The NPR/Kaiser/Kennedy School Polls

Immigration in America
NPR, the Kaiser Family Foundation and Harvard's Kennedy School of Government surveyed more than 1,100 native-born Americans and nearly 800 immigrants on their attitudes toward immigrants and immigration. The poll found Americans' views of immigrants are less negative than they've been in years; those who have contact with immigrants are more positive. Immigrants themselves, not surprisingly, are much more positive than non-immigrants. Mexican, Central and South American immigrants differ significantly in their responses from other immigrants.

Sex Education in America
The debate over whether to have sex education in American schools is over. An NPR, Kaiser Family Foundation, and Harvard's Kennedy School of Government poll finds that only 7 percent of Americans say sex education should not be taught in schools. Moreover, in most places there is little debate about what kind of sex education should be taught. But there are still some pockets of controversy.

Americans' Views on Taxes
An NPR/Kaiser/Kennedy School survey asked 1,339 people about their opinions on the U.S. income tax system. The poll found that for the most part, Americans feel better about the federal tax system than they have since the 1960s. In tough economic times, they do not see tax cuts as a priority. But the poll also reveals a general lack knowledge about how the system works, and who pays the most.

Election Tracking Polls
From late spring through the week before the 2002 midterm election, NPR, the Kaiser Family Foundation, and Harvard's Kennedy School of Government conducted a series of polls to track voter opinion. Although the Democrats had hoped to make health care an issue, the surveys found little change in voter attitudes toward health care. Indeed, the surveys found little change in voter attitudes about anything during the election season, indicating that issues were not dominant in voters' minds.

Civil Liberties Update
These NPR/Kaiser/Kennedy School surveys, conducted in August 2002, find the country evenly divided on the tradeoff between civil liberties and security, but they also point to a small though statistically significant number of Americans moving toward the civil liberties side of the issue. In addition, the surveys explore the great importance Americans attach to the concept of citizenship. Most Americans believe that non-citizens should not have the same rights as citizens if they are suspected of terrorism, but that naturalized citizens should have the same rights as the native born.

Health Care
This survey points to a significant medical divide in the United States along socio-economic lines. The vast majority of people in the top income categories have very few problems with health care. But in the bottom income categories, many people are burdened by health care problems. And when they are, the problems are likely to be serious. The poll was conducted March 28 - May 1, 2002.

Civil Liberties
This survey shows most Americans are willing to accept curbs on civil liberties in order to fight terrorism. There's also an accompanying supplemental poll on military tribunals. The surveys were conducted in November 2001.

Only about one in 10 Americans named poverty, welfare, or something similar as one of the two top issues government should address, but most of them think poverty is still a big problem in the country. The poll was conducted in January and February 2001.

Government Attitudes
A poll in June 2000 shows that while many Americans may say they distrust government, most want more government involvement and more government regulation to solve the nation's problems.

A late-1999 poll shows that people overwhelmingly think that computers and the Internet have made Americans' lives better. They are buying computers at a fast pace, they are hooking up to the Internet from home, and, for the most part, they like what they see.

This education poll from July 1999 shows that Americans approve of paying higher taxes for schools, but insist on fairness in how the money is spent.

Social Security
In this survey on the long-term future of Social Security, Americans said they were most interested in plans to invest some of their Social Security payments themselves, but said they were opposed to difficult changes like reducing benefits, increasing taxes, or raising the retirement age. Although Americans generally understood how Social Security works and why changes may be necessary over the next 30-40 years, they misunderstood some key elements of the system, and this misinformation may play a role in their policy preferences. This poll was conducted in March 1999.

This survey, conducted in April 1999, showed substantial support for current military action in Yugoslavia. But less than a majority of Americans favored sending in ground troops if U.S. and NATO goals were not reached through the bombing campaign, and the numbers fell off sharply when casualties were mentioned. Americans felt that the main reason for taking action in Kosovo was that the United States had a moral obligation to do so. Women were significantly more undecided than men.