Americans now predict they will spend an average $740 on Christmas gifts, up slightly from their more budget-conscious $704 November estimate, but down from last year. This still points to limited holiday earnings gains for retailers.
Thirty percent of Americans now hold a favorable opinion of the Tea Party movement, a new low. The majority of Republicans express a favorable opinion of the group, yet 22% of Americans view themselves as supporters of the movement.
Americans view the Democratic and Republican parties unfavorably, but the Democratic Party has a 10-percentage-point favorability edge over the GOP. Moderates are more likely to view the Democratic Party than the GOP favorably.
Americans' job approval rating for Congress in 2013 averaged 14%, the lowest annual average in Gallup's history, including a 12% reading in December. Congressional approval has averaged below 20% for each of the last four years.
Americans' confidence in the economy is still slowly recovering from its government shutdown-induced plunge. Gallup's Economic Confidence Index averaged -22 last week, up from -39 in mid-October, but below the -15 from mid-September.
Three in 10 Americans say they put off medical care for themselves or their family in the past year because of the cost -- higher than what Gallup found in the early 2000s. Nearly two in 10 delayed care for serious conditions.
The percentage of Americans who rated their lives highly enough to be considered "thriving" ticked up in November after declining the prior five months. Americans' life ratings mirror recent changes in economic confidence and standard of living perceptions.
Read about younger Americans' familiarity with the healthcare law, how many uninsured Americans plan to stay that way, Ukrainians' discontent with their country's leadership, and more in this week's review.
In the U.S., a majority of Americans want Congress to either repeal or scale back the 2010 healthcare law. Republicans and Democrats are more divided about what Congress should do than they were in October.
President Barack Obama's job approval rating of 41% in November is down 12 points from the recent monthly high of 53% in December 2012. His largest declines were among Hispanics, lower-income Americans, nonwhites, and moderates.
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