The Washington Post

Poll Watchers 6/24/11: Friday blues for the economy, New York same-sex marriage, Libya operation and U.S. evangelicals

- Flagging economic optimism – Only 29 percent of Americans expect the economy to improve in the next year, down from 35 percent last October to the lowest point since 2008, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. Almost a quarter believe the economy will get worse and fully 46 percent say it will stay the same; not a good prognosis given that 91 percent currently say the economy is in bad shape. Those results mirror a new AP poll which found 33 percent believing that the economy will improve – down 10 points in a month – and 29 percent saying it will get worse. Why the souring spirits? Pew notes that the percentage of Americans hearing “mostly bad” economic news has almost doubled from 24 to 46 percent since January.

- Same-sex marriage in New York – President Obama stepped into the gay marriage debate Thursday, praising New York state legislators who are in the midst of negotiations to possibly legalize gay marriage in that state. Obama stopped short of endorsing same-sex marriage, but voters in the state are leaning toward legalization according to two recent polls. Over half of registered voters – 55 percent – in a Siena College poll from early June support making same-sex marriage legal in the state. And 58 percent of New York voters expressed support for a law that would allow same-sex couples to get married in a late May Quinnipiac poll. In each poll, Democrats and independents are in majority support while Republicans oppose it broadly.

- Approval of Libya operation falls – As House Republicans plan to vote today on stripping funding for offensive military options in Libya, fewer than four in 10 – 37 percent – now approve of U.S. military action in Libya, down 10 points from March, according to a one-day Gallup poll. Approval dropped a dramatic 18 points among Republicans from 57 to 39 percent, possibly a reaction to heightened scrutiny of the mission from congressional Republicans.

- U.S. evangelical leaders pessimistic about future of faith – Two-thirds of evangelical leaders around the world – but just 31 percent of those in the United States – believe that the state of evangelicalism in their country will improve in the next five years, according to a unique survey by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. Pew polled evangelical leaders attending the 2010 Lausanne Congress of World Evangelization. And while almost six in 10 leaders from Africa, Asia and Latin America say evangelicals are increasing their influence on life in their countries, only 31 percent of those in North America and Europe say the same.

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