• Budget worries, trust on economy – A growing number of Americans offer the federal budget as the most important national problem in a new Gallup poll. Fully 17 percent name this as the top problem, the highest level in 15 years. The increases reflects the intense media focus on the issue: Pew finds that the budget story accounted for 29 percent of all coverage last week.
Another new release from Gallup finds majorities placing their trust in governors and business leaders to do the right thing for the economy. Exactly 50 percent say they trust President Obama on the economy and 50 percent do not. Fewer trust Democrats and Republican leaders in Congress.
• Tax time – Two new polls find majorities largely okay with the taxes they pay. In an AP poll, 54 percent say the amount they pay is fair, 46 percent unfair. A Fox News poll finds a similar 52 percent of registered voters saying the amount they pay in taxes are pretty close to their fair share, and 43 percent say they pay too much. But fairness doesn’t extend to personal benefits: 60 percent in the Fox poll think that based on all the government services they utilize they are getting a bad deal.
• Libya – A CNN poll finds 73 percent believe removing Moammar Gadhafi from power in Libya should be an important policy goal for the United States, but just 28 percent call it a “very important” one. Most — 55 percent — say it is not in the national interest for the United States to be “involved in the conflict in Libya.” Still, 52 percent favor limited United States involvement in the NATO led air strikes on Libya, when its described as a supporting role. Only 23 percent would support expanding efforts to include U.S. and NATO ground troops if the missile strikes are not effective.
• Mood and Energy – A new Ipsos-Reuters poll finds the public mood declining for three straight months to 25 percent now saying we are going in the right direction. Obama’s approval ratings have ticked down too to 46 percent. Also in the poll, support for nuclear energy as a way to produce electricity has dipped to 49 percent, while other sources of power – hydro, coal, natural gas, solar and wind – have held steady.
• Barry Bonds – When last assessed, the home run king was judged harshly in the court of public opinion. In Gallup data from February 2009, 84 percent said he was probably or definitely not telling the truth about his steroid use. Nearly twice as many saw him unfavorably as favorably, 43 to 23 percent. For a baseball player with some of the most staggering statistics and awards, a 44 percent plurality say he should not be elected to the Hall of Fame.