A Gallup poll finds 33% of Americans cite dissatisfaction with government and elected representatives as the nation’s top issue.
For years, even before the financial meltdown of 2008, the goals of strengthening the nation’s economy and improving the jobs situation topped the list of the Pew Research Center’s annual poll of the public’s top priorities. (You can track the priorities back to 2002 using our interactive). Other pollsters, like Gallup, reported similar findings over that time span. Read More →
Category: Daily Number
Topics: Federal Government
With the Republican-led House engaged in a stare-down with Senate Democrats and President Obama over raising the federal debt limit, it seems an opportune time to dig into the actual numbers describing the national debt, the debt limit and interest payments on the nation’s credit line:
As of Sept. 30 the federal government’s total debt stood at $16.74 trillion, according to the Treasury Department’s monthly reckoning. Nearly all of it is subject to the statutory debt ceiling, which is currently set at a hair under $16.7 trillion; as a result, at the end of September there was just $25 million in unused debt capacity remaining. Read More →
Category: 5 Facts
As Egypt’s military-dominated government continues its sometimes violent crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood and supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi, the Obama administration is reportedly planning to curb a substantial portion of the $1.3 billion it provides that country in military aid.
Such a move, representing a major shift change in relations with a country that had been a key ally in the Mideast, generally has support among the U.S. public, if recent polls are an indicator. A Pew Research Survey conducted in August found that 51% of Americans believed the U.S. should cut off military aid to Egypt to pressure the government there to end the violence against anti-government protesters while 26% said it would be better to continue military aid as a means of maintaining U.S. influence.
Do conventional public opinion surveys under-report the proportion of gays and lesbians in the population? And do they underestimate the share of Americans who hold anti-gay views?
A team of researchers from Ohio State and Boston Universities say the answer to both questions is yes.
“We find substantial under-reporting of LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] identity and behaviors as well as underreporting of anti-gay sentiment …even under anonymous and very private conditions,” the researchers wrote in a working paper just published by the National Bureau of Economic Research.
The study was conducted by economists Katherine B. Coffman and Lucas C. Coffman of Ohio State University and Keith M. Marzilli Ericson of Boston University. Read More →
Category: Social Studies
Just 18% of Republicans believe their leaders are paying too much attention to the Tea Party.
Recent news reports have suggested that the hard line taken by Tea Party and other conservative Republicans in the House in the budget and debt ceiling battles may be producing a backlash among party supporters and donors who are concerned about the political impact of the government shutdown and a possible U.S. default on its debt.
But to whatever extent that pushback may be happening, it’s a point of view not shared by rank-and-file Republicans. Just 18% of Republicans believed their leaders were paying too much attention to the Tea Party, up slightly from 13% two years ago, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted last week. Most Republicans said the party’s leaders were either paying the right amount (40%) or too little (24%) attention to the positions of the Tea Party. Read More →
Category: Daily Number
Topics: U.S. Political Parties
Leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (also known as the Mormon Church) reaffirmed their position that women should not be eligible for the priesthood this past weekend at the semiannual General Conference in Salt Lake City.
The Mormon priesthood is different than the priesthood in some other faiths. All worthy male members of the church are eligible to begin priesthood service when they reach age 12, and men may hold various offices in the priesthood – such as deacon, teacher, priest, elder or high priest – at different stages in their lives. Read More →
Much has been written about newspapers cutting staffs, news pages and bureaus in response to financial pressures in recent years. But a growing number of dailies also have reduced the amount of newsprint they devote to editorials and commentary, a departure from tradition that has gone largely unnoticed outside the affected communities.
The latest and perhaps most prominent example is the Philadelphia Inquirer, which announced in September that it was cutting in half—from two to one—the number of pages allotted to editorials and opinions on weekdays, triggering protests. There is no formal tally of reductions in editorials and commentary, but Pew Research Center interviews with editors across the country have confirmed a gradual shift both in the amount of space given over to opinion and in the missions of editorial and op-ed pages. Some papers have tried to compensate by running more editorials and columns online and launching more opinion-driven blogs. Some have shifted away from one of the historic missions of newspapers—influencing public opinion—and instead seek to foment community conversations online.
“The trend over the last dozen years or so is that editorial departments have lost space and personnel,” said Bob Davis, associate publisher/editor of The Anniston (Ala.) Star, which has cut one opinion page per week. “People are looking at themselves less as being an editorial voice and more as being a stimulator of conversation.”
One telling sign of the cutbacks is membership in the Association of Opinion Journalists, the organization that represents editorial writers and columnists. In 2006, before most newspaper downsizing took place, the AOJ had 549 members. Since then, membership has plunged 55%, to 245 this year.
Among the many data casualties that have resulted from the federal government shutdown is the shuttered U.S. Census Bureau website, which is critical for many people, from demographers to journalists. But with a little digging, fellow data users, we’ve found that there are still several ways to access government data.
- First, an archived version of the Census Bureau’s site (and of other government websites as well) is available through the handy Wayback Machine internet archive. Click on the agency logo to get to the archived site, and (ignoring the message that the site is down) click on the section you are looking for. Not all features will work well, and because it is archived, the site may not have all the content that was available just before shutdown. As of yesterday, the Census Bureau’s archived site seems to have been captured in early August – at least, that’s when the latest news release appears. Read More →
Topics: U.S. Census
Three-in-ten adult social media users have set up at least one of their accounts to automatically “tag” their posts with their current location.
Three-in-ten adult social media users have at least one of their accounts currently set up to automatically “tag” their posts with their current location, up from 14% two years ago who had ever done this, according to a May Pew Research Center survey.
Such “location-tagging” was more common among younger social media users, the survey found. About a third of users aged 18-49 said they’d set up their social-media accounts to location-tag their posts, compared with 26% of 50-to-64-year-olds and just 18% of users aged 65 or older.
While location-tagging has grown more popular over the past two years, another location-based practice — “checking in” via a geosocial service such as Foursquare — seems to have become less so. The May survey found that 12% of adult smartphone owners (equivalent to 7% of all adults) had used a check-in service , down from 18% (10% of all adults) in February 2012.
As researcher Kathryn Zickuhr noted in the report, the line between social-media services and location-based services is blurring, as “social media services incorporate location as an element of user activity and as location-centric services embrace varying degrees of social functionality.” Indeed, when we asked users of check-in services which ones they used, a plurality (39%) said Facebook; runner-up Foursquare was mentioned by only 18%, while 14% cited Google Plus.
Category: Daily Number
Topics: Internet Activities
The Supreme Court began its new term today after a year in which it rendered far-reaching decisions on same-sex marriage and the Voting Rights Act. The previous term was one that left the high court with the lowest favorability ratings registered in nearly three decades of Pew Research Center polling.
In our most recent survey in July, 48% of Americans expressed a favorable view of the court while 38% regarded it unfavorably, the first time the positive number had edged below the 50% mark. Prior to the decisions handed down in June, a March survey found 52% viewed the court favorably while 31 % had an unfavorable opinion. As recently as 2007, nearly three-quarters (72%) of Americans had viewed the court positively.
Topics: Supreme Court