Jul 27, 2016 1:28 pm

5 facts about Hillary Clinton’s candidacy

This week Democrats gathered in Philadelphia to officially nominate Hillary Clinton as their party’s presidential candidate. How do Americans view Clinton – a fixture in national politics for more than 25 years – as the race between her and Donald Trump for the White House begins in earnest?

Here’s a roundup of key Pew Research Center findings on views of Hillary Clinton, her politics and the impact she would have on Washington.

1More voters say they know a lot about where Clinton stands on important issues than say the same about Trump. About half (53%) say they know a lot about Clinton’s positions; by comparison, fewer (43%) are confident they know where Trump stands.

Republicans and Republican-leaning independents are just as likely to say they know a lot about where Clinton stands (50%) as they are about Trump (53%). Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, on the other hand, say they know much more about Clinton’s positions (57% say a lot) than Trump’s (36%). Read More

Category: 5 Facts

Topics: 2016 Election, Political Attitudes and Values, U.S. Political Figures, U.S. Political Parties

Jul 27, 2016 9:55 am

Blacks with college experience more likely to say they faced discrimination

A majority of black Americans say that at some point in their lives they’ve experienced discrimination or were treated unfairly because of their race or ethnicity, but blacks who have attended college are more likely than those without any college experience to say so, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey.

About eight-in-ten blacks with at least some college experience (81%) say they’ve faced discrimination or been treated unfairly because of their race or ethnicity, compared with 59% of blacks who have never attended college.

These differences also extend to more specific incidents of racial discrimination. For example, blacks who have attended college are more likely than those who have not to say they have been met with suspicion or that someone has questioned their intelligence. Some 55% of blacks with at least some college education say that in the past 12 months someone has acted as if they were suspicious of them because of their race or ethnicity, while a similar share (52%) say people have treated them as if they weren’t smart. Among blacks with a high school diploma or less, those shares are lower, 38% and 37% respectively.

And when asked whether their race or ethnicity has made it harder, easier or hasn’t made much of a difference in getting ahead in life, about half (49%) of blacks with some college experience say their race has made it harder for them to be successful, compared with 29% of those with a high school education or less. Read More

Topics: Economics and Personal Finances, Education, Race and Ethnicity, Socioeconomic Class

Jul 27, 2016 7:00 am

Q&A: Two perspectives on human enhancement technologies and how the public views them

Christian Brugger, Professor of Moral Theology at St. John Vianney Theological Seminary
Christian Brugger, professor of moral theology at St. John Vianney Theological Seminary

Pew Research Center’s new survey on human enhancement finds a broad wariness about the prospect of technologies aimed at making people smarter, stronger and healthier. Americans who are highly religious tend to be the most concerned about these possible developments, which include genetic engineering, cognitive augmentation and synthetic blood.

Anders Sandberg, research fellow at the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University
Anders Sandberg, research fellow at the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University

Fact Tank sat down with two experts on science and bioethics who have different views on human enhancement – Christian Brugger and Anders Sandberg – to explore what these new findings might mean. Brugger, who is a professor of moral theology at St. John Vianney Theological Seminary in Denver, Colorado, believes that people are right to be concerned about the social impact of human enhancement. Sandberg, a research fellow at the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University, thinks that, on balance, human enhancement will improve and enrich our lives.

Our new survey shows that most American adults see the prospect of human enhancement with wariness and worry rather than enthusiasm and hope. Why do you think this might be the case?

Christian Brugger: It’s not because Americans are anti-science or because they suffer from irrational fear of change. They worry because they perceive a future about which they have grave doubts, a future where, by design, humans possess radically different capacities, where biotechnical interventions create a preferential class of enhanced individuals introducing even greater social disparities, and hence conflicts, than we already struggle with. Perhaps, beneath all this, is a future where our natural capacities come to be seen not as the glory of the human person, but obstacles that must be overcome.

Anders Sandberg: People’s attitudes to something in the future tend to be in “far mode” and much more based on abstract principles than when dealing with something in the here and now. In “near mode” we are much more pragmatic. People were rather negative to IVF and heart transplants before they became common. Hence I think current public attitudes are not very good predictors for attitudes in the future. Read More

Topics: Emerging Technology Impacts, Science and Innovation

Jul 26, 2016 12:00 pm

Key allies in Europe, Asia have mostly positive views of Americans but fault them on some traits

Over the years, Pew Research Center has tracked how the world views America, whether the measure was confidence in the U.S. president, the American government’s respect for personal freedoms or the overall favorability of the U.S. In this year’s poll of 10 European countries, four Asia-Pacific nations and Canada, views of the U.S. and its president were mainly positive, continuing the trend of the past seven years. But when we asked people abroad how they saw Americans given a list of characteristics, the answers were more of a mixed bag.

Half or more in 15 of 16 nations (including the U.S.) described Americans as optimistic, and majorities in 14 countries said Americans are hardworking, according to the survey which asked about three traits considered to be positive and three that were negative.

But in only five of 16 countries did half or more of those surveyed credit Americans with the positive trait of tolerance – and one of those countries was the U.S. Half or more in 11 countries thought Americans are arrogant and many said they are greedy. While fewer people associated “violent” with Americans, there are still some countries in which more than half of people said that was the case. Read More

Topics: Asia and the Pacific, Europe, U.S. Global Image and Anti-Americanism

Jul 26, 2016 9:55 am

Key findings on how Americans view new technologies that could ‘enhance’ human abilities

Many in the general public expect scientific and technological innovation to bring helpful change to society. Yet, when Americans are asked about the potential use of emerging technologies that could push the boundaries of human abilities, they are far more cautious about the morality and effects of these advances.

A new Pew Research Center survey examined public attitudes about the potential use of three emerging technologies that could fundamentally improve people’s health, cognitive or physical capacities. The specific examples: gene editing to give healthy babies a much reduced risk of serious diseases and conditions over their lifetime, implanting a computer chip in the brain to give a healthy person a much improved ability to concentrate and process information, and a transfusion with synthetic blood  to give healthy people much improved speed, strength and stamina.

Here are some key takeaways from the report:

1While the public expresses more worry than enthusiasm about human enhancements, most expect many enhancements will happen within the next 50 years. Fully 81% of U.S. adults expect artificially made organs to be routinely available for transplant by the year 2066. Roughly two-thirds (66%) of Americans say scientists will probably or definitely cure most forms of cancer within 50 years.

None of the techniques that anchor this study are available for enhancing purposes today. But many people foresee a future where each would be commonplace. Roughly half of adults (54%) think the idea of implanted computer chips is likely to be a routine occurrence in the future. Some 48% say humans will definitely or probably use implanted sensors to monitor or adjust all food and medications that enter the bloodstream by the year 2066. And a similar share of adults, 47%, foresees a future with almost no birth defects because of genetic modification of embryos prior to birth. Read More

Category: 5 Facts

Topics: Emerging Technology Impacts, Science and Innovation

Jul 25, 2016 3:30 pm

On most issues, Sanders primary supporters further from GOP voters than Clinton backers

The voters who backed Bernie Sanders during the Democratic primaries differed from those of Hillary Clinton on several major issues. But in most cases, these gaps were dwarfed by the gulf between the backers of either Democratic candidate and Republican voters.

On nearly all issues where Clinton and Sanders backers diverged, they did so because Sanders supporters were more to the left of Clinton supporters and further away from the opinions of GOP voters.

One example is national security: About half (51%) of Democratic and Democratic-leaning registered voters who supported Sanders for the nomination said their bigger concern was that government anti-terrorism policies had gone too far in restricting civil liberties, while 33% were more worried that they have not gone far enough to protect the country, according to an analysis of surveys conducted in March and April, during the heat of the primary campaign. Opinion among Clinton supporters was nearly the reverse: 51% worried more about anti-terror policies not going far enough, while 35% worried more about them going too far. Read More

Topics: 2016 Election, Political Attitudes and Values, U.S. Political Figures, U.S. Political Parties

Jul 25, 2016 7:00 am

Ride-hailing services are seen by minorities as a benefit to areas underserved by taxis

Photo by Evelyn Hockstein/Washington Post via Getty Images
Photo by Evelyn Hockstein/Washington Post via Getty Images

Ride-hailing and home-sharing are two of the most talked-about sharing-economy services – and each has been drawn into a broader debate over whether people of color experience benefit from these new technologies.

In the case of ride-hailing apps, like Uber and Lyft, proponents of these services often argue that they can help promote racial equity in transportation – for instance, they might serve customers in lower-income or minority neighborhoods where traditional taxis are often scarce.

Overall, 15% of blacks and 18% of Latinos have used ride-hailing, similar to the 14% of whites who have done so, according to a Pew Research Center survey exploring the digital economy. And a new analysis of this survey data finds that Americans who live in majority-minority communities (census-block groups where more than 50% of residents are racial or ethnic minorities) are more likely than those who reside in predominately white neighborhoods to say that ride-hailing apps serve neighborhoods that taxis won’t visit. Just over half (53%) of ride-hailing users living in majority-minority communities feel that this statement describes ride-hailing well, compared with 46% of users living in majority-white neighborhoods. (Many ride-hailers – about four-in-ten overall – were unsure if this statement described ride-hailing well). Read More

Topics: Emerging Technology Impacts, Race and Ethnicity

Jul 22, 2016 10:00 am

Muslims and Islam: Key findings in the U.S. and around the world

Muslims are the fastest-growing religious group in the world. The growth and regional migration of Muslims, combined with the ongoing impact of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and other extremist groups that commit acts of violence in the name of Islam, have brought Muslims and the Islamic faith to the forefront of the political debate in many countries. Yet many facts about Muslims are not well known in some of these places, and most Americans – who live in a country with a relatively small Muslim population – say they know little or nothing about Islam.

Here are answers to some key questions about Muslims, compiled from several Pew Research Center reports published in recent years:

How many Muslims are there? Where do they live?

There were 1.6 billion Muslims in the world as of 2010 – roughly 23% of the global population – according to a Pew Research Center estimate. But while Islam is currently the world’s second-largest religion (after Christianity), it is the fastest-growing major religion. Indeed, if current demographic trends continue, the number of Muslims is expected to exceed the number of Christians by the end of this century.

Although many countries in the Middle East-North Africa region, where the religion originated in the seventh century, are heavily Muslim, the region is home to only about 20% of the world’s Muslims. A majority of the Muslims globally (62%) live in the Asia-Pacific region, including large populations in Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iran and Turkey. Read More

Topics: Muslim Americans, Muslim-Western Relations, Muslims and Islam, Population Geography, Population Trends, Religion and Society, Religious Beliefs and Practices

Jul 22, 2016 7:00 am

Few American women have broken the glass ceiling of diplomacy

Since the beginning of U.S. diplomatic relations with the rest of the world, American ambassadors have overwhelmingly been men, an imbalance that speaks to a persistent diversity challenge within the U.S. Foreign Service. The numbers make it clear. Over 4,600 U.S. ambassadors have served in foreign countries since the founding of the nation – and only 9% of them have been women.

A Pew Research Center analysis of data from the American Foreign Service Association of the 193 United Nations member states and Kosovo finds that in 27 of the 191 countries with which the U.S. has had diplomatic relations, a woman has never been appointed ambassador. These countries span every region and include Canada and Israel as well as the Muslim-majority nations of Afghanistan, Bahrain, Iran and Saudi Arabia. For the two countries to which the largest number of ambassadors have been sent (74 each) — Spain and Russia — none has ever been a woman. South Sudan, the world’s newest country, is the only country in the world to which all U.S. ambassadors have been women (two to date). Read More

Topics: Federal Government, Foreign Affairs and Policy

Jul 21, 2016 12:55 pm

The growing Democratic domination of nation’s largest counties

Over the past few decades, Republicans and Democrats have become more and more sharply divided – not just ideologically, but also geographically. Democrats tend to do best in the nation’s urban areas, while Republicans find their strongest support in more rural areas. Now, a new Pew Research Center analysis of county-level presidential-voting data quantifies just how dominant Democrats are in big cities – and analysts say this dominance will present a tough challenge to Donald Trump this November.

In 2008 Barack Obama won 88 of the 100 most populous counties; in his re-election bid four years later he won 86. Given Obama’s popularity among racial and ethnic minorities and young adults – who tend to cluster in big cities – that’s not altogether surprising. But Democrats’ urban dominance precedes Obama: The last time a GOP presidential candidate won more than a third of the 100 largest counties was 1988, when George H.W. Bush took 57 of them.

The disparity also is reflected in the parties’ share of the big-county vote. As recently as 1988, they were essentially even: Bush took 49.7% of the total vote in the 100 largest counties, while Michael Dukakis took 49.2%. But the Republican vote share fell steeply in 1992 and never really recovered: Since then, George W. Bush was the only GOP presidential candidate to receive more than 40% of the vote in the 100 largest counties (in 2004). Meanwhile, Democrats’ vote share in those counties has grown steadily, exceeding 60% in Obama’s two races.

This wasn’t always the case. Up to the 1990s, in fact, urban America was competitive territory for both Republican and Democratic presidential candidates: Ronald Reagan carried solid majorities of the 100 largest counties in both 1980 and 1984. In 2012, by contrast, Mitt Romney won only four counties with populations greater than 1 million: Maricopa County, Arizona; Orange County, California; Tarrant County, Texas; and Salt Lake County, Utah. Read More

Topics: 2016 Election, Elections and Campaigns, Voter Demographics