Jan 15, 2014 6:00 am

What to anticipate in 2014? Many young adults say soccer’s World Cup

Nearly six-in-ten Americans (58%) say they’re “especially looking forward” to the Winter Olympics next month, including roughly equal shares of each age group. But when it comes to this year’s other quadrennial international sports event – the World Cup – it’s largely young people who are anticipating it.

FT_soccer114It’s not that young people aren’t looking forward to the Winter Olympics, too: 53% are looking forward to the Sochi Games, which is roughly the same share as other ages. But they stand out for their anticipation of this year’s World Cup in Brazil in June and July, with the U.S. poised to face an exceptionally tough opening group of opponents. Four-in-ten adults ages 18-29 (40%) are looking forward to the World Cup, compared with just 13% of adults 50 and older.

Roughly the same share of the public is looking forward to the World Cup this year (22%) as it was in 2010 (23%), when young people were also the most likely to express anticipation.

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Topics: News Interest

Jan 14, 2014 2:54 pm

French more accepting of infidelity than people in other countries

French president Francois Hollande gives a press conference on Jan. 14, 2014 at the Elysee presidential palace in Paris to present his policy plans for the upcoming year. (Credit: ALAIN JOCARD/AFP/Getty Images)
French president Francois Hollande gives a press conference on Jan. 14, 2014 at the Elysee presidential palace in Paris to present his policy plans for the upcoming year. (Credit: ALAIN JOCARD/AFP/Getty Images)

French President Francois Hollande may have hoped his first press conference of 2014 would offer an opportunity to discuss his agenda and boost his sagging political fortunes, but when he faced reporters today he confronted questions about his personal life – specifically his alleged affair with actress Julie Gayet. Dealing with accusations of marital infidelity is something no politician wants to do, but as the leader of France, Hollande is perhaps in a better position than most. Compared with others around the world, the French are blasé about marital indiscretions. Read More

Topics: Western Europe

Jan 14, 2014 1:47 pm

As Congress debates extending benefits, high long-term unemployment persists


The median number of weeks without work among unemployed Americans (as of December).

The median duration of unemployment ticked up to 17.1 weeks last month, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That means that last month, more than half of all 10.3 million Americans officially considered unemployed had been out of work for more than 17.1 weeks, and half for less.

The December jobs report landed in the midst of an ongoing debate in Congress about whether, and how, to extend federal benefits for the long-term unemployed. In most states benefits run out after 26 weeks, but during periods of high unemployment Congress typically extends them. However, the most recent extension ran out at the end of 2013, cutting off payments to an estimated 1.3 million jobless people. The Senate is expected to vote Tuesday on whether to end debate on a bipartisan proposal to further extend benefits for the long-term unemployed.

Median duration of unemployment, in months. Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
Median duration of unemployment, in weeks.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Discussion of long-term unemployment often centers on average, rather than median, duration of unemployment. (The average duration in December, adjusted for seasonal variations, was 37.1 weeks.) But, as Fact Tank explained last year, the average skews higher because it includes hundreds of thousands of people who’ve been out of work for years.

Although both the average and median durations of unemployment have come down from their recent highs, they still remain more than double pre-Great Recession levels. As of December, 37.7% of all unemployed Americans — nearly 3.9 million — had been jobless for 27 weeks or longer. (And bear in mind that the unemployment figures don’t include the estimated 5.9 million people who say they want a job but aren’t, for whatever reason, currently looking for one.)

Category: Daily Number

Jan 14, 2014 12:48 pm

Q&A with author of U. Mich. study on preferred dress for women in Muslim countries

FT_styleofdress1314In a blog post last week, we wrote about the survey findings from seven Muslim-majority countries about women’s style of dress by the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research. The post generated a lot of attention in the U.S., Europe and Middle East as well as on social media and many people wanted to know more about how the research was conducted and the results, such as the dress preference expressed by men compared with women.

We went back to the researchers and asked them to share more data and to talk to us more about their methods and their findings. Here’s our Q&A with lead researcher Mansoor Moaddel, a Professor of Sociology at the University of Maryland and a Research Affiliate at the University of Michigan’s Population Studies Center. Read More

Topics: Gender, Muslims and Islam, Religion and Society

Jan 14, 2014 12:10 pm

Data Feed: N.J.’s ‘Bridgegate,’ aging workforce, health exchange sign-ups

A daily roundup of fresh data from scholars, governments, think tanks, pollsters and other social science researchers.

New Jersey riveted to Bridgegate, Monmouth University
Christie story attracts little public interest nationally, Pew Research Center
Comparing ideological divides in Britain, U.S., National Journal
23% of Americans are satisfied with the way things are going in U.S., Gallup
The vulnerability of nuclear-arms materials, The Economist
How U.S. state legislatures are polarized and getting more polarized, The Washington Post
Do trends in U.S. inequality matter for norms of global governance? Brookings
Public opinion on the Obama presidency thus far, American Enterprise Institute

Poverty and inequality in charts, The New York Times
Homeownership among real estate professionals; Do they walk the walk? Trulia Trends
Survey of Consumer Expectations, Federal Reserve Bank of New York
U.S. boosts natural gas use, OECD Europe scales back, Energy Information Administration
Is the aging workforce really creating your skill shortages? Harvard Business Review

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Category: Data Feed

Jan 14, 2014 11:10 am

Five facts about Fox News

One of the most closely observed—and powerful—figures in the news business, Fox News Channel President Roger Ailes, is the subject of a 560-page biography being released today. Even before its publication, “The Loudest Voice in the Room” by journalist Gabriel Sherman has triggered jousting matches between Ailes’ legions of critics and defenders.

Whatever one’s view of Ailes, it is undeniable that he has turned the 17-year-old Fox News Channel into a powerhouse that dominates the cable news ratings and wields substantial power in the world of conservative politics. Below are five facts about the organization that changed the face of cable news:

1Fox News was very tough on the last Democratic candidate for president. (But MSNBC was even tougher on the Republican). During the late stages of the 2012 presidential campaign, a Pew Research analysis found that Barack Obama received far more negative coverage than positive on the Fox News Channel. Yet Fox found its ideological mirror image in MSNBC. In the final stretch of the campaign, nearly half (46%) of Obama’s coverage on Fox was negative, while just 6% was positive in tone. But MSNBC produced an even harsher narrative about the Republican in the race: 71% of Romney’s coverage was negative, versus 3% positive.

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Category: 5 Facts

Topics: News Audience Trends and Attitudes, News Content Analysis, News Sources, State of the News Media, Television

Jan 13, 2014 3:16 pm

Obama lags his predecessors in recess appointments


In his six years in office, Barack Obama has made 32 recess appointments to federal positions.

While recess appointments have long been used by presidents to at least temporarily fill federal positions, they attract the most attention when they are used to install a nominee who might be otherwise blocked by the Senate. One such politically-charged case is before the Supreme Court today and it could result in sharply curtailing recess appointments in the future.

The case is reaching the high court at a time when President Obama has been locked in a bitter fight with Senate Republicans over his nominees, particularly his choices for the judiciary. But while appointments have been a contentious issue during his administration, Obama has resorted to the recess appointment at a far lesser pace than the four presidents before him.

So far, Obama has made recess appointments 32 times, according to a Feb. 2013 analysis by the Congressional Research Service. Among the last four presidents, Ronald Reagan made the most recess appointments (232), followed by George W. Bush (171), Bill Clinton (139) and George H.W. Bush (78), who served only one term.  These include not only ones made between sessions of Congress, but ones during recesses within a session.

The case being argued at the high court stems from three recess appointments President Obama made in 2012 to the National Labor Relations Board —the kind of action that Republicans were trying to forestall by holding brief pro forma sessions during a long holiday break. When the NLRB ruled against a Washington state company in a labor dispute, the company sued, saying the recess appointments were improper.

When George W. Bush was president, Senate Democrats tried to use the same tactic of holding pro forma sessions in an effort to prevent use of recess appointments. Bush had made several controversial recess appointments, prompting Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to schedule pro forma sessions in 2007 to try and head off possible recess appointments during the two-week Thanksgiving break in 2007.

Category: Daily Number

Topics: Barack Obama

Jan 13, 2014 12:27 pm

Who’s poor in America? 50 years into the ‘War on Poverty,’ a data portrait

President Lyndon Baines Johnson visit to Tom Fletcher's home in Kentucky was part of a tour of poverty stricken areas of the U.S. (Photo by Walter Bennett/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images).
President Lyndon Johnson’s visit to Tom Fletcher’s home in Kentucky was part of his tour of poverty stricken areas in the U.S. (Photo by Walter Bennett/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images).

Fifty years ago, President Lyndon Johnson used his first State of the Union address to urge “all-out war on human poverty and unemployment in these United States.” The War on Poverty, as the set of social programs enacted in 1964-1965 came to  be called, was arguably the most ambitious domestic policy initiative since the Great Depression. But for decades, politicians and social scientists have argued about whether Johnson’s antipoverty programs have lifted people out of destitution, trapped them in cycles of dependency, or both.

Critics note that the official poverty rate, as calculated by the Census Bureau, has fallen only modestly, from 19% in 1964 to 15% in 2012 (the most recent year available). But other analysts, citing shortcomings in the official poverty measure, focus on a supplemental measure (also produced by the Census Bureau) to argue that more progress has been made. A team of researchers from Columbia University, for example, calculated an “anchored” supplemental measure — essentially the 2012 measure carried back through time and adjusted for historical inflation — and found that it fell from about 26% in 1967 to 16% in 2012.

What’s inarguable, though, is that the demographics of America’s poor have shifted over the decades. Here’s a look at what has, and hasn’t, changed, based on the official measure. (Note: The reference years vary depending on data availability.)  Read More

Topics: Poverty

Jan 13, 2014 11:10 am

Data Feed: Living longer and retirement plans, low-income men, declining academic tenure

A daily roundup of fresh data from scholars, governments, think tanks, pollsters and other social science researchers.

36 states under single-party control; where they stand on key issues, The New York Times
2014 midterms and unemployment aid, The Wall Street Journal
Some state administrators make more than the governor, Pew Charitable Trusts

Employment Trends Index increased in December, The Conference Board
What should you make of the falling labor force participate rate? Urban Institute
How do longevity expectations affect retirement plans? Center for Retirement Research
Reserves and growth in times of crisis, National Bureau of Economic Research
December housing scorecard, Department of Housing and Urban Development
Risk lovers are more likely to start businesses, and fail, Harvard Business Review
What do we know about low-income men? Urban Institute
Minority, young students more entrepreneurially inclined, Gallup
Academic tenure is on the decline, Bloomberg

Composite leading indicators point to improving outlook in advanced nations, OECD
More counterfeit Euros in second half of 2013, European Central Bank

Got new data to share? Send it to us via email facttank@pewresearch.org or Tweet us @FactTank.


Category: Data Feed

Jan 10, 2014 4:16 pm

Twitter users give Christie negative marks on bridge scandal

While it’s yet to be seen whether New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s widely-covered apology on Thursday will succeed in controlling damage from the George Washington Bridge scandal, the initial verdict from Twitter is in: Criticism of the governor among users outnumbered defenders by about 3-to-1 after news broke of e-mails linking his office to closing down traffic lanes in an apparent act of political revenge.


Reaction on Twitter can often be at wide variance with public opinion. A Pew Research Center analysis last March compared the results of national polls to the tone of tweets about eight major news events and found that the Twitter conversation can be more liberal than survey responses, while at other times it is more conservative. During the 2012 presidential campaign, Twitter sentiment was much more critical of Republican candidate Mitt Romney than of President Obama.

A Pew Research analysis of more than a quarter million tweets found that 43% of the Twitter conversation about the potential 2016 presidential hopeful was critical of him or his administration while 14% defended Christie or criticized his opponents. The analysis covered the period between 9 a.m. Jan. 8 and 7 p.m. on Jan. 9, the day of Christie’s press conference. Read More

Topics: Social Media, U.S. Political Figures