What we learned in 2011
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Gallup.com provides a retrospective of 2011, summarizing some of the top findings of the year.
- The majority of Americans begin the new year with the expectation that 2011 will be better than 2010.
- A median of 13% of residents across 25 EU countries say it is a good time to find a job in their communities, compared with 24% of Americans.
- With the GOP Republican field undetermined, Mike Huckabee is the best liked and Sarah Palin is the most recognized of the potential contenders.
- Gallup's new global employment metrics reveal that 19% worldwide were underemployed in 2009 and 2010, while 40% were employed full time for an employer.
- Gallup reveals that a decline in wellbeing preceded the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia, even as GDP in those countries increased.
- U.S. economic optimism rises to a three-year high, with 41% of Americans saying the economy is getting better.
- After Egyptians toppled the regime of longtime president Hosni Mubarak, 47% in the U.S. think the events will spur democracy in the region, and 44% don't.
- With a government shutdown looming, 60% say they would rather see lawmakers compromise on the federal budget than to stick to their principles and not strike a deal.
- Gallup-Healthways tracking finds cold and flu cases up compared to previous years.
- Gallup finds median worldwide approval of U.S. leadership remained largely unchanged in 2010 after surging in 2009.
- A new low 44.6% of Americans report getting their healthcare through an employer.
- Boulder, Colo.; Lincoln, Neb., lead major U.S. metro areas in wellbeing.
- Gallup's global research reveals that full-time employment with an employer is statistically linked to higher wellbeing.
- One year after its passage, 46% in the U.S. say the nation's new healthcare law is a good thing, while 44% say it is a bad thing.
- Gallup reports that actively disengaged workers have lower wellbeing than those who are unemployed.
- U.S. economic optimism plummets compared to January.
- Gallup documents a plunge in federal government hiring, largely erasing its job creation advantage over state and local governments.
- Gallup-Healthways tracking of U.S. health insurance coverage reveals that one in four U.S. adults have government healthcare.
- Gallup's global employment tracking reveals that 27% of young adults in the global workforce are underemployed.
- Gallup's global research reveals that 21% of world citizens were thriving in 2010, unchanged from 2009.
- Americans greatly praise the U.S. mission that killed Osama Bin Laden, with 93% approving and 89% greatly crediting the U.S. military.
- President Barack Obama enjoys a bounce in his job approval rating, following the bin Laden assassination.
- Gallup reveals that 47% of Pakistanis in 2010 felt that their government's anti-terror efforts fell short.
- Newt Gingrich officially announces his presidential candidacy with high recognition, but low positive intensity among Republicans.
- Marking a new two-year high, 74% say economic issues are the most important problem facing the country.
- For the first time in Gallup history, a majority of Americans (53%) support legal gay marriage.
- Gallup finds Egyptians more optimistic about their future lives following the revolution in their country.
- A strong majority of Americans (72%) approve of President Obama's plan to begin withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan.
- Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann enters the Republican race tied with Herman Cain for the highest Positive Intensity Score of any GOP candidate Gallup tracks.
- Americans express historically low confidence in most U.S. institutions.
- Gallup finds that underemployment appears to affect the wellbeing of college graduates and postgraduates more than Americans who are less educated.
- Gallup finds that federal, state, and local government workers enjoy somewhat higher wellbeing than U.S. nongovernment workers.
- U.S. economic confidence drops to its lowest level since March 2009 as U.S. lawmakers debate whether or not to raise the U.S. debt ceiling.
- The majority of Republicans don't express a preference when asked who they are most likely to support for the party's 2012 presidential nomination.
- Gallup-Healthways research reveals that caregiving costs the U.S. $25.2 billion in lost U.S. worker productivity each year.
- Gallup finds that the world's roughly 630 million would-be migrants are most likely to be young, single, educated, and relatively financially well-off.
- For the first time in Gallup history, a majority of Americans support a ban on smoking in all public places.
- More Americans disapprove than approve of the deal reached by U.S. lawmakers to raise the debt ceiling.
- Economic confidence plunges further following debt ceiling debate and downgrade of the U.S. credit rating.
- Shortly after announcing his official candidacy for the Republican nomination, Texas Gov. Rick Perry emerges as Republicans' favorite for their party's 2012 presidential nomination.
- Americans' satisfaction with the way things are going in the U.S. falls back to 11%, the lowest level since December 2008.
- Three in 10 U.S. workers fear being laid off, nearing the high seen in 2009.
- Gallup finds that engaged workers report more hiring than disengaged workers.
- Ten years into the war on terror, Americans split 46%-42% on whether U.S. is winning.
- Americans express historic negativity about how the nation is being governed.
- Upper-income Americans grow more pessimistic about the economy, with 80% saying it is getting worse.
- Three years after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, Gallup finds that key U.S. economic metrics have yet to fully rebound.
- Americans rate their lives worse than at any time since July 2009.
- Fewer young adults in the U.S. report lacking health insurance since the new healthcare law began allowing young adults to stay on their parents' plans up to age 26.
- Suffering in Greece increases sharply, to 25%.
- Gallup's worldwide research reveals that residents are more likely to stay in their communities and recommend them to others when more people are employed full-time with employers.
- Gallup's employment tracking reveals that 30% of 18- to 29-year-olds in the U.S. are underemployed.
- An increasing number of Egyptians say they are "finding it very difficult" to get by on their current income.
- Most Americans say they do not know enough about the Occupy Wall Street movement to take sides.
- Gallup tracking of Americans' weight reveals a decline in the percentage of Americans who are overweight or obese, so that more Americans are at a normal weight than overweight for the first time in three years.
- Americans' support for gun control measures drops to historic lows.
- A record-high 50% of Americans say marijuana use should be made legal, up from 46% last year.
- President Obama averages a new low 41% job approval in his 11th quarter in office, ranking very low historically.
- Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are statistically tied among voters in 12 key swing states.
- The percentage of Americans able to afford food declines and nears a three-year low.
- Newt Gingrich surges as Herman Cain falls in Republicans' positive intensity.
- Americans' holiday spending projections are higher than in previous years.
- A majority of Americans blame both Republicans and Democrats on the U.S. debt "supercommittee" equally for failing to reach an agreement.
- Greeks are the least hopeful about their economy among EU countries, with just 2% saying their local economy is getting better.
- Americans' fear of big government rise to a near-record high, easily dwarfing concerns about big business and big labor.
- Gallup finds that America's 1% tend to be more Republican and more educated than the 99%.
- The majority of Republicans see Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney as acceptable presidential nominees.
- Newt Gingrich's support falls from 37% to 26% in 10 days, following the same "rainbow" pattern as several previous Republican front-runners.
- Congress ends 2011 with new record-low 11% approval.
- Gallup finds a 4.1% increase in average spending during the month leading up to Christmas compared with a year ago.
Stay with Gallup.com for more news and reactions to the news in 2012.
Gallup surveys 1,000 national adults, aged 18 and older, every day and also conducts additional surveys. In most cases, the maximum margin of sampling error is ±2 to ±4 percentage points. For detailed survey methods on any results reported here, please visit the original story.
Interviews are conducted with respondents on land-line telephones (for respondents with a land-line telephone) and cellular phones (for respondents who are cell-phone only).
In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.