Jul 10, 2017 7:00 am

Rural and urban gun owners have different experiences, views on gun policy

Gun ownership spans all types of American communities, but it is particularly common in rural parts of the country. Among adults who live in rural areas, 46% say they own a gun, compared with 28% of adults who live in the suburbs and even fewer – 19% – in urban areas, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.

Rural and urban gun owners, in particular, differ in many ways. Three-quarters of those in rural areas (75%) say they own more than one gun, compared with 48% of urban gun owners. And while protection tops the list of reasons for owning a gun among both groups, gun owners in rural areas are far more likely than urban owners to cite hunting as a major reason they own a gun (48% vs. 27%, respectively).

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Topics: Lifestyle, Population Geography, Gun Policy

Jul 7, 2017 10:00 am

On abortion, persistent divides between – and within – the two parties

Abortion has long been a contentious issue in American politics and one that splits deeply along partisan, ideological and religious lines. Today, a 57% majority of Americans say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, while 40% think it should be illegal in all or most cases. These views are little changed from a year ago, though the share saying abortion should be legal in all or most cases is now higher than it was in the fall of 2015, when Congress battled over funding for Planned Parenthood (51% legal, 43% illegal).

The latest Pew Research Center political survey finds deep disagreement between – and within – the parties over abortion. In fact, the partisan divide on abortion remains far more polarized than it was two decades ago.

Explore an interactive look at attitudes on abortion.

By a wide margin (65% to 34%), Republicans say abortion should be illegal in all or most cases. In 1995, Republicans were evenly divided (49% legal vs. 48% illegal).

Views among Democrats have shown less change over the past two decades. Today, 75% of Democrats say abortion should be legal in at least most cases; in 1995, 64% favored legal abortion in all or most cases.

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Topics: U.S. Political Parties, Political Attitudes and Values, Religion and U.S. Politics, Abortion

Jul 6, 2017 2:37 pm

More than half of new green cards go to people already living in the U.S.

About a million immigrants receive U.S. green cards each year, but fewer than half are new arrivals from other countries. The majority already live in the United States on temporary visas, according to recently released U.S. Department of Homeland Security data that show that the two groups have different profiles.

In every fiscal year since 2004, the U.S. has issued more green cards to immigrants living in the country on another visa who adjust their legal status than to new arrivals. (In fiscal 2015, the most recent full year available, there were 542,315 in the former category and 508,716 in the latter.) Since 2004, a total of 7.4 million people who adjusted their status and 5.5 million new arrivals have received lawful permanent residency in the form of a green card.

The size of the difference between the two groups has diminished, though, because the number of visas granted to immigrants already in the U.S. has declined in the past decade while the number granted to new arrivals have risen slightly. In the first two quarters of fiscal 2017, from Oct. 1 to March 30, new arrivals (289,603) slightly outnumbered those who adjusted their status (270,547). The Trump administration has announced immigration restrictions that could continue to reduce the number of people who receive green cards while they are in the U.S. on temporary visas.

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Topics: Immigration, Domestic Affairs and Policy, Immigration Trends, Migration, Asian Americans

Jul 6, 2017 2:00 pm

Most G20 countries have little confidence in Putin, Trump on world affairs

Air Force One sits on the tarmac at Hamburg Airport as President Donald Trump arrives July 6 for the G20 economic summit.(Morris MacMatzen/Getty Images)
Air Force One sits on the tarmac at Hamburg Airport as President Donald Trump arrives July 6 for the G20 economic summit. (Morris MacMatzen/Getty Images)

As U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin prepare to meet on the sidelines of the Group of Twenty (G20) summit in Germany this week, few in the G20 member countries have confidence in either leader to do the right thing regarding world affairs. Only in Russia do Trump and Putin draw confidence from more than half of the public, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.

The vast majority of Russians (87%) are confident in Putin and just over half (53%) are confident in Trump, according to the survey, which examines attitudes in 37 nations, including 17 of the 19 G20 member nations. (The organization includes a representative of the European Union; China and Saudi Arabia are the only two member states not represented in the survey.)

In all other G20 countries surveyed, neither Trump nor Putin has the confidence of a majority of the public to do the right thing in world affairs. But people in Germany and Mexico have more faith in Putin than Trump, a difference of 14 percentage points in both countries. While a quarter of Germans (25%) have confidence in Putin, just 11% say the same for Trump. Similarly, around two-in-ten Mexicans (19%) have confidence in Putin on world affairs, compared with just 5% who have confidence in Trump.

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Topics: U.S. Political Figures, Non-U.S. Political Leaders, Foreign Affairs and Policy, Global Balance of Power, Russia

Jul 6, 2017 6:59 am

How Brazilians view their country’s economic and political crises

A protester shouts slogans in front of the home of Brazil's Lower House Speaker Rodrigo Maia during a protest against President Michel Temer in Rio de Janeiro on May 21, 2017. (Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP/Getty Images)
A protester shouts slogans in front of the home of Brazil’s Lower House Speaker Rodrigo Maia during a protest against President Michel Temer in Rio de Janeiro on May 21, 2017. (Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP/Getty Images)

After a promising rise on the global stage that included hosting the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics, Brazil today is entangled in profound economic and political crises. Latin America’s largest country is not only trying to recover from its deepest-ever recession, but also facing political upheaval brought about by corruption scandals that have embroiled the last three presidents and the leaders of all major political parties.

Here are five key findings from Pew Research Center about Brazilians’ views of their country’s ongoing economic and political challenges.

1Brazil’s economic conditions have worsened, and the public’s views about the economy have soured. Estimates from the country’s national statistical institute indicate that over 14 million Brazilians are out of work. Over the past three years, the nation’s jobless rate rose by more than 6 percentage points, reaching 13.7% of the labor force in the first quarter of 2017. Young adults are especially affected by the economic crisis: Nearly three-in-ten Brazilians (28.8%) between the ages of 18 and 24 are jobless, an increase of nearly 16 percentage points since the end of 2013. During this period, the country’s gross domestic product shrank by more than 7% and the industrial sector shrank by more than 12%.

The national public feels the bleak state of the economy. About eight-in-ten Brazilians (82%) say their country’s economy is bad. That figure is double the share of the public who said this in 2013, one of the highest levels of economic dissatisfaction recorded in the global Pew Research Center survey.

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Topics: Latin America, Economic Recession, Non-U.S. Political Leaders, International Governments and Institutions, World Economies, Foreign News

Jul 5, 2017 11:08 am

Among gun owners, NRA members have a unique set of views and experiences

Three-in-ten U.S. adults say they currently own a gun, and of that group, 19% say they belong to the National Rifle Association. While the demographic profile of NRA members is similar to that of other gun owners, their political views, the way they use their firearms and their attitudes about gun policy differ significantly from gun owners who are not members of the organization.

A majority of gun owners (61%) are Republicans or lean to the Republican Party, but NRA members skew even more heavily to the political right than other gun owners. Roughly three-quarters (77%) of gun owners who say they belong to the NRA are Republicans or lean Republican, while only 20% are Democrats or lean Democratic. Among gun owners who do not belong to the NRA, by contrast, 58% are Republicans and 39% are Democrats. And among Republican gun owners, NRA members are much more likely than nonmembers to describe their political views as very conservative (29% vs. 18%).

Gun owners who say they belong to the NRA tend to own more guns, on average, than gun owners who don’t belong to the NRA: About half (52%) say they own five or more guns, compared with 24% of non-NRA members (38% of nonmembers say they own only one gun). NRA members also hunt and shoot with more frequency than gun owners who aren’t NRA members: 50% say they go hunting often or sometimes, compared with 30% of nonmembers; 66% of NRA members go shooting often or sometimes, versus 49% of nonmembers.

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Topics: Lifestyle, Political Party Affiliation, Gun Policy

Jul 5, 2017 7:00 am

On world affairs, most G20 countries more confident in Merkel than Trump

U.S. President Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel hold a joint press conference in the East Room of the White House on March 17, 2017. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel hold a joint press conference in the East Room of the White House on March 17, 2017. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

As leaders from 20 of the world’s largest economies prepare to meet in Germany this week for the Group of Twenty (G2o) summit, residents in most member countries have more confidence in the summit’s host – German Chancellor Angela Merkel – than in U.S. President Donald Trump to do the right thing in world affairs, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.

Across the majority of the G20 nations, people prefer Merkel to Trump on world affairs, according to the survey, which examines attitudes in 37 nations, including in 17 of the 19 members of the G20 (the organization also includes a representative of the European Union). In only two of the G20 countries surveyed – India and Russia – do residents have substantially more confidence in Trump than in Merkel when it comes to world affairs.

In seven G20 countries – Germany, France, South Korea, the United Kingdom, Canada, Japan and Australia – two-thirds or more of the public say they have confidence in Merkel, compared with roughly three-in-ten or fewer who have confidence in Trump. And while around four-in-ten or fewer have confidence in Merkel in Italy, Brazil and Mexico, support for her is still greater than it is for Trump in these G20 member nations. (The survey, which was fielded in February and March, was not conducted in the other two G20 countries, China and Saudi Arabia, or in all EU member nations.)

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Topics: Europe, U.S. Global Image and Anti-Americanism, International Organizations, Non-U.S. Political Leaders, Foreign Affairs and Policy, Political Issue Priorities, Donald Trump

Jun 30, 2017 2:10 pm

Where Europe stands on gay marriage and civil unions

More than 16 years after the Netherlands became the world’s first country to allow same-sex marriage, neighboring Germany has become the latest European nation to legalize the practice. On June 30, the country’s parliament, by a vote of 393 to 226, passed legislation that will allow gays and lesbians to wed.

Germany, the largest country in Western Europe by population, becomes the 15th European nation to change its laws to allow gay marriage. This number counts England and Wales as one country and Scotland as a separate entity, since those parts of the United Kingdom passed two separate pieces of legislation on same-sex marriage. Northern Ireland, the other UK constituent state, has not legalized such marriages.

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Topics: Europe, Gay Marriage and Homosexuality, Social Values

Jun 30, 2017 12:00 pm

Most Americans say the U.S. is among the greatest countries in the world

(Jabin Botsford for The Washington Post via Getty Images)
(Jabin Botsford for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

As the U.S. prepares to celebrate Independence Day, Americans remain overwhelmingly positive about their nation’s relative standing in the world, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.

A majority of the public (85%) says either that the United States “stands above all other countries in the world” (29%) or that it is “one of the greatest countries, along with some others” (56%). Only 14% of Americans say there are “other countries better than the U.S.” These views have changed little in recent years.

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Topics: U.S. Political Parties, North America, National and Cultural Identity

Jun 29, 2017 1:00 pm

How male and female gun owners in the U.S. compare

About six-in-ten gun owners in the United States are male (62%). Still, about one-in-five women (22%) report that they own a gun. While these women resemble their male counterparts in some respects, their views on and experiences with guns often differ from those of male gun owners.

Here are seven ways that female and male gun owners compare, based on a recent Pew Research Center survey of 1,269 gun owners.

1Women who own guns tend to become gun owners at a later age than men. On average, women who own a gun or have owned one in the past report that they first got their own gun when they were 27 years old, compared with an average of 19 for men who own or have owned guns.

2Women are more likely than men to cite protection – rather than recreation – as the only reason they own a gun. Male and female gun owners are about equally likely to cite protection as a reason why they own guns: About nine-in-ten in each group say this is a reason, and 65% and 71%, respectively, say it is a major reason. But far larger shares of women than men who own guns say protection is the only reason they own a gun: About a quarter of women who own guns (27%) are in this category, compared with just 8% of men.

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Topics: Gender, U.S. Political Parties, Lifestyle