Nov 16, 2016 6:59 am

Despite Oregon governor’s win, candidates of different sexual orientations could face resistance in a presidential run

Oregon Democrat Kate Brown, who is bisexual, made history on Election Day by becoming the first openly lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) person to be elected governor anywhere in the U.S. But while a growing number of LGBT politicians have been elected to public office and attitudes toward the LGBT community have become much more favorable over the past decade, survey data suggest that being gay or lesbian remains somewhat of an obstacle for candidates running for president.

majority of Americans (69%) say a candidate’s sexuality would not affect their support of a presidential candidate. But those who say it would have an impact are much more likely to say it would have a negative than a positive one. About a quarter of the public (26%) says it would make them less likely to support the hypothetical candidate, compared with 4% who say it would make them more likely to support that candidate.

In terms of perceptions, this ranks among the more negative qualities that a potential president may have, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in January. Americans have a higher net likelihood of supporting a candidate who has used marijuana than one who is gay or lesbian, though they are even less likely to support a candidate who has had financial troubles, is Muslim or doesn’t believe in God.

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Topics: 2016 Election, Gay Marriage and Homosexuality, Gender, Political Attitudes and Values, State and Local Government, U.S. Political Figures

Nov 15, 2016 10:31 am

Unlike other Latinos, about half of Cuban voters in Florida backed Trump

In Florida, Cubans were about twice as likely as non-Cuban Latinos to vote for Donald Trump. More than half (54%) supported the Republican president-elect, compared with about a quarter (26%) of non-Cuban Latinos, according to National Election Pool exit poll data.

A significant share of Cubans in Florida voted for Hillary Clinton – 41% – but this was far below the 71% of non-Cuban Latinos who backed the Democratic nominee. At the same time, the level of support for Trump among Cubans was similar to that of non-Latinos in the state (51%).
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Topics: 2016 Election, Hispanic/Latino Demographics, Hispanic/Latino Vote, Race and Ethnicity, U.S. Political Parties

Nov 15, 2016 9:08 am

In three African nations, U.S. and China seen as best examples of a developed economy

When asked which country besides their own is the best example of a developed economy, people in Kenya, South Africa and Nigeria overwhelmingly point to the United States and China, the world’s two largest economies. But among people in these three African nations, there are differences in the share of respondents who choose each power.

In Kenya, 36% say the U.S. is the best example of a developed country, while only 15% choose China. An additional 4% say Japan, South Africa or Tanzania are the best examples.

Among South Africans, around a quarter each say the U.S. (27%) and China (22%) are the best examples of an advanced economy. An additional 5% name Germany as a top example, with 4% naming the United Kingdom, Australia, Botswana or “Europe.” Read More

Topics: Asia and the Pacific, China, Country Image, National Economy, North America, World Economies

Nov 14, 2016 11:10 am

5 facts about the death penalty

Even though nationwide support for the death penalty has fallen sharply in recent years, voters in three states voted in support of capital punishment in 2016. In Nebraska, a referendum to reverse an earlier state legislative ban on the death penalty won approval handily. In Oklahoma, where the death penalty was already legal, voters approved a state constitutional amendment guaranteeing the availability of capital punishment “unless prohibited by the United States Constitution.” And in California, which has more inmates on death row than any other state, voters rejected an initiative that would have abolished the death penalty and appear to have approved another that will limit the appeals process for inmates sentenced to death.

Approval of these measures comes as the U.S. is on track to record its fewest executions in a quarter century. At the same time, 31 states (once again including Nebraska) still have the death penalty on the books, as does the federal government. Here are five facts about the issue:

1Support has fallen dramatically in the past two decades, but more Americans still favor the death penalty than oppose it. A Pew Research Center poll in August and September found that 49% favor the death penalty for people convicted of murder, while 42% oppose it. But support is at its lowest level in more than 40 years. Much of the decline in support over the past two decades has come from Democrats. Currently, just 34% of Democrats favor the death penalty, compared with 72% of Republicans.

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Category: 5 Facts

Topics: Criminal Justice, Death Penalty, Religion and U.S. Politics

Nov 14, 2016 7:00 am

If the U.S. had 100 people: Charting Americans’ religious affiliations

As of 2014, there were roughly 245 million adults in the United States, including 173 million Christians and 56 million people without a religious affiliation. These are big numbers that, along with many others in the religious demographic pie, can at times make it difficult to fully understand the American religious landscape.

But what if we looked at this big picture a little differently? What if we imagined the U.S. as a small town, population 100, instead of a continent-spanning nation with hundreds of millions of people? Doing so presents an interesting thought experiment because it allows us to see basic data about the U.S. and its people in a fresh, simple and illuminating way.

The following five charts use data from the 2014 Religious Landscape Study to create a religious demographic profile of the U.S. if the country were made up of exactly 100 adults.

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Topics: Christians and Christianity, Jews and Judaism, Muslims and Islam, Religion and Society, Religious Affiliation, Religiously Unaffiliated

Nov 11, 2016 9:07 am

Whites more likely than nonwhites to have spoken to a local journalist

Being interviewed by a local journalist provides an opportunity to have a voice in the civic life and local news ecosystem of one’s community. But it remains a relatively rare experience, as only about a quarter of U.S. adults (26%) say they have ever done so. And among those who have, not everyone’s voice is equally likely to be heard.

Whites, as well as college graduates and those with higher incomes, are more likely than nonwhites to have spoken with or been interviewed by a local journalist, according to a survey by Pew Research Center.

About three-in-ten whites (29%) say they have ever spoken with or been interviewed by a local journalist or reporter, compared with 19% of nonwhites. (Nonwhite includes all racial and ethnic groups except non-Hispanic white.) This difference is particularly striking given that nonwhites generally are more engaged consumers of local news than whites. For instance, while 43% of nonwhites follow local news very closely, only a third of whites say the same – a similar pattern to what we found in our 2015 study of local news habits in three cities. Read More

Topics: Community Media, Gender, Local News, News Audience Trends and Attitudes, News Media Trends, Race and Ethnicity

Nov 11, 2016 7:00 am

Profile of U.S. veterans is changing dramatically as their ranks decline

The daughter of World War II veteran Henry Morth shakes the hand of a sailor as she cheers veterans in New York City's Veterans Day Parade on Nov. 11, 2015. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
The daughter of World War II veteran Henry Morth shakes the hand of a sailor as she cheers veterans in New York City’s Veterans Day Parade on Nov. 11, 2015. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The U.S. is in the midst of a significant long-term shift in both the size and profile of its veteran population.

The share of the population with military experience – counting those who are on active duty or were in the past – has fallen by more than half since 1980. Then, 18% of adults were serving or had served in the military. By 2014, the share had declined to 8%, according to Census Bureau data, with an additional 1% serving in the reserves. Among U.S. men, the decline was even more dramatic, dropping from 45% in 1960 to 37% in 1980 and 16% in 2014.  Read More

Topics: Generations and Age, Military and Veterans

Nov 10, 2016 12:00 pm

In nine countries, 20% or more born there have migrated or sought refuge abroad

View our newly updated interactive tables to see the numbers and percentages of migrants worldwide by country.
View our newly updated interactive tables to see the numbers and percentages of migrants worldwide by country.

Some 244 million people worldwide – many seeking improved economic opportunities or fleeing physical danger – have emigrated from their countries of birth and currently live in other countries, according to 2015 data from the United Nations. That’s a relatively small share of the global population (about 3%), but the impact of out-migration has been uneven worldwide. In nine countries, 20% or more of the people born there now live in a different country.

For Bosnia-Herzegovina, Albania, Jamaica and Armenia, a quarter or more of their respective birth populations lived abroad in 2015. In the case of Kazakhstan, Syria, Trinidad and Tobago, the Republic of Macedonia and Portugal, about 20% of the native-born population currently lives in other countries. (For more migrant estimates and percentages, see our updated interactive tables. Puerto Rico, the Palestinian territories and countries with populations less than 1 million are not included as emigrant nations. See explanatory notes below the interactive for more details.)

For a sense of scale, if one in every five Americans were to emigrate abroad, this would be roughly equivalent to departure of 64 million people, or the current total combined populations of California and Texas.

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Topics: Country of Origin, Migration, Wars and International Conflicts

Nov 9, 2016 5:13 pm

Why 2016 election polls missed their mark

Supporters of presidential candidate Hillary Clinton watch televised coverage of the U.S. presidential election at Comet Tavern in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle on Nov. 8, 2016. (Photo by Jason Redmond/AFP/Getty Images)
Supporters of presidential candidate Hillary Clinton watch televised coverage of the U.S. presidential election at Comet Tavern in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle on Nov. 8. (Photo by Jason Redmond/AFP/Getty Images)

The results of Tuesday’s presidential election came as a surprise to nearly everyone who had been following the national and state election polling, which consistently projected Hillary Clinton as defeating Donald Trump. Relying largely on opinion polls, election forecasters put Clinton’s chance of winning at anywhere from 70% to as high as 99%, and pegged her as the heavy favorite to win a number of states such as Pennsylvania and Wisconsin that in the end were taken by Trump.

How could the polls have been so wrong about the state of the election?

There is a great deal of speculation but no clear answers as to the cause of the disconnect, but there is one point of agreement: Across the board, polls underestimated Trump’s level of support. With few exceptions, the final round of public polling showed Clinton with a lead of 1 to 7 percentage points in the national popular vote. State-level polling was more variable, but there were few instances where polls overstated Trump’s support.

The fact that so many forecasts were off-target was particularly notable given the increasingly wide variety of methodologies being tested and reported via the mainstream media and other channels. The traditional telephone polls of recent decades are now joined by increasing numbers of high profile, online probability and nonprobability sample surveys, as well as prediction markets, all of which showed similar errors.

Pollsters don’t have a clear diagnosis yet for the misfires, and it will likely be some time before we know for sure what happened. There are, however, several possible explanations for the misstep that many in the polling community will be talking about in upcoming weeks.

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Topics: 2016 Election, Polling, Research Methods

Nov 9, 2016 4:00 pm

Trump’s victory another example of how Electoral College wins are bigger than popular vote ones

For the fifth time in U.S. history, and the second time this century, a presidential candidate has won the White House while (apparently) losing the popular vote.

Donald Trump won at least 279 electoral votes (306 if you include Arizona and Michigan, where he was leading as of Wednesday afternoon) to Hillary Clinton’s 228 (232 including New Hampshire, where she was ahead by a hair). But the popular vote is a near-tie, according to our tally of unofficial and, in some cases, partial returns. As of Wednesday afternoon, Clinton was slightly ahead of Trump, 59.6 million votes (47.66%) to 59.4 million (47.5%). Read More

Topics: 2016 Election, Elections and Campaigns