On Thursday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will meet with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, as the Obama administration considers a proposal by Russian President Vladimir Putin for the eventual disarmament of Syria. Two Pew Research Center polls conducted in 2012 suggest the American public is skeptical about the nation at the center of the latest developments in the Syria situation.
The average gap between the proportion of men and women who use social media
For many Americans, posting a status update or commenting on a photo has become a ubiquitous part of their daily routine. It is easy to forget just how quickly social media usage has grown. Five years ago, just 29% of online adults used social networking sites. Today, that figure has more than doubled to 72%.
Category: Daily Number
A recall campaign in Colorado led by gun-control opponents succeeded Tuesday in ousting two Democratic state senators — one of them the president of the state Senate. The hard-fought election, which attracted money and attention from across the country, became a symbol of the nation’s continuing divisions over gun control versus Second Amendment rights.
Those divisions are exceptionally close, and have been since 2009, according to a series of surveys by the Pew Research Center. For many years beforehand, clear majorities of Americans had said it was more important to control gun ownership than to protect the rights of gun owners. But the gap between those two positions narrowed sharply in 2009 and has largely remained that way: In the 12 times we’ve asked the question since April of that year, only twice (in the wake of the school shootings in Newtown, Conn.) has the difference between the gun-rights and gun-control positions exceeded five percentage points. In the most recent survey, from May, 50% said gun control was more important and 48% said protecting gun rights was. Read More →
Topics: Gun Control
A federal judge ruled this week that the clothing company Abercrombie & Fitch wrongly fired a Muslim employee in San Mateo, Calif., for wearing a headscarf. The retailer said the look of its employees is part of its marketing strategy, but, according to the Associated Press, the judge found no “credible evidence” that the employee’s headscarf affected sales.
The company said it does not discriminate based on religion. Abercrombie has been the target of discrimination suits in the past, brought by black, Hispanic and Asian employees and job applicants.
About six-in-ten Muslim American women (59%) say they wear the headcover (or hijab) at least some of the time, including 36% who say they wear it whenever they are in public, according to a 2011 Pew Research Center survey. Read More →
Amount the U.S. intelligence community proposed to spend on counter-terrorism in fiscal 2013.
Last month, The Washington Post published details of the nation’s top-secret intelligence budget, based on documents provided by former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden. The documents show that, for the current fiscal year that ends Sept. 30, the intelligence community requested a total of $52.6 billion, with $16.6 billion (31.6%) of that designated for counter-terrorism efforts. In fiscal year 2012, the United States spent $17.25 billion on counter-terrorism.
Since the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, the United States has spent more than $500 billion on intelligence, according to The Post. The 2013 budget request was about twice the size of the estimated 2001 budget (in constant dollars), the paper said.
In terms of money spent, monitoring and disrupting violent extremists and suspected terrorist groups is the intelligence community’s second-biggest mission objective, after warning U.S. leaders about economic instability, societal unrest and other critical events around the world (which takes about $20 billion). Other priorities include preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction, protecting U.S. computer networks and defending against foreign espionage.
Category: Daily Number
The presidency may well be a “bully pulpit,” in Theodore Roosevelt’s original sense, a position that commands attention. But as President Barack Obama prepares to address the nation Tuesday in support of taking military action against Syria, there’s little evidence (at least in recent times) that presidential speeches are very effective at moving the needle on public opinion or rallying popular support against a balky Congress.
This past weekend marked the 39th anniversary of the passage of Pakistan’s second constitutional amendment, which defines the country’s Ahmadi community as non-Muslim. Ahmadis, a minority group who see themselves as an Islamic sect, revere their founder, Mirza Ghulam Ahmed, as a kind of prophet – a controversial view because he came after Muhammad, whom Sunni Muslims consider the final prophet. Sunnis form the majority of Pakistan’s population, and in recent years, there have been numerous incidents of violence against the Ahmadi community in Pakistan. In 2011, Pakistan earned the highest possible score on Pew Research Center’s social hostilities involving religion index.
To mark the anniversary, several anti-Ahmadi organizations in Pakistan held conferences on Saturday night where speakers called for renewed efforts to isolate Ahmadis from public life, including banning them from working in government or military jobs. Ahmadi organizations such as Jamaat-i-Ahmadiyya advised their members to stay away from public places.
Two-in-three Pakistani Muslims say Ahmadis are not Muslims, according to a Pew Research poll conducted in November 2011. Just 7% accept Ahmadis as fellow Muslims, while 26% do not offer a response or say they don’t know.
The poll also found that a majority of Pakistani Muslims support the country’s blasphemy laws, which predate Pakistan’s independence in 1947 but have since been expanded. The laws, which carry a potential death sentence for insulting Islam, have been frequently invoked against Ahmadis and other religious minorities in Pakistan; although formal criminal prosecutions are rare, social discrimination and harassment of Ahmadis is widespread. Fully 75% of Pakistani Muslims say blasphemy laws are necessary to protect Islam in their country, while 6% say blasphemy laws unfairly target minority communities, and 19% express no opinion on the issue.
Decline in the average selling price of smartphones over past two years.
The ever-increasing ubiquity of smartphones, in both developed and emerging markets, is driving prices for the devices lower and lower, according to technology market-research firm International Data Corp.
The average selling price worldwide for smartphones has fallen from $443 just two years ago to $372 this year, according to IDC. The company projects that by 2017, smartphones will sell for an average $307, driven by customers in emerging markets who are gravitating to 3G and older phones; already IDC expects the average selling price of smartphones in India to fall below $200 by the end of this year. Read More →
Category: Daily Number
Topics: Mobile Devices
The American and French publics, who a decade ago bitterly disagreed over the U.S. invasion of Iraq, now see eye-to-eye on the looming military strike against Syria because of its alleged use of chemical weapons against its own people. In principle they both think there are times when it is necessary to use military force in the pursuit of justice. They both favor United Nations support for any Syrian intervention. But contrary to the plans of U.S. President Barack Obama and French Present Francois Hollande, who appear poised to be allies in an attack on Syria, both the French and American publics would prefer that their countries just sit this one out. Read More →
Some may find it ironic that after a lengthy hiatus, Jon Stewart returned to host “The Daily Show” just days before the Sept. 9 re-launch of CNN’s “Crossfire.” During a memorable October 2004 appearance on “Crossfire,” Stewart said the show’s liberal-vs.-conservative argument format was “hurting America” and accused the hosts of failing to live up to their “responsibility to the public discourse.” Two months later, CNN president Jonathan Klein cancelled the 23-year-old show, saying he agreed “wholeheartedly” with Stewart’s assessment.
Now, under new CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker, “Crossfire” is back at 6:30 p.m., injecting more opinion-driven programming into an evening cable news landscape that, according to a Pew Research Center analysis, is already chock full of ideology and commentary. The ideological combatants on the new “Crossfire” include a conservative team of former House Speaker and presidential candidate Newt Gingrich and columnist and commentator S.E. Cupp. Their liberal opponents are Stephanie Cutter, a former deputy campaign manager for President Obama, and Van Jones, the former special advisor for green jobs in the Obama White House. All of them have made numerous appearances as cable pundits. Read More →
Topics: News Content Analysis