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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Americans on Government -- From Every Angle

As you might have read on The New York Times, Politico, NPR, The Daily Telegraph, CNN, or dozens of other outlets, Gallup finds Americans expressing historic negativity toward government.

The findings are based on Gallup's annual Governance survey, in which we asked Americans so many questions about their government -- at a time when this topic is affecting everything from the future of the U.S. economy to its future leader -- that we felt a special series was in order.

We've looked at all of the data, and we're bringing the big themes together in three installments this week:

Our kick-off story published Monday morning focused on the problem, highlighting:
  • 81% of Americans are dissatisfied with the way the country is being governed
  • 82% disapprove of the way Congress is handling its job
  • 69% say they have little or no confidence in the legislative branch of government
  • 57% have little or no confidence in the federal government to solve domestic problems
  • 43% have little or no confidence in the government to solve international problems
  • 53% have little or no confidence in the men and women who seek or hold elected office
  • 49% believe the federal government has become so large and powerful that it poses an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens
The pattern of negativity couldn't be clearer when reviewing the graphics included in our story. Each one is dramatic, but together, the data are truly brutal. In a country founded on democracy, the electorate is voicing historic displeasure with its elected officials.

Next, we're turning to what Americans want from government.

Wednesday morning, we'll report on Americans' philosophic view of government, including:
  • Whether government should ideally take an active versus minimalist role
  • Whether the federal government has too much or too little power
  • Whether there is too much or too little government regulation of business and industry
  • Whether government is doing too much or too little that should be left to business
  • The trade-off between taxes and services

Friday morning, we'll look at specifically what Americans want to see in U.S. politics today, including:
  • Whether they prefer government to be controlled by one party or divided
  • Whether a third party is needed
  • Which political party will do a better job of handling the problem they think is most important
  • Which political party will do a better job of keeping the country prosperous
    Which political party will do a better job of protecting the country

In addition to these, we'll also do a few more standalone stories in the coming days, similar to those we did on Americans' desire for compromise, their perceptions of widespread government waste, and Americans' views on the three branches of government.

To make sure you get every story, sign up for our e-mail alerts and choose "All Gallup Headlines" or "Politics." You can also get all of our stories via Twitter, Facebook, and our mobile apps.

Additionally, we update all of Gallup's long-term trends in our Trends A-Z center, and list our regularly scheduled surveys at the bottom.

For more inside scoops on what we're reporting, follow me on Twitter @gallupqueue.

Monday, September 19, 2011

3 Years, 10 Years, 100 Years

We've marked two anniversaries this month of events that changed the world.  One, of course, is the 10 year anniversary of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.  The second is the three year anniversary of the sudden jolts that sent the global economy into crisis. Both were "once in a lifetime" sort of events that changed countries, cities, businesses, and individual lives.

It's the impact of these types of events -- and countless much smaller ones happening every day in every city in the world -- that Gallup seeks to measure and track with scientific precision. Our long-term trends, daily tracking, and global polling allow us to measure changes happening at the ground level, to equip leaders with the knowledge they need to change things for the better.

Three years since the collapse of Lehman Brothers, U.S. economic confidence is hovering around its 2009 lows, having erased the improvement seen in late 2009 and 2010. Consumer spending is nowhere near where it was in 2008.  Thirty-nine percent of Americans now call unemployment the most important problem in the U.S. -- compared with the 6% who mentioned it August 2008. You need no further evidence that the U.S. economy is far from recovered.

Ten years after 9/11, Americans' level of worry about the imminent threat of terrorism is near its record-low point, but they are divided on whether we are winning the war on terrorism. Two wars in and more than one trillion dollars in debt, Americans view the federal government more negatively than ever and estimate it wastes 51 cents of every dollar. The U.S. remains the runaway world's economic leader, but its own people give China that title. It is clear that classical economic indicators are no longer enough to get the fully story.

Globally, many of the world’s citizens are struggling or suffering, as opposed to thriving. Political change can often be found where the percentage who are thriving is declining, even in the face of economic progress. Gallup found exactly that in Egypt and Tunisia, and is on the lookout for rumblings of the next revolution.

The world’s problems are big and they won’t be solved quickly. That’s why we at Gallup are committed to measuring exactly what's happening, all over the world, for at least 100 years.

In his new book "The Coming Jobs War," which comes out Oct. 4, Gallup Chairman and CEO Jim Clifton reports on what we've learned from all of Gallup's data around the world.  His overarching takeaway -- "what the whole world wants is a good job" -- is the linchpin for a series of inter-related, actionable strategies leaders can use to create jobs by tapping into the true potential of workplaces, schools, cities, entrepreneurs, and more. 

The outcomes -- after global terrorism and global economic turmoil and a global war for jobs -- are not set in stone. That's why we're measuring everything we can think of. Our measures ebb and flow, documenting progress and lack thereof. All too often they remind us it's the 7 billion people of the planet -- not punditry nor prediction nor predetermination -- that will decide what happens next.

We're tracking it for you and bringing new findings every day on

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Thank You, Readers, for a Phenomenal August

Thank you to the more than 2.5 million of you who visited in August. We had more traffic last month than in any month since the height of the 2008 presidential election. 

Our goal is to provide leaders worldwide with the most up-to-date and accurate data on the issues that matter most. While our Gallup Daily tracking and analysis of President Barack Obama's approval rating drives a lot of our traffic, we're happy to see readers coming to us regularly for unrivaled insight on the GOP presidential race, unemployment, economic confidence, wellbeing, and more. Those are just some of the metrics we track worldwide, to give leaders the intelligence they need to better serve their constituencies.

Specifically, here are our most popular stories and features of August 2011:

In addition, here are a few more stories from August which I think provide great intelligence for leaders:

In August, we also launched our new streamlined email registration, which makes it incredibly quick and easy to sign up to get Gallup news stories delivered to your inbox as soon as they are published. 

We have a lot more exciting changes coming your way during the rest of the year, so it's a great time to become a frequent reader.  We're tracking politics, economics, health, and wellbeing issues every day around the world and bringing the findings back to you. And, as always, your comments, questions, and story ideas are welcome here and at  We value your readership! If you value our data and analysis, please share our site with a friend.

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