Oct 30, 2014 1:21 pm

5 facts about evolution and religion

FT_14.10.29_evolution-promo

Are faith and belief in evolution necessarily at odds? According to Pope Francis, the answer is no. Indeed, the pope recently reaffirmed the Roman Catholic Church’s view that “evolution in nature is not inconsistent” with church teaching on creation, pushing the debate on human origins back into the news.

Although most U.S. Catholics accept the idea of evolution in some form, a substantial percentage of American adults reject the scientific explanation for the origins of human life, and a number of religious groups in the U.S. maintain that Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution through natural selection is not correct because it conflicts with their views of creation. Read More

Category: 5 Facts

Topics: Catholics and Catholicism, Evolution, Religion and Society

Oct 30, 2014 10:00 am

When it comes to happiness, money matters

The Great Recession created some clear winners and losers. Advanced economies’ growth rates tanked after 2007, while many emerging and developing markets’ economies continued to soar. This divergence in fortunes has had a major impact on whether people in these countries are satisfied with their lives today and optimistic about the years ahead.

Here are five takeaways from a new Pew Research Center report from its 43-nation survey on life satisfaction around the world.

1 On average, richer countries are happier, but only up to a point. As GDP per capita increases in a country, so does the percentage of people who rate their life at seven or higher on a ladder where 0 represents the worst possible life and 10 represents the best possible life. But, among richer nations, the increase in happiness due to higher incomes tends to taper off. For example, a majority of Malaysians (56%) rate their life at seven or higher, considerably more than the much poorer Bangladeshis (34%). However, Germans (60%) – who are far richer than Malaysians – are only somewhat more satisfied with their current life situation.

Read More

Topics: Economic Recession, Economics and Personal Finances, Globalization and Trade, World Economies

Oct 30, 2014 9:45 am

Which news organization is the most trusted? The answer is complicated.

Our recent report, Political Polarization and Media Habits, finds that trust and distrust in the news media varies greatly by political ideology. Many readers asked us: Among the 36 news organizations we asked about, which one do Americans trust most? The answer is more complex than it may seem and can be measured in a number of different ways. Here’s a breakdown:

1Trust of News SourcesThe full population picture doesn’t tell the whole story. If you look simply at the total percentage of online adults who say they trust a news organization for news about government and politics, several mainstream television outlets rise to the top. CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox News are all trusted by more than four-in-ten web-using U.S. adults. These high numbers, though, are intertwined with the fact that more than nine-in-ten respondents have heard of these five news sources. Trust and distrust were only asked of sources respondents had heard of, thus, the better known a source is, the more Americans in total who can voice trust or distrust of that source. A source like The Economist, on the other hand, is known by just 34% of respondents and so could never have a trust level exceeding 34% — even if everyone who had heard of it trusted it.  Read More

Topics: News Audience Trends and Attitudes, News Sources, Newspapers

Oct 30, 2014 9:00 am

5 facts about online harassment

Last week, Pew Research Center released its first in-depth study of online harassment among American adults, which examined the prevalence of harassment online, its various forms, where it occurs, and how people respond. The topic has received a good deal of attention over the past year, first from journalists documenting their experiences with hostility online, then to the aftermath of hacked celebrity photos, and most recently the controversy surrounding #Gamergate. Read More

Topics: Privacy and Safety, Social Media

Oct 30, 2014 7:00 am

Heading into midterms, Americans still as bummed out as they were in 2012, 2010

unemployment, housing, national mood today compared with 2012, 2010

With Election Day fast approaching, Americans are feeling somewhat better this year about the national economy than they were the past two election cycles — a sentiment borne out by improvements in several key indicators. But by many other measures, their collective mood hasn’t really improved. Read More

Topics: 2014 Election, National Economy

Oct 29, 2014 7:00 am

Registered voters, likely voters, turnout rates: What does it all mean to 2014 election forecasts?

Registered voters, likely voters, turnout rates: What does it all mean to 2014 election forecasts?
(FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)

One of the most important factors in the results of 2014 pre-election polls being released almost daily at this stage in the cycle is determining the answers to two questions: How many Americans are likely to vote, and which voters in the survey are the likely voters? Important as this is, there is almost no consensus among the pollsters as to how to identify each of these groups.

The least sophisticated polls derive their likely voters by asking respondents if they are registered, and if so, do they plan to vote. The more rigorous surveys ask their registered voters a series of questions: Will you vote, are you certain, have you voted in the past, are you interested in the campaign, where do you go to vote, or do you vote by mail, and so on. Respondents are scored based on these questions to derive a likely voter group based upon cumulative answers to the “turnout” questions. Read More

Topics: 2014 Election, Election News, Elections and Campaigns, Polling, Research Methodology, Voter Participation

Oct 27, 2014 11:34 am

Brazil continues South America’s incumbent streak

(Dida Sampaio/Estado Conteudo, Agencia Estado via AP Images)
(Dida Sampaio/Estado Conteudo, Agencia Estado via AP Images)

South America ElectionsThe narrow re-election Sunday of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff maintained the recent record of South American nations when it comes to returning presidential incumbents to office.

Indeed, in recent decades, no incumbents from the 10 Latin American countries on the continent have lost bids for re-election. If Latin countries in Central America and the Caribbean are included, only two incumbent presidents have lost recent re-election bids: Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega in 1990 and the Dominican Republic’s Hipólito Mejía in 2004.

Since 1980, incumbents in South America (not including Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana) have won all 17 presidential elections in which they were on the ballot. During the same period, four American presidents (Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama) won re-election and two (Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush) were defeated.  Read More

Topics: Election News, International Governments and Institutions, Latin America, World Elections

Oct 24, 2014 2:15 pm

6 facts about marijuana

Attitudes about marijuana have undergone a rapid shift in public opinion, paralleled by few other trends in the U.S. Our recent data, along with historical figures from Gallup and the General Social Survey, reveal how views have shifted about the drug over time. Earlier this year, our survey found that many more Americans now favor shifting the focus of the nation’s overall drug policy. Here are six key facts about public opinion and marijuana:

1Support for marijuana legalization is rapidly outpacing opposition. A slim majority (52%) of Americans say the drug should be made legal, compared with 45% who want it to be illegal. Opinions have changed drastically since 1969, when Gallup first asked the question and found that just 12% favored legalizing marijuana use. Much of the change in opinion has occurred over the past few years — support rose 11 points between 2010 and 2013 (although it has remained unchanged in the past year). Separately, 76% in our February survey said people convicted of minor possession should not serve time in jail. Read More

Category: 5 Facts

Topics: Domestic Affairs and Policy, Drugs

Oct 24, 2014 1:35 pm

Consumer sentiment in U.S. and Europe diverging, along with their economic outlooks

US&EUconfidence2Americans and Europeans both have been dealing with disappointing recoveries for a while, but their attitudes, like their economies, now are moving in different directions. U.S. consumers’ expectations have risen over the past few months, after being more or less flat since late 2012. But European attitudes, which had grown steadily more optimistic since mid-2013, reversed this summer — perhaps a reflection of dimming prospects for the European economy.

These disparities are potentially significant since, after all, the U.S. and European economies don’t operate on separate planets. Indeed, some economists worry that overseas weakness could derail the five-year economic expansion in the U.S. As Wells Fargo senior economist Eugenio Aleman told The Wall Street Journal: “The U.S. for now is growing on its own, but it cannot grow on its own in the medium to long term. We will need some help from the rest of the world.”

Read More

Topics: World Economies

Oct 24, 2014 10:04 am

19% say they get news from a source they distrust

FT_News.DistrustBy and large, Americans trust the news they hear from the most well-known organizations.

But a new Pew Research Center report on political polarization and media habits finds that a significant number of web-using adults get at least some of their news about government and politics from sources that they distrust – a concept that may seem puzzling.

Nearly two-in-ten (19%) respondents from our survey said they get news from a source (be it a cable news network, a news magazine or a news website) that they distrust. This figure, though, is more pronounced among conservatives. About a quarter of both those with consistently conservative (26%) and mostly conservative (25%) political views consume at least one source that they distrust, compared with just 14% of those with consistently liberal political views and 16% of those with mostly liberal views. Still, most respondents (78%) get news only from outlets they trust or ones they neither trust nor distrust. (Ideological consistency in this analysis is based on responses to 10 questions about a range of political values.)  Read More

Topics: News Audience Trends and Attitudes, News Sources, Political Polarization