Oct 15, 2018 12:05 pm

Republicans and Democrats are optimistic about the future of their parties as midterms near

Less than a month before the 2018 midterm elections, Republicans and Democrats hold positive outlooks about the future of their respective parties, and in both cases these views are more positive than they were a year ago.

Both Republicans and Democrats optimistic about future of their partiesThree-quarters of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents say they are optimistic about the future of the Republican Party, up 16 percentage points from September 2017, when 59% felt this way, according to a new national survey by Pew Research Center, conducted Sept. 24-Oct. 7 among 10,683 adults on the American Trends Panel.

The current level of optimism among Republicans is similar to what it was immediately following Donald Trump’s election in December 2016 (79%).

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Topics: U.S. Political Parties, Political Attitudes and Values

Oct 15, 2018 7:14 am

Key facts about Latinos in the 2018 midterm elections

Latinos vote at a polling station in the Boyle Heights section of Los Angeles. (David McNew/Getty Images)

The number of Hispanic eligible voters has grown, while midterm election voting has remained flatMore than 29 million Latinos are eligible to vote nationwide in 2018, making up 12.8% of all eligible voters – both new highs, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of Census Bureau data.

The pool of eligible Hispanic voters has steadily grown in recent years. Between 2014 and 2018, an additional 4 million Hispanics became eligible voters (U.S. citizens ages 18 and older). Much of this growth has been driven by young U.S.-born Hispanics coming of age. Since 2014, around 3 million have turned 18. Other sources of growth include Hispanic immigrant naturalizations – among Mexicans alone, 423,000 became U.S. citizens from 2014 to 2017 – as well as residents of Puerto Rico moving to one of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, especially Florida.

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Topics: Hispanic/Latino Vote, Voter Demographics, Hispanic/Latino Demographics, Voter Participation, Demographics, Race and Ethnicity

Oct 12, 2018 7:00 am

Hispanic voter registration rises in Florida, but role of Puerto Ricans remains unclear

A polling station at Miami Beach City Hall on Aug. 13. (Wilfredo Lee/AP)

In Florida, Latino voter registration has grown somewhat faster than during previous midterm election cyclesThe number of Hispanic registered voters in Florida has increased 6.2% since the 2016 presidential election, to a record 2.1 million people. This is slightly faster growth than during the 2014 and 2010 midterm cycles, which saw 4.6% and 5.2% increases over the prior presidential election year, respectively, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of Florida state government data.

Hispanics now make up a record 16.4% of Florida’s registered voters, up from 15.7% in 2016. The number of Hispanic registered voters has grown more than three times as fast as the overall number of registered voters in the past two years (6.2% growth vs. 1.8% growth, as of Aug. 31), but remain lower than the growth in presidential years. Floridians had until Oct. 9 to register to vote, so the number of registered voters for this midterm cycle is likely to have increased further since August.

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Topics: Hispanic/Latino Vote, Hispanic/Latino Demographics, Demographics

Oct 11, 2018 12:01 pm

How social media users have discussed sexual harassment since #MeToo went viral

The #MeToo hashtag first went viral on Twitter a year ago this month. Although the social movement of the same name existed beforehand, the hashtag was popularized on Oct. 15, 2017, when actress Alyssa Milano urged victims of sexual abuse to share their stories on Twitter in the wake of accusations of misconduct against Hollywood executive Harvey Weinstein.

Amid ongoing discussions about sexual harassment in the workplace and beyond, here are five findings about how these issues have been discussed on Twitter and other social media outlets in the past year:

1The #MeToo hashtag has been used more than 19 million times on Twitter from the date of Milano’s initial tweet through Sept. 30 of this year, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of publicly available English-language tweets. That works out to an average of 55,319 uses of the hashtag per day. The day with the single-greatest number of mentions was Sept. 9, when Leslie Moonves, chairman and chief executive of CBS, resigned amid allegations of sexual misconduct.

The #MeToo hashtag has been used roughly 19 million times on Twitter in the past year, and usage often surges around news events2Personal stories and prominent celebrities have been key topics in #MeToo tweets. The Center conducted a separate analysis of five time periods with a high volume of English-language #MeToo tweets to examine how often three specific topics were mentioned in connection with the hashtag. The topics were: Twitter users sharing personal stories of harassment; users talking about the entertainment industry or celebrities in their tweets; and users discussing national politics or politicians. Some 15% of tweets across these specific time periods mentioned celebrities or the entertainment industry more broadly, while 14% referenced personal stories or narratives. A smaller share of these tweets (7%) mentioned politics or specific politicians. (The high-volume time periods in this analysis do not necessarily correspond with the above graphic. An individual tweet could mention one or more of these topics, and the tweets that mentioned multiple topics were counted in each relevant category. See methodology for more details on this analysis.)

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Topics: Social Media, Gender, Work and Employment

Oct 11, 2018 8:20 am

Recent Chinese dealings with faith groups reflect a pattern of government restrictions on religion

Police patrol as Muslims leave after morning prayers at a mosque in China’s Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. (Eisele/AFP/Getty Images)

While the Chinese government asserts that it protects religious freedom, a series of annual Pew Research Center reports on religious restrictions around the globe have detailed government efforts aimed at maintaining strict control over religious beliefs and practices in the country. Two recent events have brought this into focus: China’s agreement with the Vatican on how bishops are appointed, and restrictions China has placed on predominantly Muslim ethnic Uighurs.

China has long wrangled with the Vatican over naming of bishops in an effort to maintain state control over the church. That dispute was back in the news last month when the Vatican agreed to accept the legitimacy of seven bishops who had been appointed by the Chinese government, breaking with its longstanding policy of not recognizing bishops unless they have been selected by the pope. Some Catholics and others have criticized the agreement for ceding to China too much control over church matters.

The deal with the Vatican comes at a time when China also has come under fire for reportedly detaining at least 1 million Uighurs in the country’s northwestern Xinjiang province. The government, however, denies the allegations and says their actions in Xinjiang are necessary to combat religious extremism and separatism.

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Topics: China, Restrictions on Religion

Oct 10, 2018 3:00 pm

The real value of a $15 minimum wage depends on where you live

Where paychecks stretch the most, least in the U.S.The movement for a $15-an-hour minimum wage got a boost earlier this month when Amazon – which has drawn criticism for its pay practices and working conditions – announced it would raise its base pay for all U.S. workers to $15 an hour. The new minimum wage takes effect Nov. 1 and will affect some 250,000 full- and part-time employees, as well as the 100,000 or so seasonal workers Amazon expects to hire in the next few months, according to the company. (The raises will be offset, at least in part, by the phasing out of bonuses and stock awards for hourly workers.)

How much of a real improvement those workers will see in their daily lives, however, depends very much on where they live. Local living costs vary widely in the United States, and Amazon has more than 150 warehouses, sorting centers, distribution centers and other facilities scattered across the country. A $15 hourly wage yields $17.10 worth of purchasing power for a worker at Amazon’s Spartanburg, South Carolina, warehouse, for example, but only $13.57 for a worker at the warehouse in Kent, Washington, a Seattle suburb about 20 miles south of the company’s headquarters. Read More

Topics: Economic Policy, Work and Employment, Economics and Personal Finances

Oct 10, 2018 9:30 am

7 facts about American Catholics

Parishioners worship during Mass at St. Paul Cathedral, the mother church of the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh, on Aug. 15. (Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)

The Catholic Church is larger than any other single religious institution in the United States, with over 17,000 parishes that serve a large and diverse population. In spite of its size and influence, the church in recent decades has faced a number of significant challenges, from a decline in membership to a shortage of priests to continuing revelations that some Catholic clergy sexually abused minors and (in many cases) that their superiors covered up these actions.

Here are seven facts about American Catholics and their church:

1 There are roughly 51 million Catholic adults in the U.S., accounting for about one-fifth of the total U.S. adult population, according to Pew Research Center’s 2014 Religious Landscape Study. That study found that the share of Americans who are Catholic declined from 24% in 2007 to 21% in 2014.

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Topics: Catholics and Catholicism, Christians and Christianity, Religious Affiliation

Oct 9, 2018 2:00 pm

Most Americans view openness to foreigners as ‘essential to who we are as a nation’

Large majority views openness to people outside U.S. as 'essential'For a large majority of Americans, the country’s openness to people from around the world “is essential to who we are as a nation.” In a new Pew Research Center survey, 68% say America’s openness to foreigners is a defining characteristic of the nation, while just 26% say “if America is too open to people from all over the world, we risk losing our identity as a nation.”

The belief that openness to people from around the world is essential is widely shared across most demographic groups. However, Democrats and younger people are considerably more likely than others to hold this view, according to the national survey, conducted Sept. 18-24 among 1,754 adults.

Among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, an overwhelming share (85%) thinks America’s openness is essential to who we are as a nation. Republicans and Republican leaners are divided: 47% say America’s openness is essential, while 44% say being too open carries with it the risk of losing our identity as a nation. These views are virtually unchanged from the last time the Center asked this question in summer 2017.

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Topics: U.S. Political Parties, Political Attitudes and Values, Race and Ethnicity, National and Cultural Identity

Oct 9, 2018 7:00 am

How the world views the U.S. and its president in 9 charts

America’s global image today is complicated. On balance, people around the world continue to give the United States favorable ratings and say it respects the individual liberties of its people. More countries also prefer the U.S. as the world’s leading power over China. At the same time, many express frustration about America’s role in the world and say they have little confidence in President Donald Trump to do the right thing in world affairs, according to a new Pew Research Center survey of 25 nations.

Here are nine charts that show how people in these countries see the U.S. and its president:

1Western Europeans have strikingly negative views of Trump. In the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Spain – four nations the Center has consistently surveyed over the past 15 years – there is a clear pattern in public perceptions of U.S. presidents. People in these countries generally had little confidence in President George W. Bush to do the right thing regarding world affairs. Their confidence was much higher in Bush’s successor, President Barack Obama, but it plunged following Trump’s election in 2016. This year, confidence in Trump remains low in Germany, France and Spain – but it is up slightly in the UK. Of the 25 countries surveyed, a median of 70% lack confidence in Trump to do the right thing regarding world affairs.

2Views of the U.S. are favorable on balance, but concerns are evident. Across the 25 countries surveyed, a median of 50% have a favorable opinion of the U.S., while 43% have an unfavorable view. Likewise, a median of 51% say the U.S. respects the personal freedoms of its people, compared with 37% who say it does not. However, there is international concern about America’s role in world affairs. Large majorities say the U.S. doesn’t take the interests of other countries into account when making foreign policy decisions. Also, a global median of 37% believe the U.S. is doing less to help address major global problems than it used to.  Read More

Topics: U.S. Global Image and Anti-Americanism, International Threats and Allies, Foreign Affairs and Policy, Donald Trump

Oct 8, 2018 10:57 am

About six-in-ten Americans support marijuana legalization

U.S. public opinion on legalizing marijuana, 1969-2018About six-in-ten Americans (62%) say the use of marijuana should be legalized, reflecting a steady increase over the past decade, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. The share of U.S. adults who support marijuana legalization is little changed from about a year ago – when 61% favored it – but it is double what it was in 2000 (31%).

As in the past, there are wide generational and partisan differences in views of marijuana legalization. Majorities of Millennials (74%), Gen Xers (63%) and Baby Boomers (54%) say the use of marijuana should be legal. Members of the Silent Generation continue to be the least supportive of legalization (39%), but they have become more supportive in the past year.

Nearly seven-in-ten Democrats (69%) say marijuana use should be legal, as do 75% of independents who lean toward the Democratic Party.

Republicans are divided, with 45% in favor of legalizing marijuana and 51% opposed. Still, the share of Republicans saying marijuana should be legal has increased from 39% in 2015. Independents who lean toward the Republican Party are far more likely than Republicans to favor marijuana legalization (59% vs. 45%).  Read More

Topics: Drugs, Political Attitudes and Values