Jan 31, 2014 4:21 pm

More than half of Americans look forward to Super Bowl XLVIII


A majority of Americans were looking forward to this year’s Super Bowl when asked in early January.

Super Bowl fans are heading into New Jersey on Sunday, where the championship game will be played outdoors in a cold-weather city for the first time. Whether it’s the TV ads, the halftime show or the athletic competition itself, the National Football League plans Sunday to draw a big audience.

A majority (55%) of Americans said they were looking forward to the Super Bowl this year, according to a Pew Research survey from early January. That number is similar to the share of Americans looking forward to the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi (58%) and greater than the number looking forward to soccer’s World Cup tournament in Brazil this summer (22%).FT_GenderSB131

A significantly greater share of men than women said they were looking forward to the Super Bowl (65% vs. 45%), as well as the World Cup (28% vs. 17%). However, no such gender difference existed between those looking forward to the Winter Olympics (55% of men, 60% of women).

Last year’s Super Bowl drew an average TV audience of 108.7 million viewers to CBS and prompted some 26.1 million tweets, according to Nielsen. While there were more viewers in 2012 and 2011, the number of Super Bowl watchers in general has steadily increased since Super Bowl I in 1967.

Category: Daily Number

Jan 31, 2014 11:35 am

Chart of the Week: 63 years of global climate change

Many natural processes, from evolution to continental drift, happen so slowly that it took humans millennia to realize they were happening at all. By those standards, the global climate is changing quite rapidly — the average global temperature has risen about 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit since 1880, according to NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. But people remain more focused on short-term weather events, which affect their lives immediately, than long-run climate trends.

But load more than six decades’ worth of temperature data into a 15-second visualization, as NASA has done with this short video, and the change becomes apparent. Reds and yellows show temperatures warmer than the mid-20th century baseline; light and dark blues indicate cooler than average temperatures.

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Category: Chart of the Week

Topics: Energy and Environment

Jan 31, 2014 11:06 am

Data Feed: Hispanics and the American Dream, earned-income credit by county, Islamic banking

A daily roundup of fresh data from scholars, governments, think tanks, pollsters and other social science researchers.

55% of Americans dissatisfied with gun laws — highest since 2001, Gallup
Wyoming residents most conservative, D.C. most liberal, Gallup
Christie loses ground among Florida Republicans, Quinnipiac
People more likely to vote if they’ll be asked about it later, NBER
Real-time tool to track campaign finances, Sunlight Foundation

Rhode Island had highest jobless rate (9.1%) in December, Bureau of Labor Statistics
The future of the U.S. job market, BLS (via C-SPAN)
Map: The earned income tax credit in your county, Brookings
Interactive: The War on Poverty in the states, 1959-2012, The Pew Charitable Trusts
What made the U.S. economy grow in 2013? Quartz
Why the homeownership rate is misleading, The New York Times
Charts: Putting U.S. economic growth in perspective, The Wall Street Journal
People who join work force in recessions happier in their jobs, Harvard Business Review

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Category: Data Feed

Jan 31, 2014 9:33 am

Countdown to Sochi Olympics: What the world thinks of Russia

FT_Russia_ImageThe eyes of the world will be turned toward Russia in the coming weeks as the XXII Winter Olympics begin in Sochi. While the attention has not always been flattering, and there are continued worries about potential terrorist attacks, many in Russia hope that the Olympics will showcase their country’s prosperity. But when it comes to global public opinion toward Russia, much of the world has unfavorable or mixed views, according to our spring 2013 Global Attitudes survey.

People in only nine of 38 countries surveyed say they have a positive view of Russia — and among those, in only two of them do half or more of the population have a favorable opinion. Coincidentally, the most positive views of Russia hail from the birthplace of both the ancient and modern Olympic games, Greece (63% favorable). Russia also gets moderately positive views from close neighbors South Korea (53%) and China (49%).

In 12 of the 38 countries, views of Russia are mixed. In Canada, one of the strongest perennial contenders for Winter Olympic gold and the most recent host of the games, 42% have a favorable view of Russia and 39% have an unfavorable opinion. In the U.S., another strong medal competitor, only 37% see Russia in a favorable light while 43% express a negative opinion.

In the remaining 17 countries, opinions toward Russia are decidedly negative, especially in Europe and the Middle East. In Europe, negative views are shared by 64% of the French, 60% of Germans, 56% of Italians, 54% of Poles, and 51% among Czechs and the Spanish. Among Middle Eastern publics, opinions are even worse, with seven-in-ten or more in Israel (77%) and Jordan (70%) holding a negative opinion of Russia.

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Topics: Country Image

Jan 30, 2014 12:39 pm

Views of health care law among uninsured Americans turn more negative


The share of Americans without insurance who have an unfavorable view of the health care law outnumber those with positive views by almost two-to-one.

The overall public’s view of the health care law has continued to be negative since the initial October rollout (this month, 50% see it unfavorably and 34% favorably), but views have turned more negative among the key target group—those who are uninsured, according to a Kaiser Health Tracking poll conducted Jan. 14-21.

Among the uninsured, 47% express an unfavorable view of the law compared with 24% who regard it positively. That represents a negative shift since December when views were more divided, with 43% seeing the law unfavorably and 36% seeing it favorably.


While many of the uninsured may have a negative view of the law, Kaiser also found that 73% of them see coverage as something they need and 50% say they plan to obtain it. Four-in-ten say they expect to remain uninsured, with most citing the cost of coverage plans as a reason.

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Category: Daily Number

Topics: Health Care

Jan 30, 2014 12:00 pm

Asian Americans split on whether U.S. immigration system works or needs a major overhaul

FT_AAreformNext to Latinos, the Asian-American community is the second-largest demographic group likely to be impacted by the expected changes in the nation’s immigration policy.  President Obama and Democrats in Congress are pushing for reform this year, and Republicans are expected to offer specific proposals in the coming weeks.

Asian Americans comprised five percent of the U.S. population in 2012. The largest Asian origin groups are Chinese (24%), Indian (20%) and Filipino (18%). Eight-in-ten (79%) of the nation’s 12.2 million Asian-American adults are foreign born, a share greater than that among Hispanic adults (50%). Asian Americans also make up a larger share than Hispanics of new immigrants arriving in the U.S., making the topic of immigration reform an important one to the Asian-American community.

When it comes to evaluations of how well the current U.S. immigration system is working, Asian Americans are split. 45% say the system “works pretty well and requires only minor changes” while 47% say the system “needs to be completely rebuilt” or “needs major changes,” according to a recent survey of Asian-American adults from the Pew Research Center.  Read More

Topics: Asian Americans, Immigration

Jan 30, 2014 11:43 am

Data Feed: Hillary Clinton leads, GDP up 3.2%, uninsured don’t like ACA

A daily roundup of fresh data from scholars, governments, think tanks, pollsters and other social science researchers.

Clinton has wide lead among Dems; GOP race wide open, ABC News/ Washington Post
Clinton alone in New Hampshire, no GOP frontrunner, University of New Hampshire
On Twitter, more criticism than praise for SOTU, Pew Research Center
How Obama’s State of the Union messages were received, The Wall Street Journal
New words and old words: Forty years of evolving SOTU themes, The Washington Post
SOTU ratings: Lowest – Fox won cable views, say early data, Bloomberg
Obama’s job approval up in California; two-thirds favor assault-weapon ban, PPIC
Fed Chairman Bernanke leaves with mixed verdict, Gallup
Charlie Crist tops Rick Scott in Florida gubernatorial race, Quinnipiac
Americans don’t trust government when their party’s out of power, The Washington Post
A history of executive orders in one chart, Christopher Ingraham

First read on 4th-quarter GDP growth: up 3.2%, Bureau of Economic Analysis
Which metros would be most affected by a $10.10 minimum wage, The Atlantic Cities
Why Detroit’s collapse was so much worse than other hard-hit cities, The Atlantic Cities
Defense, homeland security drive growth in federal workforce, GAO
The Polar Vortex has made you more productive, Harvard Business Review

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Category: Data Feed

Jan 30, 2014 6:00 am

On Twitter, criticism exceeds praise for Obama’s speech

During and immediately after the State of the Union address, the overall reaction on Twitter was more negative than positive and virtually the same as last year’s verdict. The Pew Research Center used a combination of computer algorithms and human coding to analyze the reaction on Twitter in terms of the topics discussed as well as the sentiment expressed.FT_14.01.29_SOTUtwitter_favor_310

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Topics: Barack Obama, Politics Online, Social Media

Jan 29, 2014 4:02 pm

Public sees GOP as less willing than Democrats to reach across the aisle

25 points

The public sees Democrats as more willing than Republicans to work with leaders from the other party by a 25-point margin.

1-25-2014_07House Republicans are to begin a three-day retreat Wednesday on Maryland’s eastern shore to regroup after a contentious year where the standing of the caucus’ leaders suffered (a 22% job approval rating) as they struggled with the party’s more conservative Tea Party wing. They hope at this meeting to emerge with an immigration proposal and strategies to present the party in a more positive light.

One public perception faced by the Republican Party in general is that it is less willing than Democrats to work with leaders from the other party. Americans say by a margin of 52% to 27%—a difference of 25 points—that Democrats are more likely to show such willingness than Republicans, according to a survey conducted in mid-January.

The survey also found that the public, by a 54% to 35% margin, views the GOP as more extreme in its positions.

While the share of Americans who say they like elected officials who make compromises with people they disagree with has risen in recent years, the public is still divided on the question, with 49% saying in January they prefer officials who compromise while 48% liked officials who stuck to their positions. And, surveys have shown that when the question of compromise is asked about a specific issue—such as a deal to end last October’s government shutdown—support drops for giving ground.

Republicans fare better when matched with Democrats on a number of other traits. The public thinks the GOP could do a better job than Democrats in handling the budget deficit by a 45% to 35% margin; they are about even (42% to 38%) on the economy, and they also run evenly with the Democrats on immigration (38% to 39%).

Category: Daily Number

Topics: U.S. Political Parties

Jan 29, 2014 1:49 pm

New academic study links rising income inequality to ‘assortative mating’

Bride and groom holding hands
© Dejan Ristovski / istockphoto

Here’s another reason the rich are getting richer and the poor are falling farther behind:  A new working paper by an international team of economists finds that better educated people are increasingly more likely to marry other better-educated people while those with less formal schooling are more likely to choose a less well-educated partner.

As a consequence, income inequality has increased because education is strongly correlated with income—the more schooling you have, the more money you typically earn, according to a team of economists headed by Jeremy Greenwood of the University of Pennsylvania.

Economists call the tendency of people with similar characteristics to marry “assortative mating.” For their study, Greenwood and his team tracked patterns in marriages grouped by education level from 1960 through 2005 using U.S. Census data.

Their analysis identified three distinct trends.  Consistent with previous research, they found that “the degree of associative mating [by education level] had increased” over that time period, according to the working paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research. (For a detailed look at marriage patterns of couples, see this Pew Research report.)  Read More

Category: Social Studies

Topics: Educational Attainment, Income, Income Inequality, Marriage and Divorce