Apr 16, 2014 3:53 pm

Europeans hold more liberal views on moral issues

When it comes to questions about morality, Europeans tend to see things a little differently than others around the world. On a range of moral issues, some of the globe’s most liberal opinions are found in the EU.

People in 40 countries were surveyed last spring about eight topics and were asked whether they considered each morally acceptable, morally unacceptable, or not a moral issue. Europeans were consistently less likely to judge these things as unacceptable compared with Latin Americans, Asians, Africans and Middle Easterners.

On moral issues, Europeans less like to judge as unacceptable

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Topics: Asia and the Pacific, Europe, Latin America, Middle East and North Africa, Religious Beliefs and Practices, Sub-Saharan Africa, Western Europe

Apr 16, 2014 1:00 pm

Africans among the most morally opposed to contraception

Speaking to bishops from Tanzania last week, Pope Francis praised church workers in Africa “who strive diligently to educate people in the area of sexual responsibility and chastity” with the aim of preventing HIV and AIDS. Sub-Saharan Africa is home to more than two-thirds of the world’s people living with HIV, according to amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research.

Many in Africa see use of contraception as immoralWhile Francis didn’t specifically refer to condom use, his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, once said that condoms can “increase the problem” of HIV and AIDS by encouraging promiscuity. Roman Catholic Church teaching rejects the use of artificial contraception on a moral basis.

Several African nations stand out among the most conservative on the issue of contraceptive use, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey of people in 40 countries. Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda, Kenya and Senegal ranked among the nine countries with the most moral opposition to contraception.

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Topics: Catholics and Catholicism, Religious Beliefs and Practices, Sub-Saharan Africa

Apr 16, 2014 11:54 am

67 years after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier, Major League Baseball looks very different

Jackie Robinson is caught off first base. Credit: Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images

Major League Baseball is celebrating Jackie Robinson, who became the league’s first African-American player on April 15, 1947.

Robinson’s entry led the way to integrated teams and a steady rise in the number of professional black baseball players. However, in recent years, there has been growing concern about the declining share of black players in the league.

The share of black MLB players reached a high of 18.7% in 1981, according to the Society for American Baseball Research. In 2014, 8.3% of players on opening day rosters were black. Before the most recent decade’s decline, the last time baseball had such a small share of black players was 1958.

FT_14.04.16_BaseballAs the number of black players has declined, baseball has seen a rising share of white players, a trend that stands in stark contrast to the steady decline of whites as a share of the U.S. population. In 2012, the percentage of white ballplayers (63.9%) increased to levels last seen in 1995, when 64.5% of players were white.

Historically, the share of white players has been shrinking since the color barrier was broken, bottoming out at 60.3% in 2004. Since then, the percentage of white players has trended upward. Read More

Topics: Race and Ethnicity

Apr 16, 2014 11:03 am

Data Feed: Partisan Senate polls, Census changes, Health care sign-ups

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

55% say Ukraine is key to U.S., but most oppose using force, topline, McClatchy/Marist
Christie is regaining ground, but Clinton tops entire GOP field, McClatchy/Marist
88% of California voters say that their state is undergoing a serious water shortage, Field
Obama’s job approval is at 38% among South Carolina voters; Congress at 14%, Winthrop
In N.J., 73% say state too slow in getting funds to Sandy victims, Monmouth/Asbury Park
Ideology explains a lot of Congressional behavior, but what about personality? WashPost
Dems in some competitive Senate races are raising more money than Republicans, WSJ
How partisan are partisan Senate polls? FiveThirtyEight

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Category: Data Feed

Apr 15, 2014 2:40 pm

NSA coverage wins Pulitzer, but Americans remain divided on Snowden leaks

Glenn Greenwald wins Pulitzer Prize for NSA coverage
Glenn Greenwald gives an acceptance speech after receiving the George Polk Award for National Security Reporting. Greenwald, who reported for The Guardian, and Barton Gellman of The Washington Post, in background, led coverage of the NSA at their news organizations, which shared the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. Credit: AP Photo/Richard Drew

Snowden, NSA, national interestWhile the journalism world conferred its top honor yesterday to the newspapers that reported on Edward Snowden’s National Security Agency leaks, the public remains divided over whether those classified leaks served the public interest.

Yesterday’s top Pulitzer Prize, in the category of Public Service, was awarded to the teams at The Washington Post and The Guardian US. News coverage of the award compared it to the 1971 news coverage and Pulitzer Prize for exposing the Pentagon Papers. In response to yesterday’s prize announcement, Snowden released a statement saying the award was a “vindication” of sorts.

But Snowden remains a polarizing figure to the American public, and the country is divided about whether the leaks have benefited the public interest more than they have harmed it. In a January survey by Pew Research and USA Today, 45% said his leaks served the public interest and 43% said they harmed the public interest. There was similar division when the story first broke last year: 49% said the leaks served the public interest and 44% said they harmed the public interest in June 2013.  Read More

Topics: National Security, Privacy and Safety, Surveillance

Apr 15, 2014 11:00 am

Data Feed: Tax Day facts, Americans’ Putin dilemma, global morality

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

Category: Data Feed

Apr 15, 2014 10:05 am

What’s morally acceptable? It depends on where in the world you live

The Pew Research Center asked people in 40 countries about what is morally unacceptable, morally acceptable or not a moral issue. The issues included: married people having an affair, gambling, homosexuality, having an abortion, sex between unmarried adults, drinking alcohol, getting a divorce and using contraceptives. Our new Global Morality Interactive highlights the findings and allows users to sort the data in a variety of ways.

Visit the interactive →

Here are 5 key takeaways from the survey:

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Category: 5 Facts

Apr 15, 2014 7:00 am

On Tax Day, Americans’ views of taxes and the IRS

Yes, it’s that day again — the April 15 deadline for filing your taxes. Many of you are not sweating it because you’re among the almost 100 million Americans who had filed their returns as of April 4 or the estimated 12 million who have requested extensions, according to the IRS. (Last year, the IRS said 148 million returns had been filed.)

So whether you’re ahead of the game or not, here are five facts about Americans’ views of taxes and the IRS:

1  A third (34%) of Americans liked or loved doing their taxes, according toSome Americans like doing their income taxes as April 15 deadline nears the survey we conducted at this time last year. Of course, that left 56% who didn’t like the annual exercise including 26% who hated doing their taxes. Among those who liked doing taxes, the largest share said it was to get a refund followed by those who said they didn’t mind or prided themselves for being good at. The IRS says the average refund so far this year is $2,792. Read More

Category: 5 Facts

Topics: Taxes

Apr 14, 2014 12:00 pm

SpaceX launch illustrates NASA’s growing use of private companies

The Falcon 9 rocket at SpaceX’s launch site at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. (Credit: SpaceX)

Later this month, a company called SpaceX is scheduled to launch its Falcon 9 rocket on a routine supply mission to the International Space Station (ISS). But if all goes as planned, this mission could herald the beginning of something decidedly not routine: the use of private, reusable rockets to service America’s space program.

SpaceX and another private launch company, Orbital Sciences, are the beneficiaries of a recent shift in the American space program toward privatizing more routine missions – such as the transport of supplies and eventually people to and from the ISS. While this upcoming mission is only a preliminary test, SpaceX eventually hopes to dramatically reduce the cost of launching cargo and people into space by eventually making both the first and second stages of its rockets reusable. Last year, the company estimated that once its rockets are able to land back on earth and, after re-fueling, quickly be re-launched, the cost for a trip to the ISS could drop to as low as from $5 million to $7 million. Read More

Topics: Science and Innovation

Apr 14, 2014 11:15 am

Data Feed: Google’s campaign donations, tax day facts, world military spending

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

Category: Data Feed