State of the Union 2014: Where Americans Stand on Key Issues

Jan 29, 2014

President Obama and other administration officials have been road-testing several possible themes and proposals that are likely to come up in his State of the Union speech on Tuesday, with all indications being that he will concentrate on domestic issues. While there will be plenty of partisan debate over the speech’s content, we thought it would be informative to look at what Americans think about topics that Obama is likely to discuss.

1. Economy: Americans still have mostly bleak views of the national economy, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. 45% rated economic conditions “only fair” and 39% “poor,” compared with 16% who termed them excellent or good. For more information, see our key data points.

2. Health care reform: More than half (54%) of Americans disapprove of Obama’s signature health care reform law, the Affordable Care Act, according to a Pew Research survey from December; 41% said they approved of the law. Nearly half (48%) said the law would make the nation’s health care situation worse in the long run, 35% said it would make it better, and 12% said it wouldn’t make much difference either way.

3. Income inequality: 65% of Americans say the gap between the rich and everyone else has widened in the past decade, according to a new Pew Research Center survey; a similar percentage (67%) recently told Gallup they were dissatisfied with the way income and wealth are distributed in the U.S. In the Pew Research survey, nearly seven-in-ten Americans said the government should do “a lot” (43%) or “some” (26%) to reduce the gap. For more on inequality (especially the impact on the middle class), see these key data points.

4. Minimum wage: 73% support raising the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour, according to Pew Research; 40% say they “strongly favor” such an increase.

Read the full article at the Pew Research Center.

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