Oct 28, 2016 1:00 pm

Obama job approval higher, but views of him are still the most polarized in recent history

As the campaign to elect the next president enters its final days, approval of Barack Obama’s job performance is as high as it has been at any point over the past four years.

Yet Obama’s approval ratings, on average, continue to be more politically polarized than any president’s dating back to Dwight Eisenhower.

A new Pew Research Center survey finds that 54% of the public approves of Obama’s job performance, while 42% disapprove. Obama’s job rating has not been this positive since December 2012, a month after his re-election, when it stood at 55%.

Since the start of the year, the share of Americans who approve of Obama’s job performance has increased 8 percentage points, while the share that disapproves has fallen 6 points. The rise in overall ratings is due to improving views among Democrats and independents; there has been little change in Republicans’ ratings of the president.

Read More

Topics: 2016 Election, Political Polarization, Presidential Approval, U.S. Political Parties

Oct 28, 2016 11:15 am

American public, foreign policy experts sharply disagree over involvement in global economy

Many Americans are skeptical that the advantages of economic globalization outweigh the disadvantages: 49% of the public said in an April survey that U.S. involvement in the global economy is bad because it lowers wages and costs jobs. That compares with 44% who said that global economic engagement is good because it opens new markets and creates opportunities for growth. The U.S. public’s divided worldview sharply contrasts with the overwhelming opinion among international relations (IR) scholars that America’s involvement in the world economy is good for the nation.

Read More

Topics: Economic Policy, Foreign Affairs and Policy, Globalization and Trade

Oct 27, 2016 2:23 pm

Views of health care law break sharply along partisan lines

Democrats and Republicans remain extraordinarily divided in their views of the Affordable Care Act – and over what Congress should do about it – at a time when the law has become a major issue in the closing stages of the race for the White House.

About eight-in-ten Democrats (82%) approve of the law while 91% of Republicans disapprove of it, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. Independents are more evenly split on the question, with 41% approving and 54% disapproving. But among independents who lean to the Democratic Party, 64% approve of the law, while 85% of independents who lean Republican disapprove of it.

Partisans have long been sharply divided over the health care overhaul itself, but they are growing farther apart in their views over what should be done about the law. About two-thirds of Democrats (68%) now say Congress should expand the law, up from 50% in March 2012. Just 18% of Democrats now say Congress should keep the law as is, down from 31% four years ago. Among Republicans, 85% favor repeal, up from 74% in March 2012, while the share that supports keeping the law as is has declined from 10% then to 5% now.

Read More

Topics: 2016 Election, Health Care, Political Issue Priorities, Political Polarization

Oct 27, 2016 10:06 am

Shared religious beliefs in marriage important to some, but not all, married Americans

At a time when American society has become less religious, many people still say shared religious beliefs are an important ingredient for marital success. But married adults point to other factors, such as shared interests and even sharing household chores, as bigger keys to a successful marriage.

Nearly half of all married adults (47%) say sharing religious beliefs with one’s spouse is “very important” for a successful marriage, according to the newest report from Pew Research Center’s Religious Landscape Study. Perhaps not surprisingly, nearly two-thirds of those married to someone from the same religious tradition (64%) take this view, compared with just 24% of those married to someone who is affiliated with different religions and only 17% of those in marriages between one religiously affiliated spouse and one who is unaffiliated.

But, overall, larger percentages of Americans rank other factors higher as key ingredients to a successful marriage. We asked respondents how important each of seven factors (including sharing religion) is to marital success. Topping the list as important for adults overall is having shared interests, a satisfying sexual relationship and sharing household chores.

Read More

Topics: Family and Relationships, Marriage and Divorce, Religion and Society, Religious Beliefs and Practices, Social Values

Oct 26, 2016 1:30 pm

5 facts about immigrant mothers and U.S. fertility trends

As their ranks have swelled in the past several decades, immigrants have come to play an outsize role in U.S. fertility, accounting for almost one-fourth (23%) of babies born in the United States (but just 14% of the overall population). A new Pew Research Center report examines long-term trends in U.S. births among both U.S.-born and foreign-born women, and the growing gap in the share of births outside of marriage between the two groups. The report also looks at how the financial and demographic profiles of new mothers vary depending not only upon their nativity, but upon their region and country of birth, as well.

Here are key findings from the report:

1The increase in U.S. births since 1970 has been driven entirely by births to immigrant mothers. In 1970 the annual number of U.S. births stood at 3.74 million. By 2014, the number had risen 7% to 4.00 million. During that same time, the annual number of births to immigrant women tripled, from 274,000 to 901,000. Meanwhile, births to U.S.-born women declined from 3.46 million to 3.10 million. In other words, were it not for the increase in births to immigrant women, the annual number of U.S. births would have declined since 1970.

2U.S. births outside of marriage have declined since 2008, primarily among immigrant women. Over the long term, nonmarital births had been on the rise in the U.S. In 2014, 40% of all U.S. births were to unmarried women, up from 21% of births in 1984. Among foreign-born women, the share of births that occurred outside of marriage hit a high of 37% in 2008 and has since fallen steadily. Among U.S.-born women, the share of babies born outside of marriage has held steady over that same period. While foreign-born women have always been less likely to have babies outside of marriage than U.S.-born women, the roughly 10-percentage-point gap in this measure in 2014 (42% vs. 33%) is the widest since data became available in 1984.

Read More

Category: 5 Facts

Topics: Birth Rate and Fertility, Family and Relationships, Immigration, Immigration Trends, Parenthood

Oct 26, 2016 12:00 pm

Number of babies born to unauthorized immigrants in U.S. continues to decline

About 275,000 babies were born to unauthorized-immigrant parents in 2014, or about 7% of the 4 million births in the U.S. that year, according to Pew Research Center estimates based on government data. This represented a decline from 330,000 in 2009, at the end of the Great Recession.

Births to unauthorized immigrants accounted for about one-in-three births (32%) to foreign-born mothers in the U.S. in 2014, according to the estimates.

The decrease in births to unauthorized immigrants from 2009 to 2014 contrasts with the trend for the U.S. unauthorized immigrant population overall, which has stabilized. The number of births and the total population both generally rose through the 1990s and 2000s, peaked in 2006 (births) or 2007 (population), and then declined as the recession of 2007-2009 lingered.

Read More

Topics: Birth Rate and Fertility, Hispanic/Latino Demographics, Immigration, Immigration Trends, Population Trends, Unauthorized Immigration

Oct 26, 2016 9:06 am

Few Americans identify with more than one religion

While the number of Americans who were raised in homes where parents had different religions appears to be growing, relatively few think of themselves as having been brought up in more than one religion, and even fewer say they currently belong to multiple religions.

Roughly one-in-five American adults say they were raised by two people with different religious identities – such as a mother who was a Catholic and a father who was a Protestant, or a mother who was Jewish and a stepfather who was religiously unaffiliated – according to the newest report on our Religious Landscape Study. But only about half as many (11%) say they think of themselves as having been raised in more than one religion. And just 6% say they now identify with multiple religions.

Read More

Topics: Family and Relationships, Generations and Age, Household and Family Structure, Lifestyle, Religion and Society, Religious Affiliation, Religious Beliefs and Practices

Oct 25, 2016 3:00 pm

Lesbian, gay and bisexual voters remain a solidly Democratic bloc

Gay, lesbian and bisexual voters may make up a relatively small share of the American electorate – just 5% of voters in the 2012 general election identified as LGB, according to national exit polls – but they have long been a deeply Democratic constituency and today are overwhelmingly negative in their assessments of Donald Trump.

Nearly nine-in-ten LGB voters (89%) give the Republican presidential nominee a rating of cold on a “feeling thermometer” that ranges from 0 (the coldest, most negative rating) to 100 (the warmest, most positive score). About eight-in-ten (82%) rate Trump very cold, including more than half (54%) who give him a score of 0. Just 9% of LGB voters rate Trump warm.

By contrast, Hillary Clinton is viewed generally positively: 61% of LGB voters rate her warm, including 36% who rate her very warm. About three-in-ten (31%) give her a cold rating, including 24% who have a very cold view of the Democratic nominee.

This analysis is based on data from Pew Research Center’s nationally representative American Trends Panel. The survey was conducted online from Sept. 27 to Oct. 10 among 4,132 adults, including 3,616 registered voters (167 of whom identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual).

Read More

Topics: 2016 Election, Gay Marriage and Homosexuality, Gender, Political Attitudes and Values, Political Issue Priorities, Political Polarization

Oct 25, 2016 12:34 pm

Oversampling is used to study small groups, not bias poll results

Every election year, questions arise about how polling techniques and practices might skew poll results one way or the other. In the final weeks before this year’s election, the practice of “oversampling” and its possible effect on presidential polls is in the media spotlight.

Oversampling is the practice of selecting respondents so that some groups make up a larger share of the survey sample than they do in the population. Oversampling small groups can be difficult and costly, but it allows polls to shed light on groups that would otherwise be too small to report on.

This might sound like it would make the survey unrepresentative, but pollsters correct this through weighting. With weighting, groups that were oversampled are brought back in line with their actual share of the population – removing the potential for bias. Read More

Topics: 2016 Election, Demographics, Research Methods, Telephone Survey Methods

Oct 24, 2016 10:11 am

Many Americans unaware of their states’ voter ID laws

With less than a month to go before Election Day, not all American voters are aware of their states’ voter ID requirements. A new national survey finds that the confusion runs two ways: Some voters live in states that do not require identification to vote but think it is needed, while others living in states that do require IDs mistakenly believe they do not need one to vote.

About four-in-ten voters (37%) living in states with no identification requirement incorrectly believe that they will be required to show identification prior to voting, according to a survey conducted Sept. 27 to Oct. 10 among 3,616 registered voters on Pew Research Center’s nationally representative American Trends Panel. About six-in-ten (62%) in these states know they do not have to produce a photo ID to vote.

Read More

Topics: 2016 Election, Voter Demographics, Voter Participation, Voting Issues