Nov 12, 2014 8:00 am

Unrest in the Middle East taking a toll on people’s outlooks

The pervasive conflicts that have gripped the Middle East over recent years — from political turmoil in the wake of the Arab Spring to the rise of Islamic State militants — have taken a serious toll on the outlook of people across the region, according to a Pew Research survey conducted this year.

While most emerging nations in our survey are satisfied with life today and optimistic about the future, those in the Middle East stand out for being unhappy with their countries, their economies and their lives, and wary about what the future holds for themselves and their children.

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Topics: Middle East and North Africa, World Economies

Nov 10, 2014 12:30 pm

You don’t really have to know a news outlet to trust (or distrust) it

When Pew Research Center sought out ways to measure the amount of trust a news organization has, we quickly found that a news source’s level of trust and distrust is heavily influenced by brand reputation. For nearly all 36 outlets we asked our survey respondents about, more people had heard of the outlet but not gotten political news there in the past week than had heard of it and also gotten news there. For example, 80% of web respondents have heard of The Washington Post, but only 8% had used the Post as a source for political news in the past week, leaving 72% who had heard of it but had not read it within the past week.

Many respondents who knew of but didn’t get political news from a source in the past week abstained from voicing a sense of trust or distrust. (In the Washington Post example, just over half of that 72% expressed neither.) But it turns out that those who did weigh in one way or another often determine the sources’ overall balance of trust to distrust level.

Among those who had gotten news from each source in the past week, there is in nearly every case more trust than distrust. But among those who don’t get their news from a source we asked about, there is no such consistency. Some sources are more trusted than distrusted, while for others, distrust predominates.

For example, among those who have heard of CNN but did not get news there, expressions of trust and distrust are roughly equal – 37% trust and 33% distrust. (Fully 80% of those who heard of it and consumed it say they trust it.) PBS, however (trusted by 84% of those who got news there in the past week), was roughly twice as trusted as distrusted outside its core audience (34% v. 16%).

Trusted News Brands

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Topics: News Audience Trends and Attitudes, News Sources

Nov 10, 2014 11:50 am

5 takeaways about the 2014 Latino vote

Even though some states with the largest Hispanic populations were not part of the most competitive midterm election contests, the Latino vote still mattered. Gearing up for the election, pollsters, journalists and politicians wanted to know how the Hispanic vote would shape the overall results. Would Latinos turn out to vote in greater numbers this year? Would the lack of action on immigration reform by President Obama and Congress depress voter turnout, or raise it? Here are five takeaways about Latino voters in this year’s elections, based on exit poll data.

1Democrats won the Latino vote, but Republican candidates gained a sizable share of this electorate. In several Senate and governor races for which exit poll data are available, we know this is true. For example, in gubernatorial races in Georgia and Texas, Republican candidates won more than 40% of the Latino vote. In House races nationwide, there was little change from the previous midterm election. Some 62% of Latinos voted for Democratic House candidates nationwide, compared with 36% who voted Republican, the national exit poll shows. The Democratic share is similar to the last midterm election in 2010, but down from 2012, when the advantage over Republicans was 68% to 30%.

2Latino Midterm VotersHispanics made up 8% of the nation’s voters, the same as in 2010 and 2006, according to national exit polls. Measuring the demographics of voters is difficult using exit polls. Nonetheless, they can be useful when examining trends. Even as the Latino vote remained flat at 8%, their share among eligible voters has grown from 8.6% in 2006 to 11% this year. (The number of Hispanic eligible voters has reached more than 25 million today, up from 17.3 million in 2006.) This suggests, but does not show, that voter turnout among Latinos may not have surged this year. Indeed, some analysts say voter turnout among the general public nationwide may be equal or down from 2010.

Historically, Hispanic voter turnout rates are among the lowest of any race or ethnic group in midterm elections. In 2010, 31.2% of Hispanics voted, compared with 48.6% of whites, 44% of blacks and 31% of Asians. (More precise voter turnout numbers won’t be available until the Census Bureau releases its data in spring 2015.) Read More

Category: 5 Facts

Topics: 2014 Election, Hispanic/Latino Vote, Voter Demographics, Voter Participation

Nov 8, 2014 2:00 am

With 41% of global wealth in the hands of less than 1%, elites and citizens agree inequality is a top priority

41% of world's wealth in hands of 1% of population

Over the last few years, inequality has become an increasingly important topic in global debates about economics and politics. The Occupy Movement helped put it on the agenda, Thomas Piketty’s best-selling tome renewed intellectual interest in the subject and around the world average citizens say it should be a major priority.

Statistics on the gap between rich and poor around the world are stunning. Crédit Suisse says people with a net worth of more than $1 million represent just 0.7% of the global population, but they have 41% of the world’s wealth. Meanwhile, those with a net worth of less than $10,000 represent 69% of the population, but just 3% of global wealth. Read More

Topics: Economic Policy, Income Inequality, World Economies

Nov 7, 2014 4:25 pm

Employment, unemployment and underemployment: Different stories from the jobs numbers


Every month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases a flood of data about employment and unemployment in the previous month. And every month, the lion’s share of the attention goes to one figure — the unemployment rate — as an indicator of where the U.S. economy stands. Today, for instance, the BLS said unemployment last month fell to 5.8%, as 683,000 more people reported finding work, which sounds like good news.

But the unemployment rate isn’t the only, or even necessarily the best, indicator to come out of the monthly jobs report. Simply being out of work isn’t enough for a person to be counted as unemployed; he or she has to have been available to work and actively looking for work, or on temporary layoff. (As the BLS itself noted once upon a time, “Being employed is an observable experience, while being unemployed often lacks that same concreteness.”) In any given month, the unemployment rate can rise or fall depending on the interplay between how many people find or lose jobs and how many join or leave the active labor force. Read More

Topics: National Economy, Work and Employment

Nov 7, 2014 11:44 am

Why can’t we all get along? Challenges ahead for bipartisan cooperation

President Obama and soon-to-be Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell hold their first post-election meeting on Friday.
(Obama photo via AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin; McConnell via AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

President Obama today sits down with Republican leaders after their big Election Day victories handed them control of the Senate and more seats in the House. Both Obama and soon-to-be Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell expressed hope that the two parties would find a way to work together to get things done in Obama’s last two years.

Both leaders mentioned international trade deals, tax reform and budget policy as areas of potential agreement, but there remain big gaps between both parties on key issues that are higher on the list of the public’s concerns. And in addition to the partisan divide, Republicans, in particular, face sharp differences in their own ranks on several issues.

Here’s the lay of the land: Read More

Topics: Energy and Environment, Globalization and Trade, Health Care, Immigration, Political Attitudes and Values, Political Party Affiliation, Political Polarization, Political Typology, Taxes, Unauthorized Immigration

Nov 7, 2014 9:00 am

At APEC: Americans, Japanese are most skeptical that trade leads to more jobs

APEC nations views of tradePresident Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe meet in Beijing this weekend at the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum to promote free trade and economic integration. But, back home, they may have some explaining to do.

Among the 21 Pacific Rim leaders attending, they represent the publics that are most skeptical of the benefits of both trade and foreign investment, according to a Pew Research Center survey of 13 of the APEC nations. Read More

Topics: Globalization and Trade, International Governments and Institutions, World Economies

Nov 7, 2014 6:00 am

Inequality, joblessness are top threats in 2015, World Economic Forum experts say


Growing economic inequality, increasing joblessness, global pollution and severe weather events are among the world’s most pressing threats, according to a report released today by the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Councils, which surveyed 1,767 leaders from academia, business, government and non-profits. Read More

Topics: Income Inequality

Nov 6, 2014 9:30 am

The number of U.S. Catholics has grown, so why are there fewer parishes?

The recent decision by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York to effectively close dozens of churches in the coming months falls in line with a larger nationwide trend of Catholic parish closures.

The number of Catholic parishes is on the decline.The downsizing in New York was described by The New York Times as the largest reorganization in the diocese’s history. The archdiocese, which stretches from Staten Island, Manhattan and the Bronx through the seven suburban counties in the state that are immediately north of New York City, will merge 112 of its parishes into 55 new parishes.

In 1988, there were 19,705 parishes in the U.S., while there are now 17,483, according to the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University.

The current number of parishes is about equal to the number that existed in 1965, even as the number of self-identified U.S. Catholics has risen in the past half-century, from 48.5 million to 76.7 million between 1965 and 2014, according to CARA’s data.

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Topics: Catholics and Catholicism

Nov 6, 2014 7:00 am

East Germans now as satisfied with life as West Germans

Twenty five years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, views of East and West Germans are not seamless, but on the most basic of questions – life satisfaction – residents of the former German Democratic Republic express as much happiness with their lives as do West Germans. That is far different than the way things were back in the days immediately following the collapse of communism.

Life satisfaction in former Communist countries like East Germany has improved.

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Topics: Eastern Europe, Western Europe, World Economies