Seven-in-ten Americans are confident that new medical treatments are tested before being made available to the public.
About a quarter of adults in the U.S. (24%) say they have a lot of confidence that new medicines and treatments have been carefully tested before being made available to the public. Roughly half (47%) have some confidence, and 27% have either not too much or no confidence that new medical treatments have been carefully tested.
Confidence in the testing of new treatments is modestly related to personal wishes for radically longer human lifespans. Adults who express a lot of confidence that new medicines are carefully tested are evenly divided in their assessments of radical life extension for society, while those who express less confidence in medical testing are more inclined to say that radical life extension would be a bad, rather than a good, thing for society. The same pattern occurs when it comes to personal preferences for radical life-extending treatments.
A majority of U.S. adults (56%) say they, personally, would not choose to undergo medical treatments to slow the aging process and live to be 120 or more. But roughly two-thirds (68%) think that most other people would. And by similarly large margins, they expect that radically longer life spans would strain the country’s natural resources and be available only to the wealthy.
Category: Daily Number
While several organizations have long tracked the risks faced by professional journalists working in harm’s way, until recently, less attention has been paid to the occupational hazards faced by “citizen journalists” and “netizens.” These newer members of the media document some of the most dangerous conflicts, sometimes in places that are off-limits to professional journalists. New figures show that the war in Syria, in particular, has taken a heavy toll among them.
After the onset of the Arab Spring in late 2010, Reporters sans frontieres (Reporters Without Borders/RSF)—one of the principal organizations that monitors attacks on freedom of information worldwide— began tracking this new category of journalists. RSF defined citizen-journalists as those who have had no professional media training, did not work in journalism before and who only started working to document a conflict once it began. They may be working freelance to sell their pictures and stories, or they may have set up an affiliation with a local media center.
Netizens share a similar background to citizen-journalists, but they focus on the use of internet tools to disseminate their work. While RSF states that many of the citizen journalists and netizens in Syria may be sympathetic to the forces trying to overthrow the government of President Bashar al-Assad, the organization says they are not combatants in the conflict.
In the Pew Research Center’s recent report on race in America, 81% of whites and 73% of blacks say those two groups get along “very” or “pretty” well. When the same question was asked six years ago, 77% of whites and 69% of blacks said their groups generally got along well together.
Similarly, about the same share of whites (77%) and Hispanics (74%) said their groups got along well — as they did six years ago, when the figures were 70% and 71%, respectively.
But there remain several areas where perceptions about intergroup relations differ significantly. And in some instances, respondents from one group say they simply don’t know enough about one or both of the other groups to express an opinion.
For instance, whites’ view of black-white relations is not only significantly more positive than that of blacks but of Hispanics as well. (Only 60% of Hispanics said blacks and whites generally get along well, versus 36% who said they didn’t). While 78% of African-Americans say blacks and Hispanics get along well, only 61% of Hispanics agreed. (In the 2007 survey, 70% of blacks and 57% of Hispanics said their two groups generally got along well.)
Whites have a less positive view of black-Hispanic relations than did blacks and Hispanics themselves, with only 48% saying they generally got along well. However, that result likely was skewed by the 22% of whites who said they didn’t know enough about black-Hispanic relations to answer the question.
And, while blacks were less likely than whites or Hispanics to positively characterize relations between those two groups (only 64% of blacks said whites and Hispanics generally got along well), 12% said they didn’t know enough to express an opinion.
Those relatively high “don’t know” percentages for whites and blacks are both down from six years ago: Back then, 29% of whites declined to opine on black-Hispanic relations, and 20% of blacks said the same thing about white-Hispanic relations.
Favorable ratings of Congress fell to one of its lowest points in two decades after the last battle over the federal debt ceiling in 2011.
When Congress returns next month, it will once again have to wrestle with the issue of raising the federal debt ceiling or face the possibility of a government shutdown and a default on America’s debt obligations. And, again, the prospect of a partisan stalemate is looming, as is a repeat of the drawn-out fight over the debt ceiling that occurred in the summer of 2011.
Public reaction to the contentious 2011 negotiations was sharply negative: A Pew Research survey from late July of that year reported: “From liberal Democrats to Tea Party Republicans, there is broad public consensus that the budget negotiations of recent weeks can be summed up in words such as ridiculous, disgusting, stupid, and frustrating.”
The result represented a political low point for Congress, and especially for Republicans. In a survey conducted in mid-August 2011, shortly after a deal was finally reached, the number of Americans saying they had a favorable view of Congress fell to 25%, down 9 percentage points from the previous March. That was among the lowest favorable ratings for Congress in more than two decades of Pew Research Center surveys, (although that rating has since fallen lower – to 21% — as of this July).
The July 2011 survey found that the debt ceiling debate had “tarnished the image of both President Obama and Speaker (John) Boehner,” with about a third saying they had formed a less favorable view of the pair in the preceding weeks. When it came to the parties in Congress, 42% said their impression of Republicans had become less favorable as a result of the negotiations, compared with 30% who said that of the Democrats.
Category: Daily Number
The release of Chromecast by Google last month is only the latest effort by tech companies to make sure all those smartphones, laptops, and tablets you’ve bought are properly connected and streaming. Some experts envision device owners living in a programmable world in which everything from the coffee pot in your house to the temperature in your office are all personalized and integrated.
But there is one segment of the population who would see no benefit in services like these – people who own only one device.
In April 2012, the Pew Research Center measured ownership of five different types of computing devices—cell phones, desktop computers, laptop computers, e-readers, and tablet computers—and found that one in ten Americans (13%) only owned a cell phone and none of the other four devices. Seniors, non-whites, those with less than a college education, and those living in households with an annual income of less than $50,000 a year were especially likely to say that they owned only one of these five devices, and that the device they owned was a cell phone.
Cell phones were the most popular device in April 2012, followed by laptops, desktop computers, tablets, and e-readers. At that time:
- 88% of adults said they owned a cell phone
- 61% said they owned a laptop computer
- 58% said they owned a desktop computer
- 18% said they owned a tablet (tablet ownership has since risen to 34% as of May 2013)
- 18% said they owned an e-reader (e-reader ownership has since risen to 26% as of January 2013)
For decades, government jobs have been a major source of upward mobility for recent immigrants, racial and ethnic minorities and other historically underrepresented groups. Census Bureau researcher Todd Gardner recently analyzed decades’ worth of non-public Census microdata to examine how well local government workforces have kept pace with evolving immigration patterns and the legal end of workplace discrimination.
Gardner looked at the 100 largest U.S. metro areas from 1960 to 2010; he divided local government jobs into low-earning and high-earning based on median income. Datapoints above “1″ indicate that a group is overrepresented in the given workforce relative to its share of the overall population, while datapoints below “1″ indicate the group is underrepresented. (If you go to the Urban Institute web page linked above, you can see the breakdowns for each metro area by using the pulldown menu in the chart.)
His analysis shows that while whites continue to be overrepresented among high-earning local government jobs (and underrepresented in low-earning jobs), local government workforces have become more diversified over the past five decades.
More than two-thirds (69.7%) of high-wage local-government jobs were held by whites, though they make up only 57.8% of the population, according to the most recent American Community Service data. Blacks have long been overrepresented in low-paying local-government jobs, but now are represented proportionately in high-earning public-sector jobs in most major metros. Hispanics are proportionately represented in low-earning jobs but underrepresented in high-earning ones; other groups are underrepresented in both job tiers.
Category: Chart of the Week
A recent survey of Republican and Republican-leaning adults about the GOP’s future found stark age differences in opinions on the question of whether more diverse nominees would help the party perform better in future elections. (Some of the findings in this post were not included in the original report.)
Among Republicans and leaners under 40, 68% say nominating more racial and ethnic minorities would help and 64% say the same about more women nominees. Far fewer Republicans 40 and older view these steps as helpful: 49% say nominating more racial and ethnic minorities would help and 46% say the same of nominating more women.
Nearly six-in-ten middle and high school teachers said they had students do a writing assignment at least once a week.
In the digital age of texting and online social networking, “writing” is no longer confined to the assignments students get in the classroom.
Many teachers are still trying to define these new forms of writing and to determine what impact they have on the “formal writing” students do in class. But most agree that students define “writing” as assignments they are required to do for school, not posting status updates or tweets.
In a Pew Research Center survey conducted in the spring of 2012, 58% of teachers said they had their students write short essays, short responses, or opinion pieces at least once a week. A quarter of teachers only made these assignments monthly and another 10% made them less often than that, with 7% making no writing assignments at all.
Category: Daily Number
Since the start of the Syrian civil war, the public has consistently opposed U.S. involvement in the conflict. But Americans have offered a somewhat different response when asked how they would respond if there is proof that President Bashar al-Assad’s forces attacked civilians with chemical weapons.
Syrian anti-government groups claimed this week that more than 1,000 people died when government forces launched a chemical weapons attack in Damascus. Photos and online video have bolstered their claims. The Syrian government has strongly denied the reports.
In two surveys last year, the most recent in December, majorities of Americans said the United States did not have a responsibility to do something about the fighting between government forces and the opposition. Similarly, in a survey conducted in June, most Americans also opposed arming anti-government rebels in Syria.
In the wake of President Mohamed Morsi’s ouster from office, Saudi Arabia has emerged as one of the leading backers of Egypt’s new military regime. Along with diplomatic initiatives, the Saudi kingdom has organized a $12 billion aid package for Egypt, and pledged to make up any shortfalls if the U.S. or other countries withdraw assistance.
Even before Saudi Arabia’s recent actions, the Egyptian public had an overwhelmingly positive view of Saudi Arabia. A March Pew Research Center poll found that fully 78% of Egyptians hold a favorable opinion of Saudi Arabia and more than eight-in-ten (84%) express similar sentiments about Saudi King Abdullah. These views have been consistently high in recent years, although favorability toward the Saudi kingdom has decreased by 13 percentage points since 2007, when Pew Research first asked this question in Egypt.
Views of Saudi Arabia’s influence in Egypt are more tempered, but still favorable. Over half of Egyptians (55%) say that Saudi Arabia has a great deal or fair amount of influence on how things are going in their country. Of those who say Saudi Arabia is influential, 63% describe this influence as good, while 7% say it is bad and about a quarter (26%) say it is neither good nor bad.
Here are more detailed results and survey methodology.