2012 is going to be a big year for Washington DC. Not only are we going to get more political skits from Saturday Night Live (remember this gem from 2008?), but we’re also going to hear a ton of campaign promises on how candidates plan to make things better for the economy, the government purse and housing.

But before we go down that rabbit hole, let’s take a step back and ask the American people what they want rather than listening to politicians tell us what we need. To do this, we asked people across the country (through an online survey conducted by Harris Interactive), what they thought needs to be done to fix the economy. We also asked them what would actually make them believe that things are getting better and if they still believe Obama can turnaround the housing market.

So what did our Winter 2011 survey tell us? To give you the inside scoop, we put together an infographic to help us walk though all the key findings. Let’s get started…

Get Your Priorities Straight – Jobs Before Homes!
The bigwigs at the capital might still be battling it out over how to fix the economy, but if you were to ask everyday Americans what they think the government needs to do, they’ll give it to you straight. Helping people find jobs needs to come before helping people buy homes. To flip this would be putting the cart before the horse, and it’s a sentiment that’s shared by both team elephant (Republicans) and team donkey (Democrats). Just check out the bar chart below to see just how aligned everyone is.

Jobs Before Housing Policy

It’s About Keeping What Ya Got
While housing ranked lower on almost everyone’s to-do list, 72% of Americans said government policies and programs should be pimping out homeownership. But wait! Before you get all up and arms about how “irresponsible” that is, let’s point out a notable caveat first.  By encouraging people to be homeowners, what Americans are really saying is that they want Uncle Sam to help current homeowners keep their homes, rather than helping renters buy their own pads. The chart below spells this out much better, illustrating the housing policies and proposals that voters care most about.

Housing Policies and Proposals We Like

Housing Recovery? Seeing Is Believing
While the housing market isn’t crashing and burning like it did five years ago, things aren’t exactly coming up roses right now. But really, what’s the light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to a recovery?

To find out, we asked people to tell us what will make them feel better about buying and selling homes (by picking 3 things out of 10 options). Interestingly, the top three beacons of hope were things that you can see with your own two eyes. This includes fewer foreclosures, fewer lingering for-sale signs and fewer empty houses. Check out the flow chart below to see where prices and lower mortgage rates ranked.

What Will Consumer Confidence in Housing Market

A Change of Confidence We Can Believe In
Back in 2008, Obama asked the American people to “vote for change” – there was a bit of marketing magic in how he united the nation around his vision that “yes we can” make things better. Now fast forward to today and it’s almost safe to say that the more noticeable change we’ve seen is a change in consumer confidence.

How do we know this? Well, we had asked people back in 2009 about their confidence in the incoming president’s ability to turnaround the housing market. We then asked this same questions again in 2011 and then graphed the results in a side-by-side comparison. Clearly, America’s faith in Obama’s ability to stabilize the housing market has waned.

Housing Hurts Obama's Re-election

So long story short, if the president hopes to have a second term, then he best be ready to fight for it. With about 65% of Americans saying that housing hurt Obama’s re-election, Obama’s got an uphill battle waiting for him. Only time will tell if the President can bring back Candidate Obama from 2008. 

To see the full results from our latest consumer survey, click through the slideshare below:

To view a video of our Chief Economist Jed Kolko discussing the findings, see below.

To download the infographics pasted above, check out our Flickr account:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/truliavisuals/