Mar 15, 2016 7:00 am

Unlike U.S., few Jews in Israel identify as Reform or Conservative

The two largest organized Jewish denominations in America – Reform and Conservative Judaism – together have about five times as many U.S. members as the historically much older, more strictly observant Orthodox community. But the Reform and Conservative movements have a far smaller footprint in Israel, according to Pew Research Center’s new survey of religion in Israel.

This is only one of many differences between the Jewish populations of Israel and the U.S., the world’s two largest. Together, these countries are home to about 80% of the world’s Jews, but American and Israeli Jews do not always look the same in terms of their political beliefs, levels of religious observance, social circles and even their definitions of what it means to be Jewish.

Jewish affiliation with Conservative and Reform synagogues and congregations is one of the most notable ways in which Jewish life in the U.S. differs from that in Israel. About half of Jewish Americans identify with either the Reform (35%) or Conservative (18%) movements, both of which developed in recent centuries in Europe and North America as generally less pious alternatives to the ancient Orthodox tradition. Only about 10% of U.S. Jews are Orthodox.

Conservative and Reform movements do not have a major presence in IsraelThe survey asked Jews in Israel whether they identify with any of these international streams of Judaism, acknowledging that some of them may not be familiar to respondents. In Israel, very few Jews identify with Conservative (2%) or Reform (3%) Judaism, while half (50%) identify with Orthodoxy – including many Jews who are not highly religiously observant but may still be most familiar with Orthodox Judaism. About four-in-ten Israeli Jews (41%) do not identify with any of these three streams or denominations of Judaism.

Instead, Israeli Jews are much more neatly grouped into four informal categories of Jewish religious identity – Haredi (ultra-Orthodox), Dati (religious), Masorti (traditional) and Hiloni (secular). Virtually all Jews in Israel say one of these terms describes their religious category. Read More

Topics: Jews and Judaism, Middle East and North Africa, Religion and Society, Religious Affiliation, Religious Beliefs and Practices

Mar 14, 2016 11:29 am

Exit polls and the evangelical vote: A closer look

As Donald Trump has racked up big wins among self-described “born-again or evangelical” Christians in many of the early primaries and caucuses, some religious leaders, political analysts and researchers have questioned whether many of these self-described evangelicals actually are evangelical Christians.

Specifically, some analysts have expressed disappointment that the exit polls in some states have included only a single question about religion: “Would you describe yourself as a born-again or evangelical Christian?” They argue that this question may be too broad to accurately capture who really is and isn’t an evangelical Protestant. At the same time, some religious leaders have assumed that many of those who are telling exit pollsters that they are born-again or evangelical and that they voted for Trump aren’t really evangelicals at all because, for example, they rarely attend church.

See our detailed tables for more information on the religious and political profiles of the evangelical electorate.

While it is impossible to know for sure how many self-described evangelicals who also are Trump supporters embrace the tradition’s beliefs and practices, data from Pew Research Center’s 2014 Religious Landscape Study show that when people identify as “born-again or evangelical” Christians, they also are very likely to report specific beliefs and behaviors that are characteristic of evangelical Protestantism, and this is the case regardless of which political party they support. Read More

Topics: Christians and Christianity, Evangelical Protestants and Evangelicalism, Religion and U.S. Politics, Religious Affiliation, Religious Beliefs and Practices

Mar 11, 2016 10:30 am

This year’s GOP presidential battle isn’t the first – or even the deepest – party divide

Former President Theodore Roosevelt campaigns in Morrisville, Vermont, on Aug. 30, 1912. After failing to win the Republican Party nomination for president that year, Roosevelt instead ran on the Progressive (or "Bull Moose") ticket. Photo credit: NPS/Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site
Former President Theodore Roosevelt campaigns in Morrisville, Vermont, on Aug. 30, 1912. After failing to win the Republican Party nomination for president that year, Roosevelt instead ran on the Progressive (or “Bull Moose”) ticket. Photo credit: NPS/Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site

Donald Trump may be leading in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, but much of the GOP’s establishment is mobilizing to try to block him. And should those efforts fail, many prominent Republicans are saying they won’t support Trump if he is the nominee. Some are even floating the idea of an anti-Trump third party.

Most times, even after fierce nomination battles and raucous conventions, parties have come together for the general-election fight. The bitter 1952 convention fight between Dwight Eisenhower and Sen. Robert Taft didn’t hurt Eisenhower that fall. In 1976, after Ronald Reagan fell just short of taking the GOP nomination from President Gerald Ford, he endorsed Ford in a memorable concession speech (although Ford went on to lose to Jimmy Carter in an exceedingly close race that November). And in 1968, even after a violence-marred convention and the third-party challenge of George Wallace, enough of the Democratic coalition came together in time for Hubert Humphrey to almost defeat Richard Nixon.

While it’s been a long time since a significant portion of a major party has rejected its own leading candidate, it’s hardly unprecedented in American political history. Here’s a rundown of notable splits, bolts, splinters and other major-party schisms, starting with the birth of the modern Democratic/Republican era. (Note: We excluded third-party movements, such as Wallace’s 1968 campaign and Ross Perot’s 1992 run, that originated outside the two major parties and weren’t explicit rejections of a particular nominee.)  Read More

Topics: 2016 Election, Political Polarization, U.S. Political Figures

Mar 10, 2016 11:55 am

8 conversations shaping technology

This year’s SXSW Interactive conference – an annual event that brings together leaders in technology, media and music – will have two new high-profile speakers: the president and first lady.

Barack and Michelle Obama will be speaking during a period of intense focus on the tech industry, with Apple CEO Tim Cook’s open letter challenging the FBI’s request to aid in unlocking a terror suspect’s iPhone, Twitter announcing an online safety panel and more companies getting into the “cord-cutting” business.

As conference-goers gather in Austin, here are eight key conversations about internet and technology today:

Privacy vs. security

In a Pew Research Center survey conducted in February on the issue of whether Apple should assist the FBI in unlocking the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino terror suspects, more Americans sided with the government than with Apple. Some 51% of U.S. adults said Apple should assist in unlocking the phone, while 38% said the company should not help unlock the phone because it jeopardizes other users’ security and privacy.

Americans’ views about the trade-off between security and personal privacy have shifted over time and public opinion is often influenced by major news events. Following the San Bernardino and Paris attacks, 56% of Americans said they were more concerned that counterterrorism efforts had not gone far enough to protect the country, while just 28% said they were concerned that efforts have gone too far in restricting civil liberties. By contrast, after the Edward Snowden leaks in 2013, concerns over civil liberties were more prevalent than concerns for national security. Read More

Topics: Emerging Technology Impacts, Mobile, Online Privacy and Safety, Technology Adoption

Mar 10, 2016 9:25 am

American trade issues aren’t just about China

Trade has been a recurrent theme in both the Republican and Democratic presidential primary debates, with candidates in both parties repeatedly promising to be tougher on trade, especially with regard to China.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has promised to impose a 45% tariff on imports from China. Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton has pledged to crack down on Chinese currency manipulation that gives Chinese products an unfair competitive advantage.

Americans agree that trade with China is an issue. While global trade ranks low overall on the public’s list of priorities – just 31% rate it as a top priority – 52% of Americans say the U.S. trade deficit with China is a very serious problem.

Two ways of looking at foreign tradeAmericans have good reason to worry about competition from China, the country with which the U.S. has its largest merchandise trade deficit. But competition from high-value exporters such as Germany also poses a challenge that, so far, has been largely ignored on the campaign trail.

Among the top five nations with which the U.S. runs a trade deficit, Germany has a $912 per capita trade advantage with the U.S. (total deficit divided by Germany’s total population), compared with China’s $266 per capita imbalance. This is largely because China’s large workforce churns out a high volume of low-value products for export to the U.S., while Germany’s smaller workforce largely produces high-value products, such as automobiles, to sell to Americans. Read More

Topics: Bilateral Relations, Economic and Business News, Economic Policy, Globalization and Trade, National Economy, World Economies

Mar 10, 2016 7:00 am

Many Americans say they voted, but did they?

“Did you happen to vote in the election this November, or did things come up that kept you from voting?”

One-in-six Americans who say they voted in the 2014 election have no record of votingIt’s a straightforward question, but the answers yielded some interesting results. One-in-six (16%) of those who say they “definitely voted” in the 2014 midterm election have no record of voting in commercially available national voter files, according to a Pew Research Center analysis.

So did they vote, or didn’t they? It’s important to know, because this is one of the means by which pollsters gauge the accuracy of their likely-voter predictions for future elections.

Determining who actually went to the polls and who did not is a challenge because, while the presence of a record of voting almost certainly means that a person voted, the absence of a record doesn’t necessarily mean they did not.

To examine the phenomenon of voting mismatches, we matched members of our American Trends Panel to a consumer database that includes official state turnout records as well as other other information on voters’ turnout history. We then compared the official records with respondents’ survey answers. A more detailed methodology can be found here.

So, why don’t we see a voting record for some people who tell us they voted?

One likely reason for at least some of this mismatch is the tendency for people to over-report “good” behaviors, such as voting, giving to charities, or attending religious services, while underreporting unattractive behaviors, such as drug and alcohol abuse. This phenomenon is known as the social desirability bias.

Another likely reason for the mismatch, as past research has found, is that the voting record for some people who actually voted is missed by commercial voter files. This happens most often for people who have recently moved. This error may have implications for campaign pollsters who rely on previous voting history in voter files to draw samples of likely voters or to help predict future voting behaviors. Read More

Topics: Research Methods, Voter Participation

Mar 9, 2016 12:45 pm

Democratic edge in Hispanic voter registration grows in Florida

Florida has long been a battleground state in presidential elections, with Hispanic voters playing a growing role in determining the outcome of the state’s presidential vote. Hispanic voters this year make up an even larger share of the state’s registered voters than in past years, but the profile of the Latino electorate has shifted over the past decade or so, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of state voter registration data.

Democrats hold voter registration advantage among Florida HispanicsDue to the state’s large Cuban voting bloc, the Latino vote had been reliably Republican. For example, President George W. Bush won both the Hispanic vote and the state in 2004. But 2008 represented a tipping point: More Latinos were registered as Democrats than Republicans, and the gap has only widened since then. This has led to the growing influence of Democrats among the state’s Hispanic voters in 2008 and 2012, two presidential elections in which Barack Obama carried both Hispanics and the state. At the same time, the number of Latino registered voters in Florida who indicate no party affiliation has also grown rapidly during this time, and by 2012 had surpassed Republican registrations.

In 2014, 4.8 million Hispanics lived in Florida, making it the third-largest Hispanic population in the nation, behind California and Texas. It is also growing faster than Florida’s population. Today 24% of Floridians are Hispanic, up from 17% in 2000. Overall, 1.8 million Hispanics were registered to vote in Florida as of February 2016, according to the state’s Division of ElectionsRead More

Topics: Hispanic/Latino Demographics, Hispanic/Latino Vote

Mar 9, 2016 9:55 am

Americans, Canadians differ in concern about climate change

Justin Trudeau, the recently elected (and popular) prime minister of Canada, will hold his first formal meeting with President Barack Obama at the White House on Thursday, an occasion that will also be marked by the first state dinner for a Canadian leader since 1997. High on the agenda will be discussion of a continental strategy on climate change.

Canadians more concerned about global climate change than AmericansCanadians are more concerned than their American counterparts on a number of key issues related to climate change. For example, in Pew Research Center’s spring 2015 survey of 40 nations, 84% of Canadians supported an international agreement to limit their country’s greenhouse gas emissions, compared with 69% of Americans. This agreement was subsequently adopted at the Paris COP21 conference, but whether the United States will enact such an accord remains in question.

A majority (56%) of Canadians say climate change is harming people now, while only 41% of Americans agree. On most of the questions presented to both Canadians and Americans on climate change, Canadians were more concerned and closer to the global 40-country median than Americans, who were generally less concerned than others around the world. Read More

Topics: Bilateral Relations, Energy and Environment, International Threats and Allies, North America

Mar 9, 2016 7:01 am

Among Israeli Arabs and Jews, limited optimism about a two-state solution

The conflict between Jews and Arabs in Israel and the surrounding areas dates back many decades, to well before Israel became a state in 1948. A long-term peace settlement repeatedly has eluded the efforts of political leaders on both sides, and public optimism that a two-state solution is possible may be receding in Israel, according to findings from Pew Research Center’s new survey.

Fewer Arabs now say peaceful coexistence between Israel and independent Palestinian state is possibleJust half of Israeli Arabs (50%) and fewer Israeli Jews (43%) think “a way can be found for Israel and an independent Palestinian state to coexist peacefully.” Among Israeli Arabs, the share who believe such an outcome is possible has fallen by 24 percentage points in just two years (from 74% who said this in 2013).

Jews are divided starkly by political ideology on this question. A majority (62%) of those who describe themselves as being on the Israeli right politically say a peaceful two-state solution is not possible. An even bigger majority of those on the left (86%) take the opposite view, expressing optimism about a two-state solution. But self-described left-leaners make up only 8% of Israeli Jews, while those who identify with the political right are a much bigger share (37%).

Read More

Topics: International Governments and Institutions, Jews and Judaism, Middle East and North Africa, Muslims and Islam, Wars and International Conflicts

Mar 8, 2016 1:30 pm

So far, turnout in this year’s primaries rivals 2008 record

This year’s presidential nominating season has upended conventional political wisdom in any number of ways – from the dominance of Donald Trump on the GOP side to the surprisingly tough battle between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders on the Democratic side. The keenly contested races also are driving record turnout among Republicans and higher than usual turnout among Democrats.

After long decline, primary turnout reboundsThrough the first 12 primaries of 2016, combined Republican turnout has been 17.3% of eligible voters – the highest of any year since at least 1980. Democratic turnout so far is 11.7% – the highest since 1992, with the notable exception of the extraordinarily high turnout in 2008. (Those figures may change, of course, depending on how the rest of the campaign plays out; history suggests that once one party’s nomination is locked up, turnout in subsequent contests tends to fall off.)

Turnout in presidential primaries varies considerably among states, and typically is lower in years when an incumbent faces no serious challenge for renomination. But looking at overall turnout rates since 1980, certain trends were clear: Combined major-party turnout fell from 25.7% in 1980 to 14.7% in 2004, before rebounding in 2008. Much of that was due to declining turnout in Democratic primaries; GOP turnout, by contrast, was relatively stable from 1980 through 2012, averaging about 10% in years with contested nominations and dipping to 7% or lower in uncontested years.

But even in relatively high-turnout years such as 2008 – and, so far, 2016 – primaries attract far fewer voters than general elections, even though (barring a contested convention) they determine whom voters get to choose from come November. In 2012, for instance, 129.1 million Americans, or 53.6% of the estimated voting-age population, cast ballots in the presidential election, versus fewer than 28 million in that year’s primaries. In 2008, 131.4 million people (56.9% of the estimated voting-age population) voted for president in the general election, more than twice the “record” number of primary voters that year. Read More

Topics: 2016 Election, Elections and Campaigns