Jan 30, 2017 7:05 am

Most Americans see labor unions, corporations favorably

With President Donald Trump’s labor secretary nominee set to appear before the Senate next week, the public has broadly positive views of both labor unions and business corporations.

About six-in-ten adults today have a favorable view of labor unions (60%) and business corporations (56%), according to a new Pew Research Center survey. Views of both have grown more positive since March 2015, when roughly half of adults (48%) expressed a favorable view of each.

The public’s opinions of corporations and unions were largely positive throughout the early 2000s, but turned more negative during the Great Recession. Today, favorable opinions of each are at their highest levels in nearly a decade.

Republicans and Democrats have long been divided in their views of labor and business, and that remains the case today: Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents are much more favorable toward labor unions than business corporations, while the inverse is true for Republicans and Republican leaners.  Read More

Topics: Business and Labor, Political Attitudes and Values, Political Polarization, U.S. Political Parties, Work and Employment

Jan 26, 2017 3:00 pm

5 facts about abortion

More than four decades after the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, opponents and supporters of abortion rights are still battling over the issue in court, at the ballot box and in state legislatures. On Friday, opponents of the ruling will converge on Washington, D.C., for an annual march to protest the decision. And next week, President Donald Trump is expected to nominate a new Supreme Court justice who he has said will be “pro-life.”

As the debate over abortion continues, here are five key facts about Americans’ views on the topic, based on recent Pew Research Center polling:

1About six-in-ten U.S. adults (59%) say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, compared with 37% who say it should be illegal all or most of the time. Public support for legal abortion is now as high as it’s been in two decades of polling.

2There is a substantial partisan and ideological divide on abortion, with Democrats much more likely than Republicans to say it should be legal in all or most cases. This gap is even larger between liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans: Nearly nine-in-ten liberal Democrats (88%) say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, compared with only about three-in-ten self-described conservatives in the GOP (27%).

3When it comes to the Supreme Court’s landmark 1973 ruling, about seven-in-ten Americans (69%) say Roe v. Wade should not be completely overturned. Democrats are far more likely than Republicans to hold this view, and there are also significant differences by education level and religious affiliation. Nearly nine-in-ten of those with postgraduate degrees (88%) say the court should not overturn the decision, versus about seven-in-ten of those with a college degree (74%) or some college experience (70%) and 62% of those with a high school diploma or less education. There are no significant differences on this question by gender.  Read More

Category: 5 Facts

Topics: Abortion, Political Attitudes and Values, Religion and Government, Religion and U.S. Politics, Religious Affiliation, Social Values, Supreme Court

Jan 26, 2017 2:04 pm

Many ‘password challenged’ internet users don’t take steps that could protect their data

In today’s digitally connected world, where accessing medical records, ordering groceries and paying taxes can all be done online, many internet users find it daunting to keep up with all the various passwords associated with their online accounts. One consequence is that a significant minority of users settle for less secure passwords they can more easily remember.

A new Pew Research Center report finds that 39% of online adults report having a hard time keeping track of their passwords. Compared with the 60% of online adults who do not express difficulties keeping up with their passwords, this “password challenged” group also tends to be more worried over the safety and security of their passwords.

Those who do find password management difficult are twice as likely as those who do not to report worrying about the security of their passwords (44% vs. 22%).  Read More

Topics: Digital Divide, Generations and Age, Online Privacy and Safety

Jan 26, 2017 12:26 pm

Americans divided in views of use of torture in U.S. anti-terror efforts

As Donald Trump’s administration reviews U.S. policies on the detainment and interrogation of terrorism suspects, the public is divided over whether it is ever acceptable for the country to use torture in anti-terror efforts.

Overall, 48% say there are some circumstances under which the use of torture is acceptable in U.S. anti-terrorism efforts; about as many (49%) say there are no circumstances under which the use of torture is acceptable.

Trump has said he personally believes torture works, but that he will confer with his Cabinet before considering any changes to U.S. policy. The use of torture by the military and all other government agencies is currently banned under U.S. law.

The national survey of 4,265 adults conducted just before the presidential election (Oct. 25-Nov. 8) on Pew Research Center’s nationally representative American Trends Panel finds wide demographic and political differences in views of torture.

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Topics: Foreign Affairs and Policy, Political Attitudes and Values, Political Issue Priorities, Political Polarization, Terrorism, U.S. Political Parties

Jan 25, 2017 11:11 am

Most officers say the media treat police unfairly

Most U.S. police officers see significant challenges on the job in the wake of high-profile incidents involving law enforcement and black citizens. Among those challenges is a widespread feeling among officers that police are mistreated by the media, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey conducted by the National Police Research Platform.

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Topics: Criminal Justice, News Media Ethics and Practices, News Media Trends, Race and Ethnicity, Social Values, Violence and Society, Work and Employment

Jan 24, 2017 1:51 pm

Europeans favoring right-wing populist parties are more positive on Putin

Although confidence in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s leadership is low across Western Europe, those who favor right-wing populist parties are significantly more likely than those who do not to express confidence in Putin, as well as to prefer to move past disputes over Russia’s foreign policy in favor of a strong economic relationship, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in spring 2016.

This trend comes at a time when the U.S. is engaged in its own debate about its stance toward Russia and Putin. A recent Pew Research Center report found that Democrats are significantly more negative toward Russia’s president than are Republicans, though majorities of both parties view Putin negatively.

Debate over national identity and the specter of Russian interference loom over Europe as people in France, Germany and the Netherlands head to the polls this year. Read More

Topics: Europe, Foreign Affairs and Policy, Foreign News, Non-U.S. Political Leaders, Russia, Western Europe

Jan 24, 2017 11:10 am

115th Congress sets new high for racial, ethnic diversity

Incoming members of Congress walk down the steps of the House of Representatives after posing for a group photograph Nov. 15, 2016. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Incoming members of Congress walk down the steps of the House of Representatives after posing for a group photograph Nov. 15, 2016. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Almost one-in-five voting members of the House and Senate are a racial or ethnic minority, making the 115th U.S. Congress the most diverse in history. And while Congress as a whole remains  disproportionately white when compared with the U.S. population, the racial and ethnic profile of newly elected members more closely resembles the increasingly diverse populace, according to a Pew Research Center analysis.

Overall, nonwhites (including blacks, Hispanics, Asians/Pacific Islanders and Native Americans) make up 19% of the current Congress. By comparison, nonwhite Hispanics and other racial minorities make up 38% of the nation’s population.

Minorities, however, account for 20 of 59 new members (34%) of the House and Senate. This represents a notable jump over the 114th Congress, when just 11 of 71 new members (15%) were a racial or ethnic minority and the Senate had no newly elected minority members. This year, three freshman senators are a racial or ethnic minority, along with 17 new members of the House.  Read More

Topics: 2016 Election, Demographics, Federal Government, Race and Ethnicity, U.S. Political Parties

Jan 23, 2017 3:50 pm

Obama issued fewer executive orders on average than any president since Cleveland

Obama signs an executive order in the Oval Office in March 2015. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

Barack Obama averaged fewer executive orders per year in office than any U.S. president in 120 years. The executive orders he did issue, however, face an uncertain future under President Donald Trump, who has characterized some of Obama’s orders as “illegal and overreaching.”

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Topics: Barack Obama, Domestic Affairs and Policy, U.S. Political Figures

Jan 23, 2017 12:00 pm

Police, public differ on key issues but align on others

On issues ranging from an assault rifle ban to racial progress in the U.S., the public and the police stand on opposite sides of a wide attitudinal divide. At the same time, majorities of police officers and the public favor the use of body cameras, favor relaxing some restrictions on marijuana, and believe that long-standing bias against police was at least some of the motivation for the protests that followed many of the deaths of blacks during encounters with police in recent years.

The contrasting views and notable similarities between the attitudes of police and the public emerge from two Pew Research Center surveys. One was of 7,917 sworn police officers from departments with at least 100 officers conducted online last May to August by the National Police Research Platform, and the other was of 4,538 adults conducted by mail and online last August to September. The surveys included a number of identically worded questions, which allowed for direct comparisons of the views of officers and the public on a range of issues.

Among the more striking takeaways from these surveys was the very different way the police and the public view the deaths of blacks during encounters with police. Two-thirds of officers (67%) view these fatal encounters as isolated incidents, a view shared by only about four-in-ten Americans (39%).

The public and police diverge on a range of other issues, sometimes by even larger margins. For example, when it comes to the work police do day in and day out, 83% of Americans say they understand the risks and challenges that police face. Roughly the same share of police (86%), in a similarly worded question, say they believe the public does not understand the risks officers face on the job. This is among the largest gaps between police and the public found in these surveys. One example of this disconnect: More than eight-in-ten Americans (83%) believe the typical officer has fired his or her weapon at least once in their career. By contrast, about a quarter (27%) of officers say they have done so.
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Topics: Criminal Justice, Social Values, Violence and Society, Work and Employment

Jan 23, 2017 6:55 am

Two-thirds of Americans give priority to developing alternative energy over fossil fuels

President Donald Trump is promising major changes on climate and energy policy, including efforts to increase production from fossil fuel energy sources such as coal. But a new Pew Research Center survey finds that 65% of Americans give priority to developing alternative energy sources, compared with 27% who would emphasize expanded production of fossil fuel sources.

Support for concentrating on alternative energy is up slightly since December 2014. At that time, 60% said developing alternative energy sources was the more important priority.

There continue to be wide political differences on energy priorities. While a 2016 Pew Research Center survey found large majorities of Democrats and Republicans supported expanding both wind and solar energy, the new survey shows that Democrats remain far more likely than Republicans to stress that developing alternative energy should take priority over developing fossil fuel sources.

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Topics: Domestic Affairs and Policy, Energy and Environment, Political Polarization, U.S. Political Parties