Nov 8, 2018 10:01 am

The 2018 midterm vote: Divisions by race, gender, education

Voters at Franklin Elementary School in Kent, Ohio, on Nov. 6. (Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)

The stark demographic and educational divisions that have come to define American politics were clearly evident in voting preferences in the 2018 congressional elections.

In 2018 vote, sizable gender, race and education dividesThere were wide differences in voting preferences between men and women, whites and nonwhites, as well as people with more and less educational attainment.

Nationally, voters favored Democratic candidates for Congress over Republican candidates by a margin of about 7 percentage points, according to a preliminary estimate by The New York Times. (With votes still being tabulated in some states, this margin may change.) Democrats won a majority in the House of Representatives for the first time since 2010, while Republicans appear to have added to their majority in the Senate.

The gender gap in voting preference is not new, but it is at least as wide as at any point over the past two decades, according to exit polls by the National Election Pool, as reported by CNN. Women favored the Democratic candidate in their district by 19 percentage points (59% to 40%) while men voted for the Republican 51% to 47%. (The exit polls offer the first look at the electorate; the portrait will be refined over time as additional data, such as state voter files, become available).

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Topics: Voter Demographics, Voter Participation, Elections and Campaigns, Voter Preferences, 2018 Election

Nov 7, 2018 2:01 pm

How religious groups voted in the midterm elections

Voters in North Carolina cast their ballots. (Logan Cyrus/AFP via Getty Images)

A preliminary analysis of the 2018 midterm elections finds considerable continuity in the voting patterns of several key religious groups. White evangelical or born-again Christians backed Republican candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives at about the same rate they did in 2014. Meanwhile, religiously unaffiliated voters (also known as religious “nones”) and Jewish voters once again backed Democratic candidates by large margins.

Three-quarters (75%) of white voters who describe themselves as evangelical or born-again Christians (a group that includes Protestants, Catholics and members of other faiths) voted for Republican House candidates in 2018, according to National Election Pool (NEP) exit poll data reported by NBC News. That is on par with the share who did so in midterm elections in 2014 (78%) and 2010 (77%).

In 2018 midterms, most white evangelical Christians continued to support Republican candidates; most religious 'nones' continued to back DemocratsAt the other end of the spectrum, seven-in-ten religious “nones” voted for the Democratic candidate in their congressional district, which is virtually identical to the share of religious “nones” who voted for Democratic candidates in 2014 and 2010. Roughly eight-in-ten Jewish voters (79%) cast their ballots for the Democrats, higher than the share who did so in 2014, but somewhat shy of 2006 levels. (Data on Jewish voters were not available in 2010.)

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Topics: Voter Participation, Elections and Campaigns, U.S. Political Parties, Religion and U.S. Politics, 2018 Election

Nov 7, 2018 12:30 pm

In 2016, emergency laws restricted religious freedoms of Muslims more than other groups

French police officers stand guard during an anti-terrorist operation in July 2016 in Argenteuil, in the northwestern suburbs of Paris. (Matthieu Alexandre/Getty Images)

Emergency laws entail the temporary suspension of normal judicial procedures and constitutional rights, typically in response to a national security threat. Depending on the circumstances, initial decrees can evolve into extended “states of emergency,” permitting governments to dramatically alter the protections normally extended to individuals and groups, including those defined by religion.

In 2016, seven countries – Turkey, Brunei, Ethiopia, France, Hungary, Niger and Tunisia – used emergency laws that restricted religion within their borders. While the official justifications for these measures varied, Pew Research Center’s latest annual religious restrictions study finds that across the seven countries, Muslims, more than any other religious group, were specifically targeted by law enforcement and security services acting in accordance with emergency laws. This fact, along with others, helped place five of these seven countries among the 105 nations, globally, where government restrictions on religion rose in 2016.

Religious restrictions, here, are defined in accordance with the Center’s annual Government Restrictions Index. The index is based on 20 indicators and uses a 10-point scale to rate countries as low, moderate, high or very high with regard to the overall level of religious restrictions.

Overall, government restrictions rose in 105 of the 198 countries the report examined, including in five of the seven countries that declared states of emergency. Additionally, the number of countries with “high” or “very high” levels of restrictions rose to 28% of the total in 2016, up from 25% in 2015.  Read More

Topics: Muslims and Islam, Religious Affiliation, Religion and Government, Restrictions on Religion

Nov 6, 2018 2:00 pm

Weekday elections set the U.S. apart from many other advanced democracies

A rally on Nov. 5 to get out the vote in St. Louis. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Many of the millions of Americans voting in Tuesday’s midterm elections will have to do so while working around the demands of their jobs – hitting their polling places before work, taking an extra-long lunch break or going afterward and hoping to make it before the polls close. As they stand in line, many of them may wonder why it is that the United States votes on a Tuesday, of all days. (To be fair, more than 38 million Americans already have voted early in person, by mail or by absentee ballot, according to a tally maintained by University of Florida political scientist Michael McDonald.)

The first law designating Election Day as the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November was passed back in 1845. At the time, every state except South Carolina was choosing its presidential electors by popular vote, and had considerable flexibility in deciding when to hold its elections. But as transportation and communications links between the states improved, concern grew that later-voting states could be influenced by the results in earlier-voting ones. (As the Congressional Globe wrote, paraphrasing one congressman’s remarks, “The object of this bill was to guard against frauds in the elections of President and Vice President, by declaring that they shall all be held on the same day.”)

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Topics: Voter Participation, Elections and Campaigns, Voting Issues, Democracy, 2018 Election

Nov 6, 2018 11:31 am

Republicans account for a small but steady share of U.S. Muslims

Stable share of U.S. Muslims identify with or lean RepublicanMany more U.S. Muslims identify with or lean toward the Democratic Party than the GOP (66% vs. 13%), but the share who are Republican has held steady over the last 10 years, including after the election of President Donald Trump, according to a new analysis of Pew Research Center survey data collected between 2007 and 2017.

In 2007, 11% of Muslims identified as Republican. The share changed very little in surveys conducted by the Center in 2011 (11%) and 2017 (13%).

Sizable shares of both Republican and Democratic Muslims are critical of the way both parties treat U.S. Muslims. Nearly six-in-ten Republicans (57%) and about half of Democrats (47%) say neither party is friendly toward Muslims in America.

This criticism may be one reason a relatively large share of Muslims neither identify with nor lean toward either party. Indeed, U.S. Muslims are twice as likely as the public overall to say they lean toward neither major political party (20% vs. 9%).

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Topics: Muslims and Islam, Religious Affiliation, Muslim Americans, U.S. Political Parties, Religion and U.S. Politics

Nov 5, 2018 3:02 pm

Liberal Democrats more likely than other groups to be politically active on social media

(Towfiqu Photography/Getty Images)

Many Americans have been politically active on social media, from encouraging others to take action to using issue-related hashtags. And liberal Democrats were more likely than other ideological and partisan groups to have engaged in these activities, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of survey data collected this summer.

Liberal Democrats use social media for key civically minded activities more than other groupsLiberal Democrats are especially likely to use social media to mobilize others or find like-minded groups. Some 44% of liberal Democrats say they have used these sites in the past year to encourage others to take action on an issue that was important to them, while a similar share (43%) have taken part in a group that shares their interest in a cause, according to a survey of U.S. adults conducted May 29-June 11, 2018. These shares fall to around a third or fewer among conservative or moderate Democrats and among conservative, moderate or liberal Republicans.  Read More

Topics: Social Media, Voter Participation, Internet Activities, 2018 Election, Political Issue Priorities

Nov 5, 2018 12:02 pm

In their own words: Why some people find voting difficult

People wait in line to vote on Nov. 8, 2016, at Public School 261 in New York City. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Voting widely viewed as important, but young people are less likely to say it’s convenientVoters are more enthusiastic about voting than in any midterm election in over 20 years of Pew Research Center polling. Still, millions of Americans will not exercise their right to vote on Tuesday.

When people are asked about their overall impressions of voting, there is a broad consensus that voting is “important.” But smaller majorities say it is “convenient,” “straightforward” or “exciting,” according to a new Pew Research Center survey on elections in America.

Young adults, in particular, are less likely than older people to say voting is convenient and exciting: 50% of adults younger than 30 say voting is convenient, while 49% say it is exciting. That compares with majorities in older age groups.  Read More

Topics: Voter Participation, Elections and Campaigns, 2018 Election

Nov 5, 2018 6:54 am

On global affairs, Americans have more confidence in other world leaders than in Trump

German Chancellor Angela Merkel with U.S. President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the G-7 summit in Charlevoix, Canada, in June. Close behind are French President Emmanuel Macron, left, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. (Jesco Denzel/Bundesregierung via Getty Images)

Americans have more confidence in the leaders of France, Japan and Germany to do the right thing regarding world affairs than they have in U.S. President Donald Trump, according to a Pew Research Center poll conducted earlier this year.

Majorities in the U.S. view French President Emmanuel Macron, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and German Chancellor Angela Merkel with confidence, while about half (48%) are confident that Trump will do the right thing internationally.

Still, Americans are more likely than others around the world to have confidence in Trump: Across 25 other surveyed nations, a median of just 27% have confidence in the U.S. president.

Of the seven leaders tested in the survey, Americans have the lowest levels of confidence in Russian President Vladimir Putin, with about one-in-five (21%) saying he will do the right thing in world affairs. Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi receive equivalent ratings: About four-in-ten (39%) in the U.S. have confidence in each.  Read More

Topics: Non-U.S. Political Leaders, Foreign Affairs and Policy, Donald Trump

Nov 2, 2018 3:00 pm

Hispanic voters more engaged in 2018 than in previous midterms

Latino voters are more engaged in this midterm electionMore Hispanic registered voters say they have given “quite a lot” of thought to the upcoming midterm elections compared with four years ago and are more enthusiastic to vote this year than in previous congressional elections. But they lag behind the general public on some measures of voter engagement, according to recent Pew Research Center surveys.

Overall, 52% of Latino registered voters say they have given the coming November election “quite a lot” of thought, a 16-percentage-point increase from what they said about the last midterm election in 2014. In addition, a majority (55%) of Latino registered voters in 2018 say they are more enthusiastic about voting compared with previous congressional elections, up from 37% in 2014.

However, Hispanic voters are less likely than all U.S. voters to say they know about the congressional candidates in their district (47% vs. 59%, respectively). Also, one-third of Hispanic voters (33%) say “voting by people like me doesn’t really affect how government runs things,” while 25% of all U.S. voters say this. (Among those eligible to vote but not registered, 53% of Hispanics and 47% of the general public say the same.)

More than 29 million Hispanics are eligible to vote, a new high, up 4 million from 2014. (Eligible voters are U.S. citizens ages 18 years and older.) However, Hispanic voter turnout has long trailed that of other groups. In 2014, an estimated 27% of Hispanic eligible voters cast a ballot, a record low and far below the turnout rate among black voters (41%) and white voters (46%).

This year’s election comes at a time when most Latinos have grown dissatisfied with the nation’s direction and have more concerns about their place in American society. They also overwhelmingly disapprove of the president’s performance and see his administration’s policies as harmful to Latinos. Even so, not all Latinos feel the same way. Latino Republicans are generally more upbeat than Latino Democrats on these measures. Similar shares of both groups say they have given quite a lot of thought to the upcoming election and say they are more enthusiastic to vote than in previous congressional elections.  Read More

Topics: Hispanic/Latino Vote, Voter Demographics, Voter Participation, 2018 Election

Nov 2, 2018 11:04 am

Newsroom employees are less diverse than U.S. workers overall

Journalists at work at the Orange County Register newsroom in Santa Ana, California, in 2016. (Leonard Ortiz/Digital First Media/Orange County Register via Getty Images)

Newsroom employees are more likely to be white and male than U.S. workers overall. There are signs, though, of a turning tide: Younger newsroom employees show greater racial, ethnic and gender diversity than their older colleagues, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data.

More than three-quarters (77%) of newsroom employees – those who work as reporters, editors, photographers and videographers in the newspaper, broadcasting and internet publishing industries – are non-Hispanic whites, according to the analysis of 2012-2016 American Community Survey data. That is true of 65% of U.S. workers in all occupations and industries combined.

Newsroom employees are also more likely than workers overall to be male. About six-in-ten newsroom employees (61%) are men, compared with 53% of all workers. When combining race/ethnicity and gender, almost half (48%) of newsroom employees are non-Hispanic white men compared with about a third (34%) of workers overall.  Read More

Topics: Newsroom Investment and Resources, Work and Employment, Race and Ethnicity, News Media Sectors