Sep 26, 2016 12:15 pm

Among 41 nations, U.S. is the outlier when it comes to paid parental leave

In almost half of two-parent households, both parents now work full-time, and in 40% of all families with children, the mother is the sole or primary breadwinner. At the same time, fathers – virtually all of whom are in the labor force – are taking on more child care responsibilities, as fatherhood has grown to encompass far more than just bringing home the bacon.

Despite these transformations, the U.S. is the only country among 41 nations that does not mandate any paid leave for new parents, according to data compiled by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The smallest amount of paid leave required in any of the other 40 nations is about two months.

In comparison, Estonia offers more than a year and a half of paid leave to new parents – by far the highest benefit mandated by any of the countries represented. A number of other countries – Bulgaria, Hungary, Japan, Lithuania, Austria, Czech Republic, Latvia, Norway and Slovakia – offer over a year’s worth of paid leave, as well.

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Topics: Family and Relationships, Family Roles, Gender, Household and Family Structure, Parenthood, Work and Employment

Sep 26, 2016 10:15 am

5 facts about the Supreme Court

James Peck of Springfield, Virginia, lays flowers down at a makeshift memorial for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia on Sunday February 14, 2016, in Washington, D.C. Photo by Matt McClain/ The Washington Post via Getty Images
James Peck of Springfield, Virginia, places flowers at a makeshift memorial for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia a day after Scalia’s death in February. (Matt McClain/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

The Supreme Court holds a unique place in American government. Sitting justices do not have set terms, and they can influence public policy long after the presidents who nominated them and the senators who confirmed them have departed. Partisans have often battled over these nominations because of the court’s ability to reshape or strike down laws favored by one side or another.

The politics surrounding court appointments has been apparent since the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February. President Obama nominated federal appellate court justice Merrick B. Garland to replace him, but Republicans in the Senate said they would not hold hearings or a vote on any nomination until after the next president was elected.

As the court’s new term gets underway, here are five facts on how Americans view the Supreme Court.

1Americans’ opinions of the court hit a 30-year low last year after controversial decisions, but have rebounded after a quieter term. In July 2015, 43% of Americans regarded the Supreme Court unfavorably – a 30-year high – while 48% had a positive opinion. At the time, views of the court were strongly linked to how Americans felt about the court’s upholding of the Affordable Care Act and legalization of same-sex marriage. This year, with the court short a justice, there were fewer high-profile decisions, and Americans’ views of the court have improved. In August, 60% had a favorable view, while just 32% saw the court unfavorably, back in line with the generally positive opinions found before 2015.  Read More

Category: 5 Facts

Topics: Political Attitudes and Values, Political Polarization, Supreme Court, U.S. Political Parties

Sep 26, 2016 7:00 am

Americans wary of using chip implants to boost brain power for the healthy

Thanks to scientific advancements, brain chip implants are already being tested in individuals to help them cope with an injury or ailment. But when it comes to the potential use of such implants to give an already healthy and capable person abilities that they do not currently have, Americans are more wary than enthusiastic.

Some 54% of U.S. adults foresee a future where computer chips will routinely be embedded in our bodies. But as with other kinds of potential human enhancements, a recent Pew Research Center survey found that more Americans are worried about the idea of an implanted brain chip (69%) than are enthusiastic (34%). And a minority of U.S. adults – 32% – would want this implanted device for themselves.

Several factors help explain people’s views about emerging technologies and their potential use to augment human abilities. Opinions about implanting devices often hinge on whether the effects would be permanent and irreversible. Asked specifically about the possibility that the effects of an implanted brain chip would be permanent, about half of U.S. adults (51%) say this would make the idea less acceptable to them.

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Topics: Emerging Technology Impacts, Health, Religion and Society, Religious Affiliation, Science and Innovation, Technology Adoption

Sep 23, 2016 2:33 pm

Ahead of debates, many voters don’t know much about where Trump, Clinton stand on major issues

The first presidential debate Monday night offers Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton an opportunity to explain their positions on important issues facing the country. Two months after the party conventions, only about half of voters (48%) say they know “a lot” about where Clinton stands on important issues, while even fewer (41%) say this about Trump.

A new Pew Research Center survey of 1,000 U.S. adults, including 802 registered voters, conducted Sept. 15-18, 2016, finds that overall interest in the debates is similar to levels in recent elections: 60% of voters say they are very likely to watch the upcoming debates, while another 19% say they are somewhat likely to watch.

When it comes to knowing where the candidates stand on major issues facing the nation, voters say they know more about Clinton’s positions than Trump’s: 48% know a lot, 32% some, and just 18% know not much or nothing about Clinton’s stances. By contrast, voters are 12 percentage points more likely to say they know little or nothing about Trump’s positions (30%), while 41% say they know a lot and 27% know some.

Republicans and independents who lean toward the Republican Party are roughly twice as likely as Democrats and Democratic leaners to say they know a lot about where Trump stands on important issues (58% vs. 30%). Nearly four-in-ten Democrats (39%) say they know little or nothing about where he stands.

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Topics: 2016 Election, Political Issue Priorities, U.S. Political Parties, Voter Participation

Sep 23, 2016 7:00 am

Many evangelicals favor Trump because he is not Clinton

Throughout the primaries and general election campaign, many observers have expressed puzzlement at the support for Donald Trump among white evangelical Protestant voters. Why would evangelicals rally behind a thrice-married candidate who is not widely viewed as particularly religious and whose views on the issues have not always aligned with the preferences of most evangelical voters?

A new Pew Research Center survey gave Trump supporters the chance to describe, in their own words, the reasons they support him over his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton. Like other Trump backers, many evangelical voters are motivated as much by opposition to Clinton as by support for Trump. Indeed, 35% of white evangelical voters who support Trump mentioned that they do so at least in part because he is not Clinton. (The survey also asked Clinton supporters why they favor her candidacy, and about one-third cited Trump as a main reason they back her.)

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Topics: 2016 Election, Evangelical Protestants and Evangelicalism, Political Attitudes and Values, Political Polarization

Sep 22, 2016 3:15 pm

A political profile of disabled Americans

Election watchers and pollsters focus on any number of subgroups, from white born-again women to first-generation Latinos to men without college degrees. But one group that’s not often singled out in surveys is Americans with disabilities, even though they are as engaged with the election as the general public. The potential of the disabled as a voting bloc has also attracted attention in this year’s campaign.

To be sure, there are many kinds of disabilities, and not all Americans with disabilities are alike. Here, we look at whether and how Americans who self-identify as having a disability differ from those who do not in terms of the 2016 election.

Overall, Americans with disabilities have thought about the upcoming election and care about who wins at rates similar to Americans without disabilities. However, on the whole, those with disabilities are less likely to turn out to vote on Election Day as they face a number of obstacles to voting.

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Topics: 2016 Election, Demographics, Health, Political Party Affiliation, Voter Demographics, Voter Participation

Sep 22, 2016 12:20 pm

More say press is too easy on Trump than said so of Romney, McCain

Throughout the 2016 presidential race, the Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton campaigns have decried the news media for treating them too harshly. Americans, however, don’t seem to agree. Only a slim minority thinks the news media’s coverage of Trump and Clinton is too tough, a view the public also held in previous general elections.

In fact, more Americans say the media are too easy on Trump than said so of the Republican nominees in both 2012 and 2008. As for Clinton, views of whether she is being treated too easily tend to be more similar to recent election cycles.

Almost three-in-ten Americans (27%) feel that Trump is treated too easily by the media, according to a Pew Research Center survey of 1,000 adults conducted Sept. 15-18, 2016. That’s more than said so of Mitt Romney in 2012 (20%), and nearly twice the share who said so of John McCain in 2008 (15%).  Read More

Topics: 2016 Election, Election News, Elections and Campaigns, News Media Ethics and Practices, News Media Trends, Political Party Affiliation, U.S. Political Figures

Sep 21, 2016 1:50 pm

Unauthorized immigrant population stable for half a decade

An estimated 11.1 million unauthorized immigrants lived in the U.S. in 2014, according to a new Pew Research Center estimate based on government data. This population has remained essentially stable since 2009 after nearly two decades of changes.

The recent overall stability contrasts with past trends. The unauthorized immigrant population rose rapidly during the 1990s and early 2000s, from an estimated 3.5 million in 1990 to a peak of 12.2 million in 2007. It then dropped sharply during the Great Recession of 2007-09, mainly because of a decrease in unauthorized immigrants from Mexico. The number of unauthorized immigrants from Mexico continued to decline from 2009 to 2014, but that decrease was roughly offset by an increase in unauthorized immigrants from other parts of the world, mainly Asia, Central America and sub-Saharan Africa.

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Topics: Immigration, Immigration Trends, Migration, Population Trends, Unauthorized Immigration

Sep 21, 2016 12:00 pm

The state of privacy in post-Snowden America

After the June 2013 leaks by government contractor Edward Snowden about National Security Agency surveillance of Americans’ online and phone communications, Pew Research Center began an in-depth exploration of people’s views and behaviors related to privacy. Our report earlier this year about how Americans think about privacy and sharing personal information was a capstone of this two-and-a-half-year effort that examined how people viewed not only government surveillance but also commercial transactions involving the capture of personal information.

Soon after the Snowden leaks surfaced, Americans were almost equally divided in a 2014 survey over whether the leaks had served or harmed the public interest. And, at that time, a majority of Americans believed Snowden should be prosecuted. (A campaign, led by the American Civil Liberties Union, has since been organized to seek a pardon for him.)

However much the Snowden revelations may have contributed to the debate over privacy versus anti-terrorism efforts, Americans today – after a series of terrorist events at home and abroad – are more concerned that anti-terrorist programs don’t go far enough than they are about restrictions on civil liberties. An August-September survey found that Americans held that view by a 49% to 33% margin.

In this digital age, Americans’ awareness and concerns over issues of privacy also extend beyond the kinds of surveillance programs revealed by Snowden and include how their information is treated by companies with which they do business. Our research also has explored that subject in depth. Here are some of the important findings that emerged from this work:  Read More

Topics: National Security, Online Privacy and Safety

Sep 21, 2016 7:00 am

Presidential approval a stronger indicator of voter choice than satisfaction with the country

It may seem at first glance like a political riddle: How can President Obama’s job approval rating be above 50% when only about a third of the public is satisfied with the way things are going in the country?

In a survey last month by Pew Research Center, 53% approved of Obama’s job performance while 42% disapproved. In three of four surveys since March, Obama’s job approval has been in positive territory – the first time this has occurred in more than three years.

But just 31% said they were satisfied with the way things were going in the U.S., while more than twice as many (66%) were dissatisfied. Public satisfaction with the state of the nation has been very low for many years. In fact, it has not consistently reached 50% since late in Bill Clinton’s administration.

National satisfaction and presidential job approval are both important measures of the public’s mood, but they measure different things. And when it comes to which presidential candidate people plan to vote for in November, presidential approval is a much stronger indicator than satisfaction with the state of the nation. This also was the case in 2008 and 2000, the last elections with no incumbent.  Read More

Topics: 2016 Election, Barack Obama, Political Party Affiliation, Political Polarization, Presidential Approval