthusiasm to vote. This allows us to look at both key metrics among the target population Democrats -- and Republicans -- hope to see at the polls in November.

Our Editor in Chief Frank Newport dove right in to find out what we know about one critical group -- young voters. The data reveal a mixed bag for Democrats. Voters 18 to 29 years old lean heavily toward the Democratic candidate in their district (51% to 39%). But that advantage disappears among all other age groups -- and older voters are known to turn out to vote with much more reliability. Enthusiasm for voting is one way to gauge potential turnout and our data finds young voters lagging older voters by double-digit margins.

Of course, enthusiasm will ebb and flow over the course of the next six months leading up to Election Day, as will voters' preferences. That's exactly why we're tracking these measures week by week and reporting our most newsworthy findings on

Tuesday, our Jeff Jones goes even deeper, looking at more key demographic groups and what we know about them so far based on our data. (Update: Read the story.) Our political team also maintains a running commentary of all 2010 election polling in our new blog 2010 Central.

Finally, for those looking for in-depth analysis straight from the source, sign up for our summit on the 2010 Midterm elections, where political experts will join Gallup analysts to provide context and a clear roadmap for effectively tracking the 2010 midterm campaign in the months leading up to November.

To make sure you are always up to date on Gallup's insights regarding this year's midterm elections, sign up for our Election 2010 e-mail alerts and RSS feeds.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Weekly Hot List

Fast facts from Gallup news relating to the top stories in the world:

Financial Reform: 50% favor regulating "Wall Street" banks

Immigration Reform: 50% in 2009 wanted immigration decreased

Economic Recovery: Unemployment, job creation, and spending looking up

Home Sales Surge: 72% say now is a "good time" to buy a house

Environmental Movement: 61% are either active or sympathetic

Greek Economy: 57% of Greeks struggle with bills

To get all of our stories, sign up for All Gallup Headlines via e-mail alert or RSS.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

New Blogs, More Insights

We're thrilled to be adding two new blogs to the mix at

In 2010 Central, our political polling experts Frank Newport, Jeff Jones, and Lydia Saad will provide continuous analysis of the midterm congressional election race, helping readers to sort through and make sense of all of the polling available. We at Gallup are, of course, tracking the midterm race very closely based on key national indicators, including the generic ballot, which has proven to be highly predictive of past elections' outcomes. Our editors will help you understand the insights revealed by our Gallup Daily tracking of our Election 2010 Key Indicators for the most-up-to-date read on the election available.

In the Behavioral Economy, our Chief Economist Dennis Jacobe keeps close tabs on the economy, shedding light on classic economic data with our behavioral economic indicators. Gallup tracks U.S. employment, job creation, consumer spending, and economic confidence daily, all of which currently show signs of economic improvement. Dennis analyzes these Gallup measures and more, plus all of the other economic reports and indicators available for the most comprehensive read on the economy available.

Each blog has the goal of providing data-driven insights you can't find anywhere else. We hope you will follow our Gallup blogs, comment on them, share them, and find them useful.

As always, your comments and suggestions are welcome at

Monday, April 19, 2010

Climate Change Fast Facts

With Earth Day week upon us, here are some fast facts about how world citizens view the environment and climate change:

  • 48% of Americans now believe that the seriousness of global warming is generally exaggerated.
  • 67% of conservatives say this, compared with 40% of moderates and 26% of liberals; all have grown more likely to say so since 2008.
  • 67% of Americans do not think global warming will seriously threaten them or their way of life in their lifetime.
  • Americans' level of concern about many environmental issues is currently at a 20-year low.
  • 90% of Americans say they recycle, making it the most common environmentally friendly behavior in the U.S.
  • 61% of the world's adult population knows at least something about global warming; 41% are aware of the issue and perceive it as a serious threat.
  • 88% of people in Europe say they know at least something about climate change, compared with 44% in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Among the world's top polluting nations, Americans and Japanese are far more likely than Chinese, Russians, and Indians to report recycling and avoiding using harmful products.
  • Across six key global economies, more say developed economies such as the U.S., Germany, and Japan should reduce emissions at the same time as fast-emerging economies such as China, India, and Brazil rather than say one group should reduce emissions first.
Read more news -- and sign up for our e-mail alerts and RSS feeds -- on the environment and climate change.

Have a question about these findings? Submit your questions to Gallup Editor in Chief Frank Newport.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Tax Day Fast Facts

With tax day upon us, here are some fast facts about how Americans feel about their taxes:

  • 48% of Americans say their taxes are "too high" while 45% say they are "about right."
  • 54% of Republicans and 52% of independents say their taxes are too high, compared to 36% of Democrats.
  • These views do not differ much across income groups.
  • 63% of Americans expect their taxes to increase in the next 12 months, while 30% expect no change.
  • 74% of Republicans and 64% of independents expect their taxes to increase, compared with 49% of Democrats.
  • These views do differ by income, with higher-income Americans more likely to expect higher taxes in the next year.
  • 68% of Americans in 2009 expected a federal income tax increase by the end of Barack Obama's first term in office.
  • Americans in 2009 estimated that the federal government wastes 50 cents of every tax dollar.
Get a complete read on these stories and more tax trends now. To get future Gallup news on taxes, sign up for our taxes e-mail alerts or RSS feed.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Informing the Recession Analysis

Just as the National Bureau of Economic Research is out today with its assessment that it's too early to pinpoint an exact end date for the U.S. economic recession, we're just out of the field with our annual "Economy and Personal Finance" poll.

Among the findings we'll be reporting on in the next few weeks, Americans' views on:

  • Their financial situation and most important financial problem facing their family
  • Specific financial worries including paying for bills, medical costs, housing, and tuition
  • Their perceived likelihood of losing their job or being laid off and the chances of finding another job as good as the one they have now
  • Expectations about housing prices
  • Their current investments and views on the best long-term investments
  • Expectations and concerns about having enough money for retirement
Our Economic Outlook measure shows the complexity of the task at hand in assessing whether the worst is behind us. Currently, more than 4 in 10 Americans see the economy getting better -- which is encouraging -- but we've been bouncing around that level since last April yet unable to sustain it. Further, our finding today that economic confidence ratings are highly political underscores the challenge of focusing on any one metric.

Since it is real Americans who seek and create jobs, hire and fire, spend and save, these behavioral metrics should be assessed alongside with the traditional economic metrics for a complete picture of the country's true economic health -- and the determination of whether we are truly back on track for further growth.

To stay up-to-date on all Gallup economic news, sign up for our business e-mail alerts and RSS feeds.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Introducing the Weekly Hot List

A joint venture between the Hot Topics on our homepage and the Top Stories we report each weekend, meet the Gallup Weekly Hot List. Each Friday, I'll give you a quick rundown of fast facts from Gallup news relating to the top stories in the world.

Nuclear Energy: 62% of Americans support its use in the U.S.

Supreme Court: 61% approved of its job performance in 2009

Tea Party: 28% support the movement; 49% are Republican

Democrats: 41% favorability marks record low, essentially ties Republicans'

2010 Vote: 57% say the economy will be extremely important factor

Banking Reform: 20% trust U.S. banks; 58% trust their own banks

Consumer Spending: 7% increase this March compared to last March

Violence in Mexico: 56% of Mexicans say gangs are present where they live

To get all of our stories, sign up for All Gallup Headlines via e-mail alert or RSS.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Karzai Likely Also Feeling Pressure at Home

With Afghanistan's government denying that President Hamid Karzai threatened to join the Taliban if the international community did not stop pressuring him, Gallup surveys conducted in 2009 in Afghanistan document the internal pressure Karzai likely faces at home.

According to The Associated Press, Karzai's frustration stems from international pressure to cut down on "graft, cronyism and electoral fraud." Afghans want this too. As of last fall, 81% of Afghans perceived corruption to be widespread in their government and 58% of Afghans said their government was not doing enough to fight it in general.

Afghans would probably also like to see more fairness and transparency in their elections. Last summer, 50% of voting-age Afghans told Gallup they see elections as an effective way to bring about positive change. However, half as many (24%) told us they had confidence the elections at the time would be fair and transparent. Those who said the opposite later saw their doubts confirmed.

As for Karzai's alleged comments, there's little evidence to suggest Karzai would win support at home by showing interest with siding up with the Taliban. Eight in 10 Afghans in 2009 told us they see the Taliban's influence as negative.

As the U.S. government reacts to the statements from Karzai's government, it is worth underscoring the extent to which views of U.S. leadership in Afghanistan remain fragile. Gallup last year found Afghans more skeptical about the involvement of U.S. troops in their country and divided in their approval of U.S. leadership.

To read all Gallup news about Afghanistan and to be the first to know about new findings, sign up for our Afghanistan e-mail alerts and RSS feeds.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Measuring True Job Creation

More jobs are coming. That's the rosy reassurance from Obama's economic adviser Lawrence Summers on the heels of Friday's news that U.S. unemployment remained steady in March at 9.7%.

Our weekly economic averages -- updated every Monday on our business page -- show just how difficult it is not just to halt job loss, but to spur true job creation.

Our Underemployment Index reveals that even when unemployment declines or stays steady, overall underemployment can increase, as we found in March. That's because some people simply shift from being wholly unemployed to having some work, though still less than they seek. We'll know we have true job growth when that larger underemployment number moves substantially lower.

Among the underemployed, hope for finding a new job within four weeks has barely budged since the start of the year. That's despite both good news and bad news here and there. Since this is a behavioral economic metric based on real job seekers' assessments, rational or otherwise, it will likely take real job creation -- experienced in terms of real job openings and real job interviews -- to narrow the sizable gap between hope and hopelessness.

Our Job Creation Index completes the picture, with working Americans telling us whether their own companies are hiring, letting go, or not changing the size of the workforce. Here again, we see the magnetic pull of the status quo -- with the index either just barely positive or just barely negative for months. That's an improvement from a year ago, but knowing that job creation exceeded job loss by double-digits when we first began tracking it 2008 reminds us exactly how long of a way we have to go.

Our Chief Economist Dennis Jacobe will, in the next few weeks, be launching his own blog to provide our readers with unrivaled insights into the state of mind U.S. job seekers, workers, and consumers based on the behavioral economic metrics Gallup tracks and analyzes every day.

In the meantime, to stay up to date on all of our employment and job creation tracking, sign up for our business e-mail alerts and RSS feeds.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Wellbeing Surveys Unearth Cancer Linkages

Guest blog from Associate Editor Elizabeth Mendes.

Combining two full years of data, or about 700,000 surveys, Gallup’s Dan Witters finds compelling relationships between chronic conditions and cancer.

In a just-released article, Witters reveals that Americans who have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes are more likely to report being diagnosed with cancer than are people who don’t have any of those conditions.

Witters also finds that these relationships hold across all ages. While the directionality of the relationship requires further analysis and more data collection, the linkage between certain, preventable chronic conditions and cancer is clear.

The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index’s huge sample sizes open up the possibility for health discoveries that elude even the most sophisticated medical researchers. And we will continue to mine our wellbeing data for additional insights into cancer’s causes and effects, as well as for other potential medical insights.

For the full article, including additional analysis by age, click here.

To get our latest cancer news when it breaks sign up for wellbeing e-mail alerts or subscribe via RSS.

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