Washington, DC -- In the run-up to President Bush's inauguration yesterday, six in ten Americans (60%) say they feel "hopeful" about Bush's second term.
A hopeful outlook is shared by men and women, and by people of all education levels. There are signs, though, of a generation gap, marriage gap and political gap in the public's expectations. Seniors age 65 and over are more hopeful than the average (66%), while people under 30 are less hopeful (50%; 49% are not). Married men (66%) and married women (65%) are more hopeful than single men and women (49% and 54%, respectively). Republican registered voters are almost universally hopeful (89%), while Democratic registered voters are mostly not hopeful (67% are not).
Public Divided Between Those Worried and Not While a majority of Americans are hopeful about Bush's second term in office, they are divided between the nearly half (47%) who are worried about the next four years and the slim majority (53%) who are not. A quarter (27%) of those who are hopeful about Bush's second term are also worried about it.
To a great extent, worry - like hopefulness - is linked to political orientation. Three-quarters (76%) of Democratic registered voters are worried, while most Republican registered voters (88%) are not. But other factors, including economic ones, are at work. People who say their financial situation is likely to weaken over the next year are worried (76%), while those who expect a stronger financial situation at home are not worried (71%). In addition, members of minority groups (64%) and urban residents (53%) are worried, while whites (57%) and rural residents (58%) tend not to be.
Fewer Feel Either Excited or Angry Stronger emotions are less often expressed. Just over a quarter (28%) say they feel excited about Bush's second term; 72% do not. Excitement is more often expressed by Republicans (57%), and also residents of the southern Oil Patch region (37%).
One in five Americans (21%) feel "angry" about Bush's second term in office; 79% are not angry. Anger is found most often among Democrats (42%) and people who expect their finances to weaken over the next year (42%), as well as non-whites (37%), unmarried women (29%), residents of the Northeast (29%) and Pacific (28%) regions, and city dwellers (25%).
Public Says Iraq and the Economy Should be Bush's Top Priorities The situation in Iraq (31%) tops the list of Bush's highest priorities for his second term. Nearly one in four (23%) say the economy and jobs should be the President's top concern, followed by terrorism (15%). About one in ten name health care (11%), Social Security (9%) or education (7%), while few (2%) say taxes should be President Bush's highest priority.
The situation in Iraq is of special concern to residents in the Northeastern U.S. (44%), people age 65 and over (42%) and Democratic registered voters (40%). By contrast, terrorism is given greater emphasis by married men (23%; vs. 9% of unmarried women), higher-income earners (20% of those earning over $75,000) and Republican registered voters (28%; equal to the 29% who choose Iraq as Bush's highest priority).
Men under 45 (33%) most often say the economy and jobs should be the President's highest priority. Senior citizens are less concerned about the economy (10%); instead, 17% say Social Security should be at the top of Bush's agenda. People with low incomes (13% of those earning less than $25,000) or no more than a high school education (15%) also place more emphasis on Social Security. Education is a greater priority for people between the ages of 18 and 30 (14%), as well as residents of the western U.S. (14%).
Half Worried about Stability in Iraq Concern about the situation in Iraq is reflected in the public's doubts about the results of Iraq's upcoming elections. With just about three weeks to go, over half (53%) of Americans say it is not likely that a stable, democratic government will be established in Iraq. Concern has grown slowly over the past nine months (44% not likely in mid-April 2004). Currently 46% say it is likely that Iraq will have a stable, democratic government, but far more say it is "somewhat" (37%) than "very likely" (9%).
U.S. Relations with Other Countries Same or Worse Than Four Years Ago Half (50%) of Americans say U.S. relations with other countries are worse than they were four years ago. Four in ten (39%) say they are the same, and relatively few (10%) say they are better.
Men and women, as well as people of different ages and from different parts of the U.S. tend to hold similar views on relations with other countries. Republican voters are more likely to see relations as better (16%), while Democratic voters see relations as worse (72%). People who are worried about Bush's second term also perceive relations between the U.S. and other countries are worse now (75%).
Household Finances Projected to Hold Steady or Improve While the economy and jobs is named as the second most important priority for President Bush's second term, most Americans expect their own family's financial situation to be the same (42%) or stronger (39%) a year from now. One in five (19%) anticipate their financial situation will be weaker.
People in their thirties (52% stronger), higher-income earners (48% of those in the $75,000+ bracket) and married men (47%) are especially optimistic about their financial future. In addition, more than a fifth of non-whites (24%) and urban residents (22%) believe they will be in a "much stronger" financial situation a year from now.
Majorities Describe Bush as Likeable, Strong Two in three respondents say that President Bush can be described as "likeable" (66%) and "strong" (65%). Majorities also agree that he is "intelligent" (62%) and "dependable" (57%) and to a lesser degree, "honest" (53%). Majorities of those who see Bush as strong and honest, for instance, also feel hopeful for the President's second term (75% and 85%, respectively).
Opinion is split down the middle on whether President Bush is "arrogant" (49%) or not (50%). People who describe the President as "arrogant" also see problems for the U.S. in international affairs: they say relations with other countries are worse now than four years ago (72%) and think it's unlikely Iraq will establish a stable and democratic government (74%).
Methodology The Associated Press Poll is conducted by Ipsos-Public Affairs. Between January 10-12, 2005, the AP-Ipsos poll interviewed a representative sample of 1,000 adults nationwide. The margin of error is +/- 3.1 for all adults. Margin of error for subgroups may be higher.
For more information on this press release, please contact: Janice Bell Director, Ipsos Public Affairs Washington, D.C. 202.463.7300
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