The state of our union: Politicians, businesses, and foreign threats
AEI Political Report, February 2013

White House/Pete Souza

President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address in the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., Jan. 25, 2011.

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As President Obama prepares to deliver his State of the Union address on Tuesday, AEI’s new Political Report compares views about the president, the economy, and business today with those in early 2009.  

Key Points

The president’s standing is solid, but approval ratings of the nation’s economy, big business, banks, and Wall Street are anemic. Dissatisfaction with government is at Watergate-era levels.

• Satisfaction with the state of the economy is at 27 percent, up from 10 percent in 2009.

• Confidence in big business, banks, and Wall Street remains low, although generally positive views about capitalism have not changed in the wake of the financial crisis.

On the 10th anniversary of the Iraq War, we examine 20 years of attitudes about US involvement there and gauge broader views about American military affairs abroad.

• In January 2013, 55 percent called the war in Iraq a success. But only 28 percent said it has reduced the threat of terrorism, and 70 percent said it worsened relations with the Muslim world.

• Six in ten still say it is best for the United States to take an active role in foreign affairs; 38 percent say it is best if we stay out. 

• In 1980, 68 percent of Americans opposed women in combat. In 1992, when a presidential commission considered the issue, opinion was divided. Today, the public is strongly in favor. 

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