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.

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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

Nov 24, 2015 11:00 am

In Africa, Pope Francis will find religious vibrancy and violence

Pope Francis later this week makes his first apostolic trip to sub-Saharan Africa – a part of the world where the number of Muslims and Christians is projected to increase dramatically over the next 35 years. It also is a region where the tension and distrust between these two religious groups has been rising.

Catholics in Sub-Saharan AfricaNot surprisingly, the three countries on the pope’s itinerary all have sizable Catholic populations. Catholics in Uganda numbered 14 million as of 2010, making up 42% of the population, while Catholics made up 22% of the population in Kenya (9 million) and 29% in the Central African Republic (1.3 million), according to a Pew Research Center report on Global ChristianityAll in all, more than 170 million or about one-in-five (21%) of sub-Saharan Africa’s inhabitants were Catholic in 2010.

A majority of all people in the region (63%) are Christians. More than half of the Christians in sub-Saharan Africa are Protestants (including Pentecostals and evangelicals), while about a third are Catholics and a smaller share are Orthodox Christians. Among non-Christians in the region, most (about 30% of the total population) are Muslims.

Due to rapid population growth, both Islam and Christianity are expected to have more than twice as many adherents in the region by 2050 as they did in 2010, according to our April report this year. Christians will increase from 517 million to more than 1.1 billion, and Muslims will go from 248 million to 670 million. Read More

Topics: Catholics and Catholicism, Religious Affiliation, Sub-Saharan Africa, Violence and Society

Nov 24, 2015 7:29 am

For most Americans, Thanksgiving isn’t the only time for thankfulness

Thanksgiving who gives thanksThanksgiving is a time when Americans are supposed to reflect on what they are thankful for.

But it’s not the only time they do so. A large majority of Americans (78%) feel a strong sense of gratitude or thankfulness on a weekly basis, according to a new poll by the Pew Research Center. And only 6% of Americans say they seldom or never experience these feelings.

That being said, some groups are more likely than others to express gratitude. For example, 84% of women regularly feel a strong sense of gratitude or thankfulness, compared to 72% of men. And nearly nine-in-ten Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses and evangelical Protestants – traditionally some of the most observant religious groups – say they feel gratitude or thankfulness at least once a week.

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Topics: Religion and Society, Social Values

Nov 23, 2015 10:36 am

Millennials are less religious than older Americans, but just as spiritual

By many measures, Millennials are much less likely than their elders to be religious.

For instance, only about half of Millennials (adults who were born between 1981 and 1996) say they believe in God with absolute certainty, and only about four-in-ten Millennials say religion is very important in their lives. By contrast, older generations are much more likely to believe in God and say religion is important to them.

In Many Measures, Millennials Are Less Religious

And this lower level of religiosity among Millennials manifests itself not just in what they think, but in what they do. Just 27% of Millennials say they attend religious services on a weekly basis, a substantially lower share than Baby Boomers (38%) and members of the Silent and Greatest generations (51% each). Similarly, a smaller share of Millennials say they pray every day compared with those in older generations. Read More

Topics: Generations and Age, Religious Beliefs and Practices

Nov 23, 2015 7:00 am

6 key takeaways about how Americans view their government

Our fall 2015 survey found widespread discontent with the federal government, including deep distrust in government and considerable cynicism about politics and elected officials alike. But despite these negative assessments, majorities believe government does a good job on many issues and want it to have a major role on a wide range of policy areas.

Here are six key takeaways from the report:

1The public’s trust in government remains at historic lows. Today, just 19% say they trust the federal government to do what is right always or most of the time, which is little changed from recent years. Fewer than three-in-ten Americans have expressed trust in government in every major national poll conducted since July 2007 – the longest period of low trust in government seen in more than 50 years.

While Democrats are more likely than Republicans to say they trust the government, trust remains low across partisan lines: Just 11% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents say they trust the government, compared with 26% of Democrats and Democratic leaners. (For more on the public’s trust in government, see this interactive.)

2As in the past, the public’s feelings about government run more toward frustration than anger. Currently, 57% are frustrated with the federal government; 22% are angry, while 18% are basically content.

Far more Republicans (32%) than Democrats (12%) say they are angry with the government. But higher shares in both parties expressed anger toward government in October 2013, during the partial government shutdown.

While anger at government has been higher among Republicans than Democrats during Barack Obama’s administration, the situation was reversed during George W. Bush’s presidency: In October 2006, 29% of Democrats said they were angry with government, compared with just 9% of Republicans. Read More

Topics: Trust in Government

Nov 20, 2015 2:03 pm

40% of Millennials OK with limiting speech offensive to minorities

American Millennials are far more likely than older generations to say the government should be able to prevent people from saying offensive statements about minority groups, according to a new analysis of Pew Research Center survey data on free speech and media across the globe.

U.S. Millennials More Likely to Support Censoring Offensive Statements About MinoritiesWe asked whether people believe that citizens should be able to make public statements that are offensive to minority groups, or whether the government should be able to prevent people from saying these things. Four-in-ten Millennials say the government should be able to prevent people publicly making statements that are offensive to minority groups, while 58% said such speech is OK.

Even though a larger share of Millennials favor allowing offensive speech against minorities, the 40% who oppose it is striking given that only around a quarter of Gen Xers (27%) and Boomers (24%) and roughly one-in-ten Silents (12%) say the government should be able to prevent such speech. Read More

Topics: Free Speech, Generations and Age

Nov 20, 2015 11:15 am

What we know about illegal immigration from Mexico

Illegal immigration remains a hotly contested issue as the 2016 presidential campaigns get underway. While Democrats have largely supported a pathway to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants and backed President Barack Obama’s programs to shield from deportation young people brought to the U.S. as children illegally, Republicans have largely opposed them.

Mexican Unauthorized Immigrant Population Declines Since 2007 PeakMore recently, debate about illegal immigration has focused on those from Mexico, the largest single group of immigrants in the United States. Pew Research Center tracks the origins of unauthorized immigrants, their participation in the labor force and where in the U.S. they are settling.

Here’s what we know about illegal immigration to the U.S. from Mexico:

1The number of Mexican immigrants living in the U.S. illegally has declined. In 2014, 5.6 million unauthorized immigrants from Mexico lived in the U.S., down by about 1 million since 2007. Despite the drop, Mexicans still make up about half (49% in 2014) of unauthorized immigrants. At the same time, unauthorized immigration overall has leveled off in recent years. Read More

Topics: Immigration, Immigration Trends, Mexico, Unauthorized Immigration