GOODBYE, 2005 … As the year winds down, the Pew Research Center has released its list of the Top Ten Opinion Trends of 2005:
1. Presidential popularity plunge
2. Hurricane blowback
3. Iraq disillusionment
4. Pump shock and economy anxiety
5. Inward [isolationist] turn
6. Domestic issues ascendant
7. Schiavo backlash
8. Evolution devolution
9. Social Security missteps
10. Feds out of favor
What’s also interesting is to look at what major news did not grip public attention — or what expected consequences never materialized. Among such non-trends of 2005:
* The Democrats did not gain much ground in public opinion polls, even as the GOP lost ground. Yet in the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll from Dec 18, respondents said they trusted Democrats over Republicans, 47 to 42 percent, to handle “the main problems the nation faces over the next few years.”
* The London subway bombings did not trigger much change in Americans’ views of Islam or Muslim-Americans. Further, the number of poll respondents who believe that Islam is more likely than other religions to encourage violence has declined over the past two years, from 44 to 36 percent.
* Americans do not generally regard the mainstream media as a four-letter word, though you wouldn’t know it from listening to the talk shows. 80 percent of respondents said they had a favorable opinion of their daily newspaper; 79 percent and 75 percent had a favorable opinion of local and network TV news.