What Was — and Wasn’t on the Public’s Mind
Once again, public opinion played a major role in the most important news stories of the year. Some of the strongest 2006 trends in public opinion carried over from previous years — notably growing concern about the Iraq war and mounting dissatisfaction with the performance of the Republican-controlled Congress.
New UN Chief Heads an Organization That Faces Both Skepticism and Support
When Ban Ki-moon of South Korea placed his left hand on the Charter of the United Nations and was sworn in as its eighth Secretary General, he assumed control of an organization viewed with dramatically varying degrees of respect, skepticism and indifference by the countries of the world.
There’s a Robot on the Line for You
Nearly two-thirds of registered voters (64%) received recorded telephone messages in the final stages of the 2006 mid-term election. These so-called “robo-calls” were the second most popular way for campaigns and political activists to reach voters, trailing only direct mail.
Internet Users In Search of a Home
More than a quarter of all adults in the U.S. — and more than half of 18-29 year olds — have looked online for information about housing, double the overall number of Americans who had done so in 2000.
The Putin Popularity Score
Is Vladimir Putin a new breed of postmodern, post-communist populist or an old-style dictator in democratic clothing? It’s a question currently being debated with even more urgency as the investigation widens into the bizarre poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko, a former Soviet spy and outspoken critic of the Russian president.
Civil War: What’s in a Name?
A mostly insiders-only debate about whether Iraq is in a state of civil war broke out into the open last week when two major news organizations announced that they would henceforth refer to the conflict as a civil war. According to polling in September by the Pew Research Center, much of the public had already reached that conclusion.
Virtual Space is the Place
About 72 million people have used the internet to explore other areas, a 33% increase over 2004 when an estimated 54 million did so. On a typical day, more than five million people are taking virtual tours in cyberspace, up from roughly two million in 2004.
As the array of individuals and mainstream media institutions providing podcasts has expanded rapidly — as well as the types of digital multimedia content available from the internet — so too has the audience for downloadable video, images and text.
Turkey: Troubled Terrain for Pope Benedict
The Pontiff’s diplomatic skills may well be tested as he visits a country where negative views of Christians and the West are on the rise.
America’s Optimists: More Republican, But Fewer of Them
Since 2000, people have become far more pessimistic and partisan in their views about the country’s future — and their own.