Dec 7, 2015 10:16 am

As more money flows into campaigns, Americans worry about its influence

FT_15.12.03_campaignFinance_concernAmericans of different political persuasions may not agree on much, but one thing they do agree on is that money has a greater – and mostly negative – influence on politics than ever before. Among liberals and conservatives, Republicans and Democrats, large majorities favor limits on campaign spending and say the high cost of campaigning discourages many good candidates from running for president.

While perceptions of influence are subjective, there’s clearly more money in the U.S. political system now than at any time since the campaign finance reforms of the 1970s, according to a new Pew Research Center data analysis of contributions and spending. That’s the case whether you look at presidential, House or Senate elections. Read More

Topics: 2016 Election, Elections and Campaigns

Dec 4, 2015 12:28 pm

How Pew Research Center studied the Washington press corps

Jesse Holcomb
Jesse Holcomb, Associate Director of Research, Pew Research Center

The news industry has been particularly vulnerable to the disruptions of the digital age and the same is true for one of its most visible components – the Washington press corps. Pew Research Center first studied the changes starting to take place in Washington-based journalism in a 2009 report. Now, a new report provides an update on just how much has changed since then. The new analysis also takes a close look at coverage of Washington by reporters at daily newspapers for their communities back home.

Jesse Holcomb, associate director of research at the Center, explains how the new report was put together.

This report brings together multiple sources of data to show how journalism in and about Washington has changed in recent years. How did you decide what to use?  

There’s no single definitive database that accounts for every journalist or news organization based in Washington, D.C. But there are a number of data sources – accreditation lists, directories and association memberships – that, when examined together, offer robust data on the mix of reporters here and how those numbers have changed over time. Read More

Topics: Federal Government, News Media Sectors, News Sources, Newspapers, Research Methods

Dec 4, 2015 10:00 am

The link between a college education and a lasting marriage

College-educated women are more likely to have long-lasting marriagesAbout half of first marriages in the U.S. are likely to survive at least 20 years, according to government estimates. But for one demographic group, marriages last longer than most: College-educated women have an almost eight-in-ten chance of still being married after two decades.

Researchers at the National Center for Health Statistics estimate that 78% of college-educated women who married for the first time between 2006 and 2010 could expect their marriages to last at least 20 years. But among women who have a high school education or less, the share is only 40%.

The probability of a lasting first marriage is derived from marital history data from the National Survey of Family Growth, a nationally representative sample of women and men who were ages 15 to 44 between 2006 and 2010. Estimates are based on an approach similar to that used to determine life expectancy and assume that marriage patterns in the future will follow patterns today. The findings refer only to opposite-sex marriages; the sample size was too small to analyze same-sex marriages. Read More

Topics: Educational Attainment, Marriage and Divorce, Race and Ethnicity

Dec 3, 2015 1:55 pm

5 key takeaways about today’s Washington press corps

The face of the Washington press corps has changed markedly in recent years, transformed by an increase in the number of journalists working for “niche” publications and digital startups, while the ranks of reporters working for general interest local newspapers have continued to decline. A new Pew Research Center report – updating findings from a 2009 study of the Washington press corps – tracks the changes and explores the implications for local communities.

Here are five key takeaways from the report:

1Credentialed reporters working for trade publications, specialty outlets and other niche news sources now outnumber daily newspaper reporters, according to the U.S. Senate Press Gallery. As recently as the late 1990s, daily newspaper staff outnumbered specialty journalists by more than two to one.

2There has been a sharp increase in the number of journalists working for digital news startups. In 2009, fewer than three dozen journalists working for digital-native outlets were accredited to the Press Gallery. By 2014, the most recent year for which data are available, that number had risen to more than 130 – about a fourfold increase. This group of reporters is roughly split between those working for broad-interest publications such as The Huffington Post or Buzzfeed, and those working for niche outlets such as Kaiser Health News or Inside Higher Ed. Read More

Topics: Digital Media, Federal Government, News Media Sectors, News Media Trends, Newspapers

Dec 2, 2015 10:00 am

Religious groups’ policies on transgender members vary widely

Where some religious groups stand on transgender inclusionReligious institutions are starting to formally address the participation of transgender people in their congregations, much as they have with the issue of accepting homosexuals.

Just recently, the Union for Reform Judaism approved a far-reaching resolution on the rights of transgender and gender nonconforming people, affirming its “commitment to the full equality, inclusion and acceptance of people of all gender identities and gender expressions.”

In addition to Reform Judaism, the United Church of Christ, Unitarian Universalist and Episcopal churches each have issued specific statements saying that transgender people should be fully included in the life of the church and that they can be ordained as ministers. Read More

Topics: Catholics and Catholicism, Christians and Christianity, Gay Marriage and Homosexuality, Gender, Religion and Society

Dec 2, 2015 7:00 am

Women, more than men, say climate change will harm them personally

Around the world, men and women express similar levels of concern about climate change. But when it comes to people who live in wealthier nations, a gender gap emerges.

In seven of 11 developed nations we surveyed this spring – from the U.S. and Canada to Germany and South Korea – women are more likely to consider climate change a serious problem, be concerned it will harm them personally and say that major lifestyle changes are needed to solve the problem.

Gender gap on climate change in many wealthy nations

For example, when asked how serious a problem climate change is, women in the U.S. are significantly more likely than American men (by a margin of 17 percentage points) to say it’s a somewhat or very serious problem. Canadian and Australian women’s concern also outweighs that of men in their respective countries, by 13 points and 12 points, respectively. Read More

Topics: Energy and Environment, Gender

Dec 1, 2015 1:00 pm

Republicans divided by income over government’s role in ‘safety net’ issues

Republicans are far less supportive than Democrats of a strong government role on issues related to the social safety net, but it’s a subject on which the party has notable divisions within its ranks.

Among Republicans, stark income divides on federal government's role on poverty, health care, other issuesThere are stark socioeconomic differences within the GOP when it comes to issues like poverty, health care and education: Lower-income Republicans are more likely than those with higher incomes to favor a major role for government in these areas.

By contrast, large majorities of Democrats – regardless of their family income – support a strong government role in each of these areas.

The largest internal GOP differences are over the government’s role on poverty and health care, according to a new Pew Research Center survey on attitudes about government.

Read More

Topics: Income, Political Attitudes and Values, Political Party Affiliation

Nov 29, 2015 9:00 am

People worldwide support a global emissions agreement

As world leaders gather in Paris this week to fashion a global climate change accord, their citizens are sending them two different but not necessarily contradictory messages.

People in both rich and poor nations broadly favor their government signing an international agreement limiting greenhouse gas emissions from the burning of coal, natural gas and petroleum. But the degree of concern about climate change varies markedly from country to country. Read More

Topics: Energy and Environment, International Governments and Institutions

Nov 25, 2015 9:55 am

Smartphone, computer or tablet? 36% of Americans own all three

As the world grows increasingly digital, choices abound for ways to tap into it. And for many Americans, one device isn’t enough.

Roughly 1 in 3 Americans Own a Smartphone, Computer and TabletA new Pew Research Center analysis finds that 66% of Americans own at least two digital devices – smartphone, desktop or laptop computer, or tablet – and 36% own all three.

Fueled in part by the rapid adoption of smartphones and tablets, the share of American adults who own a smartphone, computer and a tablet has doubled since 2012. At that time, only 15% of U.S. adults owned all three devices.

The age group most likely to own multiple devices is 30- to 49-year-olds, half of whom report owning all three, according to our 2015 survey data.

People who are more affluent and those with more formal education also are more likely to own multiple devices. Whites are a bit more likely than blacks to have all three gadgets, while men and women are equally likely to do so.

Previous research from Pew Research Center shows that owners of multiple digital devices use the internet more frequently, go online from multiple locations and are especially more likely than others to use the internet while “on the go.” They are also more likely to have profiles on social networks and to manage their online privacy and digital reputations more diligently. Read More

Topics: Emerging Technology Impacts, Technology Adoption

Nov 25, 2015 7:00 am

In politics, most Americans feel they’re on the losing side

It could be a sign of the times – or something more lasting – but far more Americans today feel like their side is losing more often than winning in politics.

Far More Republicans Than Democrats Say Their Side 'Loses' More Than 'Wins'In our new survey examining the public’s attitudes about government, just 25% say that, “on the issues that matter,” their side has been winning more often than it has been losing. More than twice as many (64%) say their side loses more often than it wins.

The feeling that political losses outnumber victories is widely shared across demographic groups. Substantial majorities of men (66%) and women (62%) feel like their side loses more than it wins. And there are only modest differences when it comes to race and ethnicity: 66% of whites, 65% of blacks and 59% of Hispanics all say their political side loses more often than it wins.

Yet there are clear partisan differences – fully 79% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents say their side loses more often than it wins, compared with 52% of Democrats and Democratic leaners. Read More

Topics: Federal Government, Political Attitudes and Values, Trust in Government, U.S. Political Parties