In his 1961 inaugural address, John F. Kennedy declared that “the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans.” He was referring to the fact that a 43-year-old was replacing a 70-year-old in the White House, but his words were meant to resonate as well with even younger Americans who were just coming of age. Five decades after Kennedy’s death, what happened to those torchbearers? It turns out they vote somewhat more Republican than the general electorate.
Pew Research has tracked vote preference among different age cohorts in the past several presidential and midterm elections and looked at who was president when each cohort turned 18. Does the person who is in the White House when people come of age affect their long-term political leanings? By looking at likely voters from our pre-election surveys, we can see how each age cohort voted relative to the national average.
Compared with the electorate overall, Americans who came of age during the presidencies of Kennedy or Lyndon Johnson offered more support for Mitt Romney in 2012, and more support for John McCain in 2008. (For reference, the Kennedy-Johnson era 18-year-olds were ages 62-69 during the 2012 election.) Read More →
Topics: Political Party Affiliation
About half of Americans believe the government has not gone far enough in regulating financial institutions, but a substantial segment of the public disagrees.
The record $13 billion settlement agreed to by JPMorgan Chase and the Justice Department on Tuesday brought back into the news the story of the sales of securities based on troubled mortgages by Chase and other financial institutions that led to the economic meltdown of 2008. But while those companies were blamed by many for the fiscal crisis, Americans have mixed feelings about how far government should go in regulating the industry.
A Pew Research Center survey conducted in September found that 49% of the public believed the government has not gone far enough in regulating financial institutions and the markets. Nearly as many (43%) believed the government had gone too far. The survey did not specify whether “regulation” meant congressional action, like the controversial Dodd-Frank law that was enacted in 2010 after the financial crisis, or enforcement actions such as the JPMorgan settlement, or both.
There is substantial disagreement between Democrats and Republicans on the question. (The Republican-controlled House voted last month to repeal a key provision of Dodd-Frank that prohibited banks from trading for their own gain). About two-thirds (64%) of Republicans said government regulation has gone too far compared with 62% of Democrats who said it had not gone far enough. Read More →
Category: Daily Number
States that allow same-sex marriage also provide protections for religious groups and clergy who oppose it
The battle over same-sex marriage has been about more than whether to allow gays and lesbians to wed. In every state where same-sex marriage is legal – including Illinois, which today became the 16th state to allow gays and lesbians to marry – politicians and others have also debated how to best protect religious freedom.
Indeed, each of the 12 states that have passed laws legalizing same-sex marriage also protects religious groups and clergy who do not want to solemnize or participate in same-sex weddings. And in the four states that have made gay marriage legal solely through court rulings rather than legislation, judges in all but one have prohibited the state from compelling religious groups to participate in or recognize such weddings.
But even without any of these state-level safeguards, legal scholars say clergy and religious groups are already protected by the U.S. Constitution, which provides religious organizations a significant degree of freedom in deciding how, and for whom, to provide their religious services. Read More →
Topics: Gay Marriage and Homosexuality
In a week dominated by two mega-stories—the continuing travails of Obamacare and the devastating typhoon in the Philippines—America’s hypercompetitive cable news outlets exercised very different news judgments.
The health insurance saga took a dramatic turn when President Obama announced a change in the law to prevent individuals from having coverage cancelled. And frantic relief efforts continued in the Philippines, where the official death toll from Typhoon Haiyan reached the 4,000 mark as of Wednesday.
A clear pattern in how four major cable news networks handled the competing stories emerged from a Pew Research Center analysis of 80 hours of programming from Nov. 11-15. The analysis studied one hour of midday and three hours of prime-time each day.
As America marks the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s death, his life, family, strengths and weakness have been pored over in recent weeks, but little has been said about how the public viewed the country during the Kennedy years. The Gallup polls of that period illustrate how different a time this was. The mood of America then had few parallels with the modern era.
First, as 1963 began, Americans were pretty upbeat in any number of ways:
- Having survived the Cuban Missile Crisis, they were confident about their country – 82% thought America’s power would increase in 1963! And most (63%) thought it possible that the West could achieve a peaceful relationship with Russia.
- Americans were remarkably internationalist. Gallup1 found 82% of the public thinking it would be better if US worked with other nations. Just 10% said keeping independent was the right course. No fewer than 87% favored the common market. They even liked foreign aid – 58% said they were for it. Can you imagine?
- Americans were optimistic about the economy – 64% said that local business conditions would be good that year. And that attitude prevailed throughout the year. Two thirds (68%) said they were satisfied with their income. Many credited the president. By a margin of 50% to 37%, the public thought Kennedy kept his promise to stimulate economic growth.
- Indeed, JFK was enormously popular in early 1963. In February, he enjoyed a 70% approval. His ratings for handling foreign policy and handling domestic problems were equally high (64%) and most (56%) were satisfied with the way he was handling the situation in Cuba, where he had stumbled badly in 1961. And unlike modern presidents, Kennedy was a cultural phenomenon. In 1963, Gallup estimated that 85 million Americans had seen or heard a Kennedy imitator. Read More →
- The Gallup Poll, Public Opinion 1935-1971, Random House ↩
American, Chinese, European and Russian negotiators sit down with their Iranian counterparts in Geneva this week to try to hammer out an interim deal aimed at freezing and eventually rolling back the Iranian nuclear program, an agreement that eluded them in early November. The prospect of an accord has generated new friction between Israel and the United States. The Obama administration wants to prevent the Iranians from ever obtaining nuclear weapons. The Israeli government wants to prevent Iran from ever having the ability to build such weapons. And Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is pressing Washington not to finalize the deal now on the table in Geneva.
American-Israeli differences on the issue in part mirror sharp differences between American and Israeli public opinion about Iran and about the seriousness of the threat posed by the Iranian nuclear program. Attitudes of younger Americans toward Iran suggest these differences may even grow over time. Read More →
Topics: Middle East and North Africa
A new report from the World Economic Forum ranks the 10 most important global trends, based on a poll of 1,592 leaders from academia, business, government, and non-profits.
Here are some data points that compare and contrast the public’s views around the world with the trends identified by the experts.
1. Rising societal tensions in the Middle East and North Africa – People in this region were mostly dissatisfied with their country direction, according to the Pew Research Center’s survey of people across the globe this year. This includes particular disappointment in Lebanon (88% dissatisfied), the Palestinian territories (87%) and Tunisia (81%).
2. Widening income disparities – One of the most striking findings from our recent survey of general publics across the globe was the degree to which people see the gap between rich and poor as a major challenge. In 31 of 39 nations, half or more of those polled said inequality is a very big problem in their country. Read More →
A pair of suicide bombings today struck near the Iranian Embassy in Lebanon, the latest violence in a country where concerns have run high about Iran’s influence and the spillover of violence from the civil war in Syria.
About seven-in-ten (68%) people in Lebanon said that they were very concerned the violence in Syria would spread to their country, and another 27% were somewhat concerned, according to a Pew Research Center survey last March. Those fears of spreading violence were shared by six-in-ten or more Lebanese Shia and Sunni Muslims, who often find themselves in conflict.
Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah, who are both Shia powers in the region, have openly supported Syrian President Bashar Assad in his country’s civil war. Hezbollah’s leader, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, said last week that his group would keep fighting in Syria as long as necessary.
Last week, Google released a new advertisement that tells an emotional story of two childhood friends separated in 1947 as Hindus mass migrated from Pakistan to India, and Muslims left India for Pakistan. Decades later, the friends are reunited with the help of their grandchildren and Google. Produced in the form of a short film, the ad has gone viral in the two countries with more than 4 million views.
The feel-good ad may be surprising to Western viewers, who are likely familiar with the two nations’ antagonistic relationship. Read More →
Topics: Asia and the Pacific
Former Vice President Dick Cheney waded into a public dispute between his daughters on Monday, highlighting the debate in the Republican party over same-sex marriage.
The dispute began when daughter Liz Cheney, who is running for a Wyoming Senate seat, said she would not change her position on same-sex marriage despite her sister Mary’s marriage to a woman, saying “I believe in the traditional definition of marriage.” Mary responded, saying her sister was “on the wrong side of history.” Read More →