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

Jul 21, 2016 11:30 am

Churchgoing Republicans, once skeptical of Trump, now support him

As Donald Trump accepts the GOP’s presidential nomination during a sometimes contentious convention, some have wondered whether he will be able to bridge the party’s primary divides by Election Day. But recent Pew Research Center studies find that while many GOP voters – especially regular churchgoers – were skeptical of Trump even as late as April 2016, well into primary season, most are now ready to support him in the general election.

An analysis of Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters at three points over a roughly five month period shows that by April, Trump was the preferred nominee of just 34% of those who attend religious services weekly, including 15% who had been steady supporters (i.e., had consistently supported him across the three separate surveys in December 2015, March 2016 and April 2016). Two-thirds of regular churchgoing Republicans were not supporting Trump for the GOP nomination even in April. This includes 57% who were Trump “skeptics,” having not expressed support for Trump as the GOP nominee in any of the three surveys conducted mainly online among participants in the Pew Research Center’s American Trends Panel between December and April.

Trump received much more support during the GOP primaries from Republicans who do not attend religious services every week; half of this group was in Trump’s corner by April, including 28% who had steadily supported him throughout the primaries. Read More

Topics: 2016 Election, Religion and U.S. Politics, Voter Demographics

Jul 20, 2016 1:03 pm

In ‘political correctness’ debate, most Americans think too many people are easily offended

At a time when the appropriateness of language has become a political issue, most Americans (59%) say “too many people are easily offended these days over the language that others use.” Fewer (39%) think “people need to be more careful about the language they use to avoid offending people with different backgrounds.”

A new national survey by Pew Research Center finds substantial partisan, racial and gender differences on this question.

About eight-in-ten (78%) Republicans say too many people are easily offended, while just 21% say people should be more careful to avoid offending others. Among Democrats, 61% think people should be more careful not to offend others, compared with 37% who say people these days are too easily offended.

The partisan gap is reflected in starkly divergent views among Trump and Clinton supporters. By a ratio of about five-to-one (83% to 16%), more Trump supporters say too many people are easily offended. Among Clinton supporters, 59% think people need to exercise caution in speaking to avoid offending others, while 39% think too many are easily offended. Read More

Topics: Political Attitudes and Values

Jul 20, 2016 11:58 am

Candidates’ social media outpaces their websites and emails as an online campaign news source

In the digital news era, presidential candidates and their campaigns have a greater ability to serve as direct sources of news and information for the public. Pew Research Center has studied this evolution for the last five presidential cycles and finds that this year, the candidates’ social media posts outpace their websites and emails as sources of news.

Roughly a quarter of U.S. adults (24%) turn to social media posts from either the Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump campaigns as a way of keeping up with the election, according to a new Pew Research Center survey conducted June 7 to July 5, 2016. This exceeds the portions that rely on the candidates’ campaign websites (10%) or their emails (9%). Overall, three-in-ten Americans get election news from at least one of these three online sources for news about the election.

What’s more, most of those who rely on the candidates’ websites and emails for news also turn to candidates’ social media posts for information, whether on Twitter, Facebook or some other platform. About two-thirds of those who get news from either candidate’s website (63%) and about the same portion who turn to candidate emails (68%) also turn to a candidate’s social media posts. Read More

Topics: 2016 Election, Election News, U.S. Political Figures