Jun 23, 2017 4:00 pm

Public support for ‘single payer’ health coverage grows, driven by Democrats

A majority of Americans say it is the federal government’s responsibility to make sure all Americans have health care coverage. And a growing share now supports a “single payer” approach to health insurance, according to a new national survey by Pew Research Center.

Currently, 60% say the federal government is responsible for ensuring health care coverage for all Americans, while 39% say this is not the government’s responsibility. These views are unchanged from January, but the share saying health coverage is a government responsibility remains at its highest level in nearly a decade.

Among those who see a government responsibility to provide health coverage for all, more now say it should be provided through a single health insurance system run by the government, rather than through a mix of private companies and government programs. Overall, 33% of the public now favors such a “single payer” approach to health insurance, up 5 percentage points since January and 12 points since 2014. Democrats – especially liberal Democrats – are much more supportive of this approach than they were even at the start of this year.  Read More

Topics: Federal Government, Health Care, Political Issue Priorities, Political Party Affiliation, Political Polarization

Jun 23, 2017 7:01 am

Bipartisan support for some gun proposals, stark partisan divisions on many others

Republicans and Democrats find rare common ground on some gun policy proposals in the U.S. Large majorities in both parties continue to favor preventing people with mental illnesses from buying guns, barring gun purchases by people on federal no-fly or watch lists, and background checks for private gun sales and sales at gun shows.

Yet there are sharp partisan differences on several other issues – particularly on whether to let people carry concealed guns in more places and to allow teachers and officials to carry guns in K-12 schools, a new Pew Research Center survey has found.

And Republicans and Democrats have stark, fundamental differences on questions relating to the causes of gun violence – and even whether gun violence is a serious problem in the country.

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Topics: Domestic Affairs and Policy, Gun Policy, Political Party Affiliation, Political Polarization, U.S. Political Parties

Jun 22, 2017 12:02 pm

Key takeaways on Americans’ views of guns and gun ownership

Americans have a deep history and a complex relationship with guns. A point of pride for some and a source of fear for others, guns continue to ignite sharp debates in our society.

About four-in-ten Americans say they either own a gun themselves or live in a household with guns, and 48% say they grew up in a household with guns, according to a new Pew Research Center study. At least two-thirds of adults say they’ve lived in a household with a gun at some point in their lives. And roughly seven-in-ten – including 55% of those who have never personally owned a gun – say they have fired a gun at some point.

While gun owners and non-owners have significant differences in views about gun policy, they agree in some areas. For example, large majorities of both groups favor restricting access to guns for individuals with mental illnesses and those who are on federal no-fly or watch lists. Gun owners themselves have diverse views on gun policy, driven in large part by party identification.

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Topics: Gun Policy, Household and Family Structure, Political Issue Priorities, Social Values, Violence and Society

Jun 21, 2017 2:02 pm

Millennials are the most likely generation of Americans to use public libraries

(Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
(Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Millennials in America are more likely to have visited a public library in the past year than any other adult generation.

A new analysis of Pew Research Center survey data from fall 2016 finds that 53% of Millennials (those ages 18 to 35 at the time) say they used a library or bookmobile in the previous 12 months. That compares with 45% of Gen Xers, 43% of Baby Boomers and 36% of those in the Silent Generation. (It is worth noting that the question wording specifically focused on use of public libraries, not on-campus academic libraries.)

All told, 46% of adults ages 18 and older say they used a public library or bookmobile in the previous 12 months – a share that is broadly consistent with Pew Research Center findings in recent years.

Members of the youngest adult generation are also more likely than their elders to have used library websites. About four-in-ten Millennials (41%) used a library website in the past 12 months, compared with 24% of Boomers. In all, 31% of adults used a library website in the past 12 months, which is similar to the percentage that reported using library websites in late 2015.

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Topics: Generations and Age, Libraries, Technology Adoption

Jun 21, 2017 7:00 am

4 charts on how Russians see their country’s place in the world

The Russian public feels confident about their country’s global standing, according to a new Pew Research Center survey, even as signs of discontent emerge at home. Here are four key findings about how Russians see their nation’s place in the world:

1A majority of Russians believe their country is playing a more important role in the world today than it did a decade ago. Other publics with a sense of growing global importance include China and India. In a spring 2016 survey, three-quarters of Chinese and 68% of Indians said their country is more influential compared with a decade ago. Such confidence contrasts with European views, where a median of just 23% across 10 European Union nations felt their country’s global influence was on the rise in 2016.

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Topics: Europe, Global Balance of Power, Non-U.S. Political Leaders, Russia

Jun 20, 2017 9:33 am

Few mode effects found when Americans are asked about their news consumption habits

When asked about their news consumption habits and their views of the media in general, Americans give similar answers regardless of whether they are surveyed by phone or online, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of new data from a 2017 study and findings from a 2014 surveyJust one question with very general response options – how much people followed news – did not follow this pattern, yielding a noticeably higher news consumption estimate in phone surveys than web surveys.

The new analysis sheds light on concerns raised among pollsters that the medium by which a survey question is asked – its mode – can affect responses. (In this case, a telephone survey with an interviewer was compared with a self-administered survey on the web.) Under a phenomenon known as “social desirability bias,” some respondents might be inclined to give more honest answers online than they would on the phone because online surveys do not involve a human interviewer and therefore are inherently more private.

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Topics: Research Methods, Telephone Survey Methods, Web Survey Methods

Jun 19, 2017 9:33 am

Unlike their Central and Eastern European neighbors, most Czechs don’t believe in God

The vast majority of adults in Central and Eastern Europe identify with a religious group and believe in God, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey of 18 countries in the region. But those in one country are an exception to this pattern: the Czech Republic, where a majority of the population is religiously unaffiliated and does not believe in God. 

About seven-in-ten Czechs (72%) do not identify with a religious group, including 46% who describe their religion as “nothing in particular” and an additional 25% who say “atheist” describes their religious identity. When it comes to religious belief — as opposed to religious identity — 66% of Czechs say they do not believe in God, compared with just 29% who do. (While a lack of affiliation and a lack of belief may seem to go hand in hand, that is not always the case. In the U.S., for example, a majority of religiously unaffiliated adults — 61% — say they believe in God.)

Even in the former Eastern Bloc that was dominated by the officially atheist Soviet Union throughout much of the 20th century, the Czech Republic is a major outlier by both of these measures.

Belief in God is widespread across the region, with a median of 86% across the 18 countries surveyed expressing this belief, including 86% in neighboring Poland and 59% in Hungary. And when it comes to religious identity, the only surveyed country besides the Czech Republic where more than a quarter of people are unaffiliated is Estonia (45%). Ten countries in the region have Orthodox Christian majorities of roughly seven-in-ten adults or more, while four more are majority Catholic.

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Topics: Eastern Europe, Europe, Religion and Society, Religious Affiliation

Jun 19, 2017 7:38 am

After Brexit, an uncertain fate for UK’s nearly 3 million EU-born migrants

Airline passengers wait to enter the UK Border Agency's passport control area at Heathrow Airport. (Richard Baker/In Pictures via Getty Images)
Airline passengers wait to enter the UK Border Agency’s passport control area at Heathrow Airport. (Richard Baker/In Pictures via Getty Images)

The United Kingdom is home to nearly 3 million people who were born elsewhere in the European Union and migrated to the UK to work and live. Among EU member states, the UK is second only to Germany in the number of EU-born immigrants residing within its borders. One of the looming questions as Brexit talks get underway is the status of these internal EU migrants.

But the UK is only part of a larger migration landscape. All told, roughly 20 million people who were born in a current European Union country have moved from their birth country and now live in another EU nation. Collectively, these migrants make up 4% of the EU’s total population and outnumber the population of all but six EU nations, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of UN migration data from 2015. (This is the latest year for which complete data on the origins and destinations of international migrants are available.)

Citizens of EU countries have the right to move between EU nations without showing documentation at borders and to reside and work in any other EU country. (Border agents in the UK and Ireland, however, inspect all incoming travelers because the nations are not among the 26 European countries that make up the Schengen Area, which allows for relaxed border patrols. Freedom of movement for new member nations has sometimes been phased in over several years.)

In the UK and elsewhere, EU migration has become a subject of debate. Despite losing their Parliamentary majority in this month’s election, Theresa May’s Conservative Party, which has promised to reduce immigration, is still the largest party in the UK government. Last year, the UK voted to leave the EU, with some supporters of the Brexit referendum saying they wanted to close the UK’s borders to other EU nations as a way to reduce migration. And in a new Pew Research Center survey, majorities in nine European countries surveyed said they want national governments, not the EU, to make migration decisions of EU and non-EU citizens into their nations.

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Topics: Europe, Immigration, Immigration Trends, Migration

Jun 16, 2017 9:46 am

Q&A: Pew Research Center’s president on key issues in U.S. polling

Even as the polling industry tries to recover from real and perceived misses in U.S. and European elections in recent years, new studies have provided reassuring news for survey practitioners about the health of polling methodology.

In this Q&A, Michael Dimock, president of Pew Research Center, talks about recent developments in public opinion polling and what lies ahead.

There’s a widespread feeling that polling failed to predict the 2016 election results. Do you agree?

President Trump’s victory certainly caught many people by surprise, and I faced more than one Hillary Clinton supporter who felt personally betrayed by polling. But the extent to which the expectation of a Clinton victory was based on flawed polling data – or incorrect interpretation of polling data – is a big part of this question.

Polling’s professional organization, the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR), spent the last several months looking at the raw data behind the pre-election polls in an attempt to answer this question. (Note: The leader of the AAPOR committee tasked with this inquiry is Pew Research Center’s director of survey research, Courtney Kennedy.) While it might surprise some people, the expert analysis found that national polling in 2016 was very accurate by historical standards. When the national polls were aggregated, or pulled together, they showed Clinton winning among likely voters by an average of 3.2 percentage points. She ended up winning the popular vote by 2.1 points – a relatively close call when looking at presidential polling historically, and significantly closer than what polls suggested in 2012.

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Topics: 2016 Election, Political Typology, Polling, Research Methods, Voter Participation

Jun 15, 2017 1:10 pm

6 facts about American fathers

Elsiana Ruiz, 8, gets help learning to ride her bike from her father, Sinahy, at a playground in Aurora, Colorado. (Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
Elsiana Ruiz, 8, gets help learning to ride her bike from her father, Sinahy, at a playground in Aurora, Colorado. (Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Fatherhood in America is changing in important and sometimes surprising ways. Today, fathers who live with their children are taking a more active role in caring for them and helping out around the house. And the ranks of stay-at-home and single fathers have grown significantly in recent decades. At the same time, more and more children are growing up without a father in the home.

The changing role of fathers has introduced new challenges, as dads juggle the competing demands of family and work. Here are some key findings about fathers from Pew Research Center.

1Dads see parenting as central to their identity. Dads are just as likely as moms to say that parenting is extremely important to their identity. Some 57% of fathers say this, compared with 58% of mothers. Most dads seem to appreciate the benefits of parenthood – 54% report that parenting is rewarding all of the time, as do 52% of moms. Meanwhile, 46% of fathers and 41% of mothers say they find parenting enjoyable all of the time.

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Category: 5 Facts

Topics: Family Roles, Household and Family Structure, Income, Marriage and Divorce, Parenthood, Work and Employment