Gallup polls Americans on the State of the Union

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     President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016. (Evan Vucci/AP Photo, Pool)

    President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016. (Evan Vucci/AP Photo, Pool)

    NewsWorks Tonight host Dave Heller sits down for his weekly conversation with Gallup’s Frank Newport to talk about trends in American opinion.

    President Obama made his final State of the Union address Tuesday night, and it’s interesting to see how what he said on these three topics matches up with what we know about public opinion.

    “Let me start with the economy, and a basic fact: the United States of America, right now, has the strongest, most durable economy in the world”…. and “anyone claiming that America’s economy is in decline is peddling fiction.” It is not at all clear that Americans agree with those assessments.
    “I told you earlier all the talk of America’s economic decline is political hot air. Well, so is all the rhetoric you hear about our enemies getting stronger and America getting weaker. The United States of America is the most powerful nation on Earth.”Here we do find agreement from the American public, although by no means is this sentiment universal.
    “Look, if anybody still wants to dispute the science around climate change, have at it. You’ll be pretty lonely, because you’ll be debating our military, most of America’s business leaders, the majority of the American people, almost the entire scientific community, and 200 nations around the world who agree it’s a problem and intend to solve it.”Americans do agree that climate change is happening, but are not nearly as concerned about it as Obama assumes.

    Obama was speaking in the House of Representatives… with most members of Congress in attendance. Congress’ job approval rating was about one third as high as Obama’s is now.

    We are seeing a fascinating phenomenon take place that is similar to what we see with the rise of the religious “nones”.

    Fewer and fewer Americans want to label themselves as either Democrats or Republicans, and more and more — record levels — want to say they are “independent”.

    Finally, what do Americans say when we ask them: “What is your favorite way to spend an evening?” Gallup first asked this question in 1960.

    Click the audio player to listen to the full interview.

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