Republicans and Democrats have sharply different views about America’s role in the world and on some key questions – such as whether the U.S. is more or less respected than in the past — their opinions depend on whether their party controls the White House, according to a new Pew Research Center survey released this week.
About three-quarters (74%) of Republicans surveyed in November said the U.S. now plays a less important and powerful role as a world leader than 10 years ago —more than the overall public (53%) and far more than Democrats (33%).
The partisan gap on whether the U.S. is less respected in the world than in the past is smaller than the gap on the question about the U.S. as a world leader: Eight-in-ten Republicans hold that view compared to 56% of Democrats. But the survey shows a big shift in sentiment among Republicans and Democrats over the years depending on whose party held the White House. Read More →
When President Obama was elected in 2008, he reaped 66% of the vote among Millennials, and in his re-election campaign last year, he came away with 60% of their vote. Obama isn’t going to be running again, but a new survey of young Americans’ attitudes conducted by Harvard University’s Institute of Politics suggests that 18-to-29 year olds now have a more negative view of his presidency.
The survey, conducted Oct. 30-Nov. 11, finds that 54% of Millennials disapprove of Obama’s performance as president while 41% approve — an 11-point drop since Harvard’s April survey and the lowest approval rating for Obama among this group since he took office. (Harvard has conducted its surveys of young Americans 24 times since 2000).
The level of disapproval is about the same (56%) for younger Millennials ages 18 to 24 and older ones (53%), ages 25 to 29. But his ratings have fallen in every subgroup, the survey finds. His approval rating among college students is down 11 points since last spring to 39%; among young male voters 9 points; and, among young female voters 15 points.
Obama also suffered declines in approval numbers since last spring of 10 points among young white voters; 18 points among Hispanics; and 9 points among blacks. (However, his approval among blacks still stood at 75%).
While the fall-off in Millennial support has attracted attention because that group has been a key component of Obama’s constituency, it is important to note that Pew Research Center surveys over the same period as the Harvard polls show his losses among 18 to 29 year-olds are no greater than in any other age group. In the Harvard survey, the drop in Obama’s ratings tracked a decline in the number of young Americans who believe the country is heading in the right direction. Just 14% of those surveyed said the country was headed in the right direction, 49% said it was headed in the wrong direction and the remainder was unsure. This trend was particularly pronounced among 18 to 29 year-old women.
The survey also included findings on a range of issues, including mostly negative views on Obama’s health care law. As next year’s midterm elections approach, the survey found that younger Millennials, those under 24, were trending less Democratic. About 3-in-10 (31%) of this group identified with the Democrats, down from the 36% that did so in the last three surveys dating back to March 2012. A quarter of the younger Millennials identified with the Republicans. The share of older Millennials (25 to 29 year olds) remained fairly steady at 38% who identified with Democrats compared to 22% who sided with the GOP.
Congressional Democrats are pushing a bill that would gradually raise the federal minimum to $10.10/hour from $7.25 and index it to the Consumer Price Index. But the measure faces little chance of passing the Republican-led House, where many members argue that a higher minimum wage would lead businesses to cut jobs.
Meanwhile, states and cities are taking up the issue. On Tuesday, the Washington, D.C. City Council voted to raise the capital city’s minimum wage to $11.50/hour from $8.25 by 2016. Last month, New Jerseyans voted to raise their state’s minimum wage to $8.25/hour and index future increases to inflation. Massachusetts’ state Senate voted last month to raise its hourly minimum wage to $11.00 from $8.00. Read More →
Category: 5 Facts
Topics: Economics and Personal Finances
Promoting democracy abroad was cited as a top foreign policy priority by just 18% of Americans.
U.S. political leaders have long spoken of America’s democracy as pivotal to its role in the world, whether it was Woodrow Wilson declaring in 1917 that the U.S. must enter World War I to make the world “safe for democracy,” or George W. Bush saying, on his re-election in 2004, that “It is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture.”
But promoting democracy in other nations in recent decades has not been a top priority for the American public. A new Pew Research Center survey on “America’s Place in the World” found that just 18% of those surveyed cited this as a top foreign policy objective, putting it at the bottom of a list of priorities. Since 1993, the share of Americans saying promotion of democracy was a top priority has never topped 29%.
Just under three-in-ten (27%) Democrats saw promoting democracy abroad as a priority, with much less support coming from Republicans (16%) and independents (13%).
Category: Daily Number
A dozen years after 9/11 and the start of the war in Afghanistan, the public has mixed opinions about whether certain policies have made the U.S. safer from terrorism.
A new survey of the general public — as part of the quadrennial America’s Place in the World survey conducted Oct. 30-Nov. 6 — asked whether government surveillance programs, the use of military drones and the war in Afghanistan have made the country safer.
Of these three issues, Americans are most in agreement when it comes to military drones that target extremists in Pakistan and elsewhere. Among those we surveyed about these anti-terrorism policies, half say the policy has made the U.S. safer. Just 14% believe drones have made the U.S. less safe and 27% say they have not made a difference.
This balance of opinion is largely consistent across partisan lines—55% of Republicans and 49% of Democrats say the program has made the country safer. Women are more skeptical than men about the impacts, with 57% of men saying this, compared with only 43% of women. (Internationally, however, the drone program is widely unpopular; at least half of the public disapproved in 31 of 39 nations surveyed this spring by the Pew Research Center.) Read More →
Topics: National Security
There are nearly 591 million internet users in China.
China has more internet users than nearly all other countries have people. (The lone exception is India.) According to the latest semiannual report from the official China Internet Network Information Center, 590.56 million people in China were using the internet at mid-2013, an increase of nearly 53 million (or 9.85%) from a year earlier. By comparison, the U.S. has the second-most internet users — 254 million, according to the Harvard Business Review, but that’s less than half as many as China.
Internet penetration in China continues to rise, but is still just 44.1%, according to the center’s report; a year earlier it was 39.9%. By contrast, according to the Pew Research Center, almost everyone in the U.S. who wants to be online already is: 85% of Americans ages 18 and older (and 95% of teens) use the internet or email, and only 8% of those who don’t say they’re interested in starting.
The center, which manages the .cn top-level domain and allocates domestic IP addresses, also reported that 78.5% of China’s internet users, or 464 million people, access it via their mobile phones (including 70% of new users). By contrast, 69.5% of Chinese users used desktops, down from 70.6% at the end of 2012.
Category: Daily Number
Vice President Joseph Biden is in Asia on a trip that will take him to Japan, South Korea and China for high-level meetings that come at a time when tensions have ratcheted up in the region over China’s decision to declare an air defense zone over disputed islands – just one of the issues underlying the unease among the three countries.
A key goal of Biden’s trip, in addition to trying to defuse the tensions, will be to make clear, especially to America’s Japanese and Korean allies, the Obama administration’s strategy in East Asia – once described as a “pivot” of U.S. attention away from the Middle East to their part of the world, and now referred to by officials as a “rebalancing.” Read More →
What happens to your digital life after you die? It’s a question not many consider given how embedded the internet is in their lives. The typical web user has 25 online accounts, ranging from email to social media profiles and bank accounts, according to a 2007 study from Microsoft. But families, companies and legislators are just starting to sort out who owns and has access to these accounts after someone has died.
The issue came up recently in Virginia, when a couple, seeking answers after their son’s suicide, realized they couldn’t access his Facebook account. Now Virginia is one of a growing number of states that have passed laws governing the digital accounts of the deceased. Meanwhile, technology companies are forming their own policies regarding deceased users. While still in the early stages, the laws and policies taking shape so far indicate that designating one’s “digital assets” may soon become a critical part of estate planning.
The implications are widespread, considering that today nearly all American adults are online and 72% of them, along with 81% of teenagers, use social media sites. In the digital world, posting photos, drafting emails or making purchases are activities that don’t solely belong to users. They belong, in part, to companies like Facebook and Google that store information on their servers. In order to access these convenient online tools, users enter into agreements when they click on — but often don’t read — terms-of-service agreements. Read More →
Topics: Future of the Internet
That number surprised some and became part of policy discussion on Capitol Hill about broadband adoption issues.
Here are some lesser-known things that we found when exploring offline Americans and their lives:
2 Notable numbers of them live in homes with internet connections: 23% of offline adults live in a household where someone else uses the internet at home, a proportion that has remained relatively steady for over a decade.
3 A share of them used to be online, but have since dropped off: 14% of offline adults say that they once used to use the internet, but have since stopped for some reason.
4 Age is one of the strongest factors related to non-internet use, followed by education and income. Over half of seniors who did not attend college or live in households earning less than $50,000 per year are offline.
5 A share of non-internet users live in cities: among urban residents, 14% are offline.
6 A rising share of them cite “usability” issues as their main barrier: 32% now say they don’t use the internet because they say it is not easy for them to use. These non-users say it is difficult or frustrating to go online, they are physically unable, or they are worried about other issues such as spam, spyware and hackers. This figure is considerably higher than in earlier surveys. In 2009 when we asked that same question, only 12% of offline Americans cited usability issues as a reason for not being online.
7 Most of them say they would need help going online: 63% of offline Americans say they would need someone to help them go online if they choose to use the internet in the future.
NOTE: A previous version of this post said “14% of offline Americans are urban residents.” The corrected version says “among urban residents, 14% are offline.”
In honor of Thanksgiving, here are five facts about the big bird at the center of the table.
1 Turkeys are getting bigger.
As recently as 1980, the typical U.S. domesticated turkey weighed less than 19 pounds at slaughter — not much bigger than its wild cousin. But modern methods of poultry farming enable turkeys to put on more weight more quickly: The average turkey slaughtered last year weighed 29.8 pounds, more than twice the average weight 75 years ago, according to data from the National Agricultural Statistics Service. The result: Turkey farmers can produce more meat (nearly 5.8 billion pounds this year) from fewer birds (a projected 242 million).
2 Minnesota and North Carolina are the nation’s leading turkey-growing states, last year producing 46 million and 36 million birds respectively, according to the Agriculture Department. This year, the 13 biggest turkey states are expected to collectively produce more than 85% of the nation’s birds.
Category: 5 Facts