Jul 16, 2014 2:37 pm

U.S. evangelical Christians are chilly toward atheists – and the feeling is mutual

White Evangelical Protestants, Atheists Give Each Other Cold RatingsThe feelings that members of America’s religious groups have about one another run from warm to neutral to cold, but some of the chilliest attitudes found in a new Pew Research Center survey were between evangelicals and atheists.

We asked Americans to rate eight religious groups on a “feeling thermometer” from 0 to 100, with higher numbers indicating warmer, more positive feelings and lower numbers indicating colder, more negative feelings. On average, Catholics give atheists a rating of 38, and Protestants give them a frosty 32 – lower than either group’s ratings for Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, Mormons or Muslims. White evangelical Protestants express particularly cold feelings toward atheists, with an average thermometer reading of 25.

For their part, atheists are similarly chilly toward evangelical Christians, who receive an average rating of 28 from atheists. (Respondents were asked to rate “evangelical Christians” on the feeling thermometer. White evangelical Protestants analyzed here are a subset of this group.) Overall, atheists express somewhat more positive feelings toward Catholics (47). Atheists give Hindus a relatively warm rating of 58, Jews a 61 and Buddhists a toasty 69. Granted, these groups are, like atheists, small minorities in the United States, and atheists may feel especially close to Buddhism because it often is viewed as a nontheistic religion that does not require belief in a divine creator. Some mutual warmth between atheists and Jews also is apparent: While atheists give Jews a 61, Jews give atheists a 55 – the warmest rating that atheists get from any group other than agnostics, those who claim no particular religion and atheists themselves.

While a number of religious groups harbored cool feelings toward atheists, Muslims are the only religious group that received uniformly negative ratings of 50 degrees or fewer from all the groups large enough to analyze. (The survey’s nationwide sample of 3,217 adults does not include enough Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims or Mormons to be able to tell how members of those faiths feel toward U.S. religious groups.)  Read More

Topics: Buddhists and Buddhism, Catholics and Catholicism, Evangelical Protestants and Evangelicalism, Hindus and Hinduism, Jews and Judaism, Mormons and Mormonism, Religion and Society, Religious Beliefs and Practices, Religiously Unaffiliated

Jul 16, 2014 1:00 pm

Obama viewed as more caring than Bush, but no more effective

Obama vs. Bush Approval RatingsA new Pew Research Center survey finds that President Barack Obama’s overall approval rating has held steady at 44%, even as he receives low marks for his handling of the surge of undocumented child immigrants at the U.S. border.

While Obama’s job rating has been below 50% for the past year, it stands eight points higher than that of his predecessor, George W. Bush, at a comparable point eight years ago. In July 2006, 36% approved of Bush’s job performance.

Obama, Bush Presidential QualitiesObama gets much higher marks than his predecessor for empathy and honesty. But his ratings on leadership and his ability to get things done are about the same as Bush’s at about this point in his second term.

In the current survey, 54% say Obama “cares about people like me” and 51% consider him “trustworthy.” By comparison, in the summer of 2006 – a year after Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast – fewer said Bush cared about people like them (41%) and was trustworthy (41%).

In August 2006, 42% said Bush was “able to get things done,” while 51% said he was not able to get things done. Perceptions of Obama are nearly identical (44% can get things done, 53% cannot).

Similarly, 43% called Bush a strong leader in the summer of 2006, little different from the 47% who say this about Obama today.  Read More

Topics: Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Presidential Approval

Jul 16, 2014 7:00 am

How North Dakota’s ‘man rush’ compares with past population booms

The vast amounts of oil extracted from Bakken shale in recent years, much of it in North Dakota, has helped the United States become the world’s top oil producer. The state has added about 100,000 workers since 2009, and the unemployment rate (2.6%) is well below the national average.

The fact that nearly all oil workers are men has received much attention. Indeed, recent census figures show that North Dakota led the nation in population growth over the past five years, at 12%, and men have accounted for two-thirds of it. From 2009 to 2013, the number of men in North Dakota increased by 14% (46,000), compared with a 9% increase among women (30,000).  Read More

Topics: Energy and Environment, Population Geography, Population Trends

Jul 15, 2014 1:41 pm

The demographics and politics of gun-owning households

FT_14.07.10_GunsAmericans with young children in their home are just as likely as other adults to have a gun in their household, according to newly released survey data from the Pew Research Center.

Overall, about a third of all Americans with children under 18 at home have a gun in their household, including  34% of families with children younger than 12. That’s nearly identical to the share of childless adults or those with older children who have a firearm at home.

The new research also suggests a paradox: While blacks are significantly more likely than whites to be gun homicide victims, blacks are only about half as likely as whites to have a firearm in their home (41% vs. 19%). Hispanics are less likely than blacks to be gun homicide victims and half as likely as whites to have a gun at home (20%).

To examine the demographic and political characteristics of gun-owners and their households, we examined data from the new Pew Research Center American Trends Panel survey of 3,243 adults conducted April 29-May 27, including 1,196 who said they or someone in their household owned a gun, pistol or rifle.

All respondents in the nationally representative panel had been interviewed in an earlier Pew Research poll and agreed to participate in future surveys. Margin of sampling error for the overall results is plus or minus 2.3 percentage points and plus or minus 3.7 percentage points for results based only on those in gun-owning households.

The survey results also would appear to challenge the conventional wisdom that gun ownership is far more prevalent in the South. According to the survey, southerners are just about as likely as those living in the Midwest or the West to have a gun at home (38% vs. 35% and 34%, respectively). The regional exception: Households in the northeastern United States, where gun prevalence is significantly lower (27%) than in other parts of the country. Read More

Topics: Gun Control

Jul 15, 2014 9:00 am

Which countries don’t like America and which do

Sacré bleu! France makes the list of top 10 fans of the U.S. and Germany makes the list of the top 10 critics.

A decade ago anti-Americanism was on the rise around the world, in large part thanks to public opposition to the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Today, despite recent revelations of U.S. National Security Agency spying on foreign leaders and global opposition to U.S. drone strikes, there is little evidence of profound anti-Americanism except in a handful of countries, according to a new Pew Research Center survey of 44 nations. Foreigners’ love affair with the United States remains strong in Africa and most of Asia, Europe and Latin America. But who likes Uncle Sam, who doesn’t and whose affections are evolving paints a pretty accurate road map of the overseas challenges facing Washington in the years ahead.

10 Biggest Critics and Fans of the U.S.Anti-Americanism is particularly strong today in the Middle East. In Egypt only 10% of the public favor the United States, which long backed the regime of Hosni Mubarak and failed to oppose the military overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood government that succeeded him. Support is not much higher in Jordan (12%) and Turkey (19%), both countries that are notionally Washington’s allies. Those not-so-warm feelings for America have fallen 17 percentage points in Egypt and 13 points in Jordan since 2009, the first year of the Obama administration, when there appeared to be some hope in those nations that Uncle Sam would pursue policies more to their liking.

In addition, less than a quarter of Russians (23%) have a positive view of America, whose image is down 28 points in just the last year, a casualty of Washington’s opposition to Moscow’s intervention in Ukraine. Read More

Topics: Country Image, U.S. Global Image and Anti-Americanism

Jul 15, 2014 7:00 am

At the statehouse, ideological press tries to fill a void in news coverage

Ideological Statehouse Reporter BreakdownWhen the bottom fell out of the news industry during the recession, many newspapers cut their reporting power in statehouse press rooms, abandoning desks and pulling journalists from a beat that dailies had long dominated.

Just as quickly, other organizations moved to fill the void. Among them: groups with stated points of view.

A new Pew Research study identified 33 ideological outlets that assign reporters to cover state government.  These outlets clearly state an underlying political philosophy, often on their websites. Most of them identify themselves as supporters of a “free market” or “limited government.” One says it provides “news for Republicans, by Republicans.” Just one identifies itself as “progressive.”

Ideological organizations cover state government in 25 states across the country. (Florida has the most ideological outlets, with three.)  They assign 53 reporters to statehouses, about one-third of them (17) full time and year round. The rest cover the statehouse part time (19) or during legislative sessions only (15). Two others are college students. Read More

Topics: News Media Sectors, News Sources, Newsroom Investment and Resources

Jul 14, 2014 2:01 pm

5 key takeaways on global views of the U.S. and China

As new revelations about America’s electronic surveillance efforts continue to emerge, a new Pew Research Center survey finds widespread opposition around the world to U.S. eavesdropping. Still, America’s overall image remains mostly positive. At the same time, however, people see the global balance of power shifting, with China on the rise, and the U.S. in relative decline.

Here are five key takeaways on how the world views the U.S., China, and the superpower competition between the two major rivals.

In nearly all 43 countries surveyed outside the U.S., majorities say the U.S. shouldn’t intercept communications from foreign leaders or foreign citizens.1People around the world don’t want the U.S. eavesdropping on their leaders or their citizens – or for that matter, on American citizens. In nearly all 43 countries surveyed outside the U.S., majorities say the U.S. shouldn’t intercept communications from foreign leaders or foreign citizens. And most tend to believe the U.S. government shouldn’t listen in on American citizens either. Moreover, the revelations about U.S. spying by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden seem to have had an impact on America’s reputation for respecting individual liberty – in 22 of 36 countries polled this year and last, fewer people now believe the U.S. government respects the personal freedom of its people.

Read More

Topics: Global Balance of Power, Globalization and Trade, National Security, U.S. Global Image and Anti-Americanism

Jul 14, 2014 12:54 pm

5 facts about the French

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Ah, la France. The land of wine, cheese, romance and abundant vacation time… right? As France celebrates the national holiday of Bastille Day, we set the record straight. Here are five common stereotypes about the French, and the facts that prove them right or wrong.

1 The French don’t care about affairs. Extramarital affairs are widely viewed as morally unacceptable around the world, with one notable exception: France. Only 47% of the French said having an extramarital affair was morally unacceptable in our 2013 survey, while four-in-ten thought it was not a moral issue, and 12% said it was actually morally acceptable. France was the only country out of the 40 we surveyed where less than half of respondents described infidelity as unacceptable. This laissez-faire attitude also extends to premarital sex: only 6% of the French view it as morally unacceptable. Read More

Category: 5 Facts

Topics: Western Europe

Jul 14, 2014 12:00 pm

Where the U.S. wiretap hotspots are

Four states account for half of the nation’s wiretapping activity, according to a new report from the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts. Nevada leads the nation in the number of wiretaps when population is factored in, according to the annual list of where federal and state judges have authorized law enforcement to monitor phone communications as part of criminal investigations in 2013.

Wiretaps By StateThe report suggests that nearly 90% of the wiretap authorization requests cited criminal drug-related offenses; the rest ranged from smuggling to homicide cases. It found that the wiretaps led to 3,744 persons arrested (about the same as in 2012), and 709 persons convicted of a crime.

As Americans adopt cell phones over landlines, 97% of the total 3,576 authorizations specifically target portable devices including cell phones and digital pagers. Federal and state judges authorized a total of 3,455 wiretaps on portable devices in 2013. The total number of reported wiretaps is up 5% from 2012, but it’s more than doubled since a decade ago, when the number of wiretaps authorized was 1,442.

California, New York, Nevada and Florida lead the nation in the number of mobile wiretap authorizations. California dwarfs the rest of the nation with about 26% of the reported authorizations in 2013, more than doubling New York with 12%, and Nevada and Florida trailing with about 6% each.  Read More

Topics: National Security, Surveillance

Jul 14, 2014 7:00 am

Despite recent shootings, Chicago nowhere near U.S. ‘murder capital’

FT_14.07.14_HighestMurderRatesThe spate of 82 shootings in Chicago over the July 4th holiday weekend, in which at least 16 people were killed, drew national attention to gun violence in the nation’s third-largest city. But that focus risks missing the bigger picture: When adjusted by population, murder rates are far higher in smaller cities than in larger ones, such as Chicago, New York and Los Angeles.

In terms of raw number of murders, Chicago has long been at or near the top of U.S. cities, according to FBI crime statistics. In 2012, it had 500 murders, the most of any city in the country; Chicago has been among the top three cities with the most murders since 1985. (Fair warning: The FBI stats are compiled from reports by local police agencies that serve populations of at least 100,000, and for various reasons — including the fact that not all agencies reported data every year — can be difficult to compare meaningfully across cities or time periods.)

Read More

Topics: Criminal Justice