May 7, 2015 2:02 pm

On UK elections, the talk on Twitter is largely negative

Today, United Kingdom residents head to the polls in a very close race in which the U.K.’s power players will be determined, with smaller parties expected to make big gains.

Most Parties in the UK Receive Negative Twitter ViewsBut what, if anything, about the election could be gleaned from Twitter? A new Pew Research Center analysis of the months leading up to election day finds that four of the six parties received more negative commentary than positive. Just one party studied – the Greens – enjoyed mostly positive comments, according to an analysis of more than 13 million English-language tweets between March 30 and May 3. The balance of sentiment only changed slightly in the final full week leading up to the election.

Both the Conservative Party and the Labour Party, which have dominated the political scene for over a century, are competing to secure the majority in the House of Commons. But smaller parties that have gained public support are also likely to gain seats.

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Topics: Europe, Internet Activities, Social Media, World Elections

May 7, 2015 7:00 am

5 key takeaways about the U.S.-German relationship

May 8 is the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe. Although Americans and Germans were adversaries in that war, during the Cold War they became allies; today, they remain close strategic partners in NATO and have formed deep trade and investment ties. But a new Pew Research Center survey, conducted in association with the Bertelsmann Foundation, finds the relationship facing new challenges: shared beliefs that their countries should concentrate on their own problems rather than problems abroad; differences over Germany’s future military burden sharing; and disagreements on an EU-U.S. trade deal.

Important Events in U.S.-German Relations

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Topics: Bilateral Relations, Globalization and Trade, International Threats and Allies, World Economies

May 6, 2015 9:55 am

5 facts about prayer

55% of Americans Say They Pray Every Day

May 7 is the National Day of Prayer, on which presidents annually proclaim that “the people of the United States may turn to God in prayer and meditation at churches, in groups, and as individuals.” The day has spawned a rival National Day of Reason on the same day, started by humanist groups and other opponents of the National Day of Prayer.

Here are five facts about prayer, including survey data on Americans’ prayer habits and historical instances of prayer intersecting with the government: Read More

Category: 5 Facts

Topics: Religion and Government, Religion and Society, Religion and U.S. Politics, Religious Beliefs and Practices

May 6, 2015 7:00 am

U.S. voter turnout trails most developed countries

By International Standards, U.S. Voter Turnout is Low

Country % of voting age population % of registered voters
Belgium (2014)* 87.2% 89.4%
Turkey (2011)* 86.4% 87.2%
Sweden (2014) 82.6% 85.8%
Denmark (2011) 81.8% 87.7%
Australia (2013)* 80.5% 93.2%
South Korea (2012) 80.4% 75.8%
Iceland (2013) 80.0% 81.4%
Norway (2013) 77.9% 78.2%
Israel (2015) 76.1% 72.3%
New Zealand (2014) 73.2% 77.9%
Finland (2015) 73.1% 66.9%
Greece (2015)* 71.9% 63.6%
France (2012) 71.2% 80.4%
Netherlands (2012) 71.0% 74.6%
Austria (2013) 69.3% 74.9%
Italy (2013) 68.5% 75.2%
Germany (2013) 66.0% 71.5%
Mexico (2012)* 64.6% 63.1%
Ireland (2011) 63.8% 69.9%
Hungary (2014) 63.4% 61.8%
Spain (2011) 63.3% 68.9%
U.K. (2010) 61.1% 65.8%
Czech Republic (2013) 60.0% 59.5%
Slovakia (2012) 57.8% 59.1%
Portugal (2011) 56.6% 58.9%
Luxembourg (2013)* 55.1% 91.1%
Estonia (2015) 54.7% 64.2%
Poland (2010) 54.5% 55.3%
Canada (2011) 54.2% 61.1%
Slovenia (2014) 54.1% 51.7%
UNITED STATES (2012) 53.6% 84.3%
Japan (2014) 52.0% 52.7%
Chile (2013) 45.7% 42.0%
Switzerland (2011) 40.0% 49.1%

Pew Research Center

On Thursday, voters in the United Kingdom will elect a new Parliament, continuing a busy electoral calendar in Europe and elsewhere around the world. Greece, Israel, Finland and Estonia are among the countries that already have held national elections this year. Poland, Mexico, Turkey and Canada have big national elections scheduled in the coming weeks and months. And in the U.S., the 2016 presidential election campaign already is starting to take shape.

All that electoral activity got us wondering: How does voter turnout in the U.S., regularly decried as dismal, compare with other developed democracies? As is so often the case, the answer is a lot more complicated than the question. Read More

Topics: Elections and Campaigns, World Elections

Apr 30, 2015 12:00 pm

Racial and ethnic differences in how people use mobile technology

For many years, researchers have studied the “digital divide” by examining the gap between those who have access to digital technology and those who don’t. But as these gaps have narrowed over time, another set of contrasts has emerged when it comes to the ways different demographic groups use technology.

African Americans and Latinos Rely Heavily on Smartphones for Health Info, Educational Content, Job SeekingAlthough whites, blacks and Hispanics have similar rates of smartphone ownership, minorities tend to rely more heavily on their phone for internet access, according to Pew Research Center’s recent report on smartphone adoption. Some 13% of Hispanics and 12% of blacks are smartphone-dependent, meaning they don’t have a broadband connection at home and have few options for going online other than their cellphone. In comparison, only 4% of white smartphone owners rely heavily on their cellphone for online access.

Blacks and Hispanics reach for their phones more often than whites when it comes to looking up information about health conditions, jobs or educational content. However, there is little difference between these groups in using phones for online banking or getting information about real estate or government services. Read More

Topics: Internet Activities, Mobile, Race and Ethnicity

Apr 30, 2015 10:26 am

40 years after fall of Saigon, Vietnamese see U.S. as key ally

Fall of Saigon
North Vietnamese tanks invade the Doc Lap Palace on April 30, 1975. (Herve Gloaguen/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

This week marks the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon, a national holiday in Vietnam better known as Liberation Day. The event signified the end of the Vietnam War, culminating with a North Vietnamese army tank bulldozing through the gates of the Reunification Palace – the residence of the president of South Vietnam – and major helicopter evacuations of American military personnel and Vietnamese citizens. Read More

Topics: Asia and the Pacific, International Threats and Allies, U.S. Global Image and Anti-Americanism, Wars and International Conflicts

Apr 29, 2015 12:00 pm

For vast majority of seniors who own one, a smartphone equals ‘freedom’

Smartphone AttitudesWhen it comes to tech adoption, seniors generally lag behind their younger counterparts. But for Americans ages 65 and older who own a smartphone, having one in their pocket is a liberating experience.

Asked if they feel that their phone represents “freedom” or “a leash,” 82% of smartphone-owning seniors described their phone as freeing, compared with 64% of those ages 18 to 29. By contrast, 36% of adult smartphone owners under the age of 30 described their phone as a leash, double the 18% of adults ages 65 and older who chose this term to describe their phone.

Similarly, when asked to describe their smartphone as “connecting” or “distracting,” older users are significantly more likely to choose “connecting” as the best descriptor. On the other hand, younger smartphone users are twice as likely as older adults to view their phone as “distracting” (37% vs. 18%). Read More

Topics: Internet Activities, Technology Adoption

Apr 29, 2015 9:37 am

5 key takeaways from State of the News Media 2015

Pew Research Center today released State of the News Media 2015, our annual report surveying the landscape of U.S. journalism, covering topics ranging from the changes driven by mobile devices to the ups and downs of legacy news organizations. Here are five key takeaways drawn from 13 media sectors we looked at.

Mobile Drives Online Traffic1Among the top 50 digital news sites based on an analysis of comScore data, 39 get more traffic to their sites and associated applications from mobile devices than from desktop. But mobile visitors don’t stick around as long: On only 10 of the top 50 digital sites did mobile users spend more time than desktop visitors. (In both cases, the mobile figure exceeded the desktop figure by at least 10%.) Read More

Topics: Audio and Radio, Digital Media, Local News, Media Performance, Newspapers, Television

Apr 28, 2015 5:29 pm

Divide between blacks and whites on police runs deep

From this month’s death of a 25-year-old black man in Baltimore while in police custody to the police shooting of an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Mo., last August, race and community relations have become the focal point of tension in a series of incidents over the past year.

One constant serving as a backdrop to the discussions about policing is how differently the issue is viewed by blacks and whites.

Pew Research Center polling has consistently found that blacks and whites have very different views about many aspects of race overall — from confidence in the police to progress on racial equality. For example, 48% of whites said a lot of progress has been made since 1963, compared with 32% of blacks, according to a 2013 survey conducted just before the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s March on Washington. Read More

Topics: Race and Ethnicity, Violence and Society

Apr 28, 2015 10:07 am

With help from Mexico, number of child migrants crossing U.S. border falls

Mexico Deportations Trim Flow of Child Migrants to U.S.The Mexican government has deported a record number of Central American children traveling without a guardian since last fall, which President Obama and other U.S. officials say has contributed to a significant drop in children apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Mexico’s 3,819 deportations of unaccompanied minors from Central America during the first five months of the fiscal year represent a 56% increase over the same period a year earlier, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of Mexican and U.S. government data. The stepped up security was a result of a plan by Mexican officials to address the record surge in child migrants last year.

Overall, U.S. officials apprehended 12,509 unaccompanied children at the U.S.-Mexico border in the first five months of the fiscal year that began in October, down from 21,403 over the same time period a year ago. (Most children apprehended during this fiscal year — 7,771 — came from the Central American countries of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, with nearly all of the rest coming from Mexico.) Read More

Topics: Immigration Trends, Latin America, Migration, Unauthorized Immigration