Jun 27, 2017 7:02 am

People’s views of their national economies don’t always square with data

Many Europeans, Japanese and Americans feel better today about their nations’ economies than they did before the 2008 financial crisis, according to a new global survey by Pew Research Center. In most countries surveyed, perceptions of the economy broadly track actual performance – but that’s not always the case.

We compared the public assessment of national economic conditions in 38 countries surveyed this spring with two common measures of economic health: real gross domestic product (GDP) per capita and unemployment. Our analysis found a modest relationship at best between those indicators and how people rated their nation’s economy, with plenty of outliers in both directions.

For example, Greece and South Africa both had similarly high levels of unemployment in 2016: 23.9% and 25.9% respectively, according to modeled International Labour Organization estimates (which are weighted annual averages, harmonized to account for the different ways nations measure their own unemployment, and obtained from the World Bank). Yet 45% of South Africans termed their country’s economy good in the Center’s survey, compared with just 2% of Greeks.

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Topics: National Economy, World Economies

Jun 26, 2017 7:55 pm

Around the world, favorability of the U.S. and confidence in its president decline

Global views of the U.S. and its president have shifted dramatically downward since the end of Barack Obama’s presidency and the start of Donald Trump’s, and they are now at similar levels to ratings from the George W. Bush era, according to a new Pew Research Center report that examines attitudes in 37 countries.

Build your own charts to see U.S. favorability and confidence in the U.S. president from 2002 to 2017.

Since the Center started tracking global opinions of the U.S. and its president in 2002, these views have risen and fallen dramatically. You can explore the arcs of U.S. favorability ratings in countries around the world by using this interactive chart builder. (Although the Center doesn’t conduct surveys in every country every year, patterns over time should be clear.)

Here’s a quick global tour highlighting trends in U.S. favorability and confidence in the U.S. president:

1Mexico and Canada have lost confidence in the U.S. president. In the United States’ southern and northern neighbors, confidence has fluctuated over the past three presidencies but declined most sharply this year. Just 22% of Canadians and 5% of Mexicans have at least some confidence in the U.S. president, down from more than eight-in-ten Canadians (83%) in 2016 and half of Mexicans (49%) in 2015. While Canadians generally have indicated greater confidence in U.S. presidents than Mexicans have, current Trump confidence levels are lower than both countries’ Bush-era lows.

These countries have generally maintained fairly steady levels of U.S. favorability over the past 15 years, yet they both show a sharp drop in U.S. favorability since Trump took office. Three-in-ten Mexicans have a very or somewhat favorable view of the U.S., down from two-thirds (66%) in 2015. About four-in-ten Canadians have favorable views of the U.S. (43%), down from 68% in 2015.

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Topics: Asia and the Pacific, Europe, U.S. Global Image and Anti-Americanism, U.S. Political Figures, Middle East and North Africa, Donald Trump

Jun 26, 2017 11:09 am

Among U.S. gun owners, parents more likely than non-parents to keep their guns locked and unloaded

Gun owners with children younger than 18 in the household are more likely than those who aren’t parents to say they keep all their guns locked and unloaded while they’re at home, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. Even so, 44% of gun-owning parents say there is a gun that is both loaded and easily accessible to them all or most of the time when they’re at home.

Among gun-owning parents with children in their household, 54% say all of the guns in their home are kept in a locked place and 53% say they are all kept unloaded. By comparison, 30% of gun owners who are not parents say all their guns are locked and 40% say they are unloaded, according to the survey conducted in March and April among 3,930 U.S. adults, including 1,269 gun owners.

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Topics: Family and Relationships, Parenthood, Household and Family Structure, Gun Policy

Jun 26, 2017 9:30 am

5 facts about same-sex marriage

Partners Kevin Foster (right) and Joey Thibodeaux place wedding bands on each other’s fingers during their same-sex wedding ceremony in Florida. (AP Photo/Alex Menendez)
Partners Kevin Foster (right) and Joey Thibodeaux place wedding bands on each other’s fingers during their same-sex wedding ceremony in Florida. (AP Photo/Alex Menendez)

On June 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling that granted same-sex couples a constitutional right to marry. The 5-4 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges legalized gay marriage nationwide, including in the 14 states that did not previously allow gays and lesbians to wed. The decision rested in part on the court’s interpretation of the 14th Amendment; the justices ruled that limiting marriage only to heterosexual couples violates the amendment’s guarantee of equal protection under the law.

Here are five key facts about same-sex marriage:

1Public support for same-sex marriage has grown rapidly over the past decade. In 2007, Americans opposed legalizing same-sex marriage by a margin of 54% to 37%. A new Pew Research Center survey finds that by roughly two-to-one, more Americans support (62%) than oppose (32%) allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally.

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Category: 5 Facts

Topics: Lifestyle, Supreme Court, Gay Marriage and Homosexuality

Jun 23, 2017 4:00 pm

Public support for ‘single payer’ health coverage grows, driven by Democrats

A majority of Americans say it is the federal government’s responsibility to make sure all Americans have health care coverage. And a growing share now supports a “single payer” approach to health insurance, according to a new national survey by Pew Research Center.

Currently, 60% say the federal government is responsible for ensuring health care coverage for all Americans, while 39% say this is not the government’s responsibility. These views are unchanged from January, but the share saying health coverage is a government responsibility remains at its highest level in nearly a decade.

Among those who see a government responsibility to provide health coverage for all, more now say it should be provided through a single health insurance system run by the government, rather than through a mix of private companies and government programs. Overall, 33% of the public now favors such a “single payer” approach to health insurance, up 5 percentage points since January and 12 points since 2014. Democrats – especially liberal Democrats – are much more supportive of this approach than they were even at the start of this year.  Read More

Topics: Health Care, Political Party Affiliation, Federal Government, Political Issue Priorities, Political Polarization

Jun 23, 2017 7:01 am

Bipartisan support for some gun proposals, stark partisan divisions on many others

Republicans and Democrats find rare common ground on some gun policy proposals in the U.S. Large majorities in both parties continue to favor preventing people with mental illnesses from buying guns, barring gun purchases by people on federal no-fly or watch lists, and background checks for private gun sales and sales at gun shows.

Yet there are sharp partisan differences on several other issues – particularly on whether to let people carry concealed guns in more places and to allow teachers and officials to carry guns in K-12 schools, a new Pew Research Center survey has found.

And Republicans and Democrats have stark, fundamental differences on questions relating to the causes of gun violence – and even whether gun violence is a serious problem in the country.

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Topics: U.S. Political Parties, Domestic Affairs and Policy, Political Party Affiliation, Gun Policy, Political Polarization

Jun 22, 2017 12:02 pm

Key takeaways on Americans’ views of guns and gun ownership

Americans have a deep history and a complex relationship with guns. A point of pride for some and a source of fear for others, guns continue to ignite sharp debates in our society.

About four-in-ten Americans say they either own a gun themselves or live in a household with guns, and 48% say they grew up in a household with guns, according to a new Pew Research Center study. At least two-thirds of adults say they’ve lived in a household with a gun at some point in their lives. And roughly seven-in-ten – including 55% of those who have never personally owned a gun – say they have fired a gun at some point.

While gun owners and non-owners have significant differences in views about gun policy, they agree in some areas. For example, large majorities of both groups favor restricting access to guns for individuals with mental illnesses and those who are on federal no-fly or watch lists. Gun owners themselves have diverse views on gun policy, driven in large part by party identification.

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Topics: Household and Family Structure, Social Values, Political Issue Priorities, Gun Policy, Violence and Society

Jun 21, 2017 2:02 pm

Millennials are the most likely generation of Americans to use public libraries

(Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
(Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Millennials in America are more likely to have visited a public library in the past year than any other adult generation.

A new analysis of Pew Research Center survey data from fall 2016 finds that 53% of Millennials (those ages 18 to 35 at the time) say they used a library or bookmobile in the previous 12 months. That compares with 45% of Gen Xers, 43% of Baby Boomers and 36% of those in the Silent Generation. (It is worth noting that the question wording specifically focused on use of public libraries, not on-campus academic libraries.)

All told, 46% of adults ages 18 and older say they used a public library or bookmobile in the previous 12 months – a share that is broadly consistent with Pew Research Center findings in recent years.

Members of the youngest adult generation are also more likely than their elders to have used library websites. About four-in-ten Millennials (41%) used a library website in the past 12 months, compared with 24% of Boomers. In all, 31% of adults used a library website in the past 12 months, which is similar to the percentage that reported using library websites in late 2015.

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Topics: Generations and Age, Technology Adoption, Libraries, Millennials

Jun 21, 2017 7:00 am

4 charts on how Russians see their country’s place in the world

The Russian public feels confident about their country’s global standing, according to a new Pew Research Center survey, even as signs of discontent emerge at home. Here are four key findings about how Russians see their nation’s place in the world:

1A majority of Russians believe their country is playing a more important role in the world today than it did a decade ago. Other publics with a sense of growing global importance include China and India. In a spring 2016 survey, three-quarters of Chinese and 68% of Indians said their country is more influential compared with a decade ago. Such confidence contrasts with European views, where a median of just 23% across 10 European Union nations felt their country’s global influence was on the rise in 2016.

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Topics: Europe, Non-U.S. Political Leaders, Global Balance of Power, Russia

Jun 20, 2017 9:33 am

Few mode effects found when Americans are asked about their news consumption habits

When asked about their news consumption habits and their views of the media in general, Americans give similar answers regardless of whether they are surveyed by phone or online, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of new data from a 2017 study and findings from a 2014 surveyJust one question with very general response options – how much people followed news – did not follow this pattern, yielding a noticeably higher news consumption estimate in phone surveys than web surveys.

The new analysis sheds light on concerns raised among pollsters that the medium by which a survey question is asked – its mode – can affect responses. (In this case, a telephone survey with an interviewer was compared with a self-administered survey on the web.) Under a phenomenon known as “social desirability bias,” some respondents might be inclined to give more honest answers online than they would on the phone because online surveys do not involve a human interviewer and therefore are inherently more private.

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Topics: Research Methods, Telephone Survey Methods, Web Survey Methods