Jul 8, 2015 11:56 am

Russians warm to China as relations with U.S. cool

Russian views of China and the U.S.As Russia plays host this week to a critical summit of leaders of the emerging market nations of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS), Russian President Vladimir Putin is especially keen on bolstering ties with the leading economic power of the group – China. And he likely won’t have much opposition from the Russian people, who now see China more favorably than at any point since 2002.

Our recent survey on the global balance of power between the U.S. and China included a number of questions about the world’s two most powerful countries, including a basic measure of favorability – whether Russians have a favorable or unfavorable view of China and the U.S. And on this simple question, the trend is clear: China is gaining popularity in Russia as attitudes toward the U.S. turn sharply negative.

In just the past two years, favorable views of China have jumped 17 percentage points among Russians, from 62% in 2013 to an all-time high of 79% today. Meanwhile, favorable views of the U.S. have taken a nosedive, falling from 51% in 2013, to 23% in 2014, to an all-time low of 15% today. Read More

Topics: Barack Obama, China, Europe, International Threats and Allies, Non-U.S. Political Leaders, Russia, World Economies

Jul 7, 2015 3:22 pm

5 facts about Greece and the EU

Greek and EU Flags
(Photo by Milos Bicanski/Getty Images)

The people of Greece spoke decisively on Sunday, voting 61% to 39% to reject financial bailout terms called for by its creditors, but the country’s fraught relationship with the European Union faces critical hurdles in the coming days.

While Greece deals with a major debt crisis and uncertain future in the eurozone, public opinion in Greece and elsewhere in Europe had shown clear signs of tension leading up to this point. Many European nations were hit hard by the recession, but Greece has been slower to recover, and its people have felt frustrated by persistently high unemployment and steep austerity measures imposed on them.

Most Greeks polled in 2014 didn’t express particularly warm views of the EU. And public sentiment showed that many in other European nations harbor negative stereotypes of Greeks.

Here are five facts, based on public opinion in recent years, to understand the relationship between Greece and the EU: Read More

Category: 5 Facts

Topics: Economic Recession, Europe, International Governments and Institutions, World Economies

Jul 6, 2015 7:00 am

Most of the busiest U.S. airports have dedicated chapels

Ash Wednesday at Denver International Airport
Deacon Jack Sutton prays with visitors in an Ash Wednesday service at the Interfaith Chapel at Denver International Airport in 2011. (Photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Travelers often arrive at airports praying that the security lines won’t be too long or that they don’t end up in a middle seat. But at many of the nation’s largest airports, there’s a more spiritual setting for offering up prayers – a chapel.

In fact, more than half of the nation’s busiest airports have dedicated chapels, and many of these facilities offer a variety of worship services for different faith traditions. Read More

Topics: Religion and Society, Religious Beliefs and Practices

Jul 3, 2015 12:17 pm

As Greeks head to the polls, the Twitter conversation differs by language

Twitter Conversation on EU Proposals Takes Different Tone by LanguageLeading up to the Greek referendum this Sunday over whether to accept the European Union’s austerity measures, the Twitter conversations in Greek and English reveal major differences in both tone and focus, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis.

Among Greek-language tweets studied, 40% of the conversation included positive expressions about the EU proposals on the referendum calling for a financial bailout that would likely include new austerity measures, while 33% was negative and 27% was neutral. The stakes are high and yet also still unclear – a “no” vote could lead to a possible exit from the eurozone or a fresh start for the negotiations.

A majority of the English-language conversation about the referendum was neutral (61%), but within the portion of the conversation that contained any tone, the positive (32% of the total conversation) outweighed the negative (7%).

Our analysis included nearly 2.5 million tweets in both languages posted between June 26 (following the prime minister’s referendum announcement) and July 1.

Read More

Topics: News Audience Trends and Attitudes, Social Media, World Economies

Jul 3, 2015 7:00 am

America divided on the secret to its success

Why Has U.S. Been Successful? Younger Adults Point to Its Ability to Change. Compared with those in many other countries, Americans stand out for their patriotism. But public opinion surveys show that Americans disagree over what’s behind their country’s success.

Pew Research Center’s political values survey has consistently found that overwhelming majorities agree with the statement “I am very patriotic.” In 2012, 89% of Americans agreed with this statement; the share agreeing has never fallen below 85% in the survey’s 25-year history.

But when asked whether the United States owed its success more to its “ability to change” or its “reliance on long-standing principles,” 51% of Americans attributed the country’s success to the former, while 44% pointed to the latter.

The question was one of many measures about the U.S., its future and its global standing we examined for our 2014 Political Typology. Read More

Topics: Baby Boomers, Generations and Age, Millennials, Political Party Affiliation, Political Typology

Jul 2, 2015 11:05 am

In wake of stronger growth, more Americans and Europeans say U.S. is top economic power

Stronger Growth in U.S. Tracking with Increased Perceptions of America as World's Leading Economy vs. ChinaFor the first time in six years, more people in America say that the U.S. – not China – is the world’s leading economic power, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. Furthermore, Europeans, who had favored China as the leading economy in the past few years, increasingly view the U.S. as the top economy.

Since the onset of the Great Recession, opinion has fluctuated over time, and public perceptions of America’s and China’s economic strength seems to be a lagging indicator for actual rates of growth in each country.

In spring 2008, before America experienced the worst of the recession, 46% in the U.S. and a median of 44% across five European Union nations – the UK, France, Germany, Poland and Spain – picked the U.S. as the top economy. And even though China was humming along at 9.6% annual growth, only 26% of Americans and a median of 29% in the EU countries said China was the world’s economic leader.

But by 2010, public opinion began to shift more in favor of China. After the U.S. experienced a severe contraction and China’s growth remained robust, people in many countries around the world – including the U.S. – began to see China as a leading economic power. That year, 41% of Americans named China as the leading economic power, while 38% named the U.S. Across the five EU nations, a median of 44% named China as the top economy in 2010.

And by 2012, publics polled in Europe saw China as the leading power, with a median of 57% saying this. Read More

Topics: Asia and the Pacific, China, Economic and Business News, Economic Recession, Global Balance of Power, National Economy, World Economies

Jul 2, 2015 9:25 am

Where Christian churches, other religions stand on gay marriage

Last week’s Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide raised questions about how the decision will affect religious groups – especially those that continue to oppose allowing gay and lesbian couples to wed. The court’s ruling makes clear that clergy and religious organizations are not obliged to perform same-sex marriages, but some groups have expressed concerns about their tax-exempt status.

Where Major Religions Stand on Same-Sex MarriageMany of the largest U.S. religious institutions have remained firmly against allowing same-sex marriage, including the Roman Catholic Church, the Orthodox Jewish movement and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as well as the Southern Baptist Convention and other evangelical Protestant denominations.

At the same time, in the past two decades, several other religious groups also have moved to allow same-sex couples to marry within their traditions. This includes the Reform and Conservative Jewish movements, the Unitarian Universalist Association and the United Church of Christ.

Read More

Topics: Buddhists and Buddhism, Catholics and Catholicism, Christians and Christianity, Evangelical Protestants and Evangelicalism, Gay Marriage and Homosexuality, Hindus and Hinduism, Jews and Judaism, Mormons and Mormonism

Jul 2, 2015 7:00 am

5 facts for Pope Francis’ visit to South America

Catholicism in Latin AmericaPope Francis begins a highly anticipated seven-day South American trip on Sunday that includes stops in Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay. This visit has a special meaning to South Americans because Francis, born Jorge Mario Bergoglio, is a native of Argentina, and is the first Latin American pope in the history of the Catholic Church. This will be the first official visit for Francis – a former Jesuit bishop – to Spanish-speaking South America since he was elected to lead the Catholic Church in 2013 after the resignation of Benedict XVI.

As millions of faithful Catholics prepare to welcome Pope Francis next week, here are key facts about his trip:

1Latin America is home to more than 425 million Catholics – nearly 40% of the world’s total Catholic population. Moreover, in most South American countries, at least seven-in-ten adults identify as Catholic. Indeed, in only one Spanish- or Portuguese-speaking country in South America (Uruguay) do Catholics make up less than half of the adult population (42%). Read More

Category: 5 Facts

Topics: Catholics and Catholicism, Income Inequality, Latin America, Religious Leaders

Jul 1, 2015 3:24 pm

Puerto Rico’s losses are not just economic, but in people, too

Puerto Rico is not just dealing with an economic crisis. In a trend that is both a consequence of and contributor to its financial woes, the island’s population is also declining at a clip not seen in more than 60 years.

Puerto Rican Population Grows on U.S. Mainland, Declines on IslandIt’s not a new problem: Puerto Rico’s population began declining in 2006 and has continued every year through 2013, while the population of Puerto Ricans on the U.S. mainland has grown, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of Census Bureau data.

But the island’s population decline has accelerated in recent years. Over a two-year period between 2011 and 2013, Puerto Rico’s net population decreased by 50,000 people annually. Job-related reasons were cited by 42% of those leaving.

Read More

Topics: Economic Recession, Hispanic/Latino Demographics, Immigration Trends, Population Trends, U.S. Census

Jul 1, 2015 2:30 pm

5 key takeaways on what influences Americans’ views of science

Politics are at the center of Americans’ views on many, but not all, science issues. A new Pew Research Center analysis examines U.S. public opinion on science issues, from climate change and energy to vaccines, finding that views on science issues are also influenced by education, science knowledge, and demographic factors, such as age, gender and race/ethnicity.

Here are five key takeaways from the report:

1Views on Climate ChangeAmericans are deeply divided politically on climate change and energy issues. Seventy-one percent of Democrats and independents who lean to the Democratic Party say Earth is getting warmer because of human activity, compared with 27% of Republicans and independents who lean to the Republican Party. This finding is broadly consistent with other public polls and our previous research on climate change attitudes.

Partisan Differences on Energy IssuesThere are also wide political differences on other important energy issues. Democrats and Democratic leaners are more likely than Republicans and Republican leaners to prioritize use of alternative energy, such as wind and solar, over traditional fossil fuel development. Further, 78% of Democrats/leaning Democrats favor stricter limits on power plant emissions to address climate change, compared with 50% of Republicans/leaning Republicans. Republicans and independents who lean to the GOP are also more likely than Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents to favor the increased use of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” to extract oil and natural gas from underground rock formations; more offshore oil and gas drilling; and building more nuclear power plants.

2Politics alone does not divide Americans on science issues. Political ideology and party are either not related or weakly related to views on many biomedical, food safety and space issues. For example, a similar share (87%) of Democrats/leaning Democrats and Republicans/leaning Republicans (88%) say vaccines are generally safe for children. And liberals (41%), moderates (36%) and conservatives (37%) are about equally likely to say it is safe to eat genetically modified foods. Other science issues without major differences by political leanings include views on access to experimental drugs and views about government investment in the International Space Station. Read More

Category: 5 Facts

Topics: Bioethics, Energy and Environment, Political Attitudes and Values, Science and Innovation