Jul 21, 2014 7:00 am

How statehouse reporting power compares with a state’s population

A new Pew Research Center report found a decline in the ranks of newspaper reporters covering government from some of the most important venues in the U.S.—the 50 state capitol buildings. Our data also revealed that one key indicator of the size of a statehouse press corps is state population, with eight of the 10 most populous states—California, Texas, New York, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan—ranking in the top 10 in the number of full-time reporters.

But there is another way to look at the relationship between statehouse reporting power and population. The color-coded interactive map (below) ranks states by the number of statehouse reporters for every 500,000 residents. And by that measure, the results are very different.


News Reporting Power Varies Across 50 Statehouses

Click on a state to see its number of full-time statehouse reporters per 500,000 residents

Source: Pew Research Center, U.S. Census Bureau, Council of State Governments Book of the States 2013. Table of Data


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Topics: Newsroom Investment and Resources, State and Local Government

Jul 18, 2014 10:30 am

Chart of the Week: The black-white gap in incarceration rates

incarceration1

Fifty years after President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the 1964 Civil Rights Act into law, there still remains gaps between blacks and whites on many social and economic measures. Our Chart of the Week looks at one of them: the higher incarceration rates of black men compared with those of white men.

The above graphic from the Washington Post’s Wonkblog shows that black men in their prime working years, especially those without a high school diploma, are much more likely to be in jail than white men are.

While institutionalization rates rose for both blacks and whites from 1980 to 2000, it was especially sharp among the less educated black men – rising from 10% in 1980 for those ages 20 to 24 to 30% in 2000. In 2010, the institutionalization rate for this group dropped to 26%, but, as was the case in 2000, they were more likely to be institutionalized than they were to be employed (19% employment rate in 2010). Institutionalization and employment trends were similar, if not more dramatic, for black men with no high school diploma ages 25 to 29.

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Category: Chart of the Week

Topics: Race and Ethnicity, Socioeconomic Class

Jul 17, 2014 9:13 am

How many people of different faiths do you know?

Personal experiences with religious groups vary in the U.S., according to a new Pew Research Center surveyGiven the wide variety of faith groups in the United States, it would seem natural that most Americans know someone of a religion different from their own. With that in mind, we recently asked members of the Pew Research Center’s new American Trends Panel whether they personally know members of other religious groups.

We found that a big majority of Americans (87%) say they know someone who is Catholic – perhaps not surprising, given that as of 2012, 22% of U.S. adults were Catholic.  Somewhat fewer Americans (70%) say they know an evangelical Christian, even though nearly a third of U.S. adults (32%) describe themselves as born-again or evangelical Christians.

The percentage of Americans who know members of smaller religious groups varies widely, with little apparent relation to the actual size of the group. For example, Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus each comprise about 1% or less of the U.S. population, but many more Americans say they know a Muslim (38%) than a Buddhist (23%) or a Hindu (22%).

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Topics: Buddhists and Buddhism, Catholics and Catholicism, Hindus and Hinduism, Jews and Judaism, Mormons and Mormonism, Religion and Society, Religious Beliefs and Practices, Religiously Unaffiliated

Jul 16, 2014 2:37 pm

U.S. evangelical Christians are chilly toward atheists – and the feeling is mutual

White Evangelical Protestants, Atheists Give Each Other Cold RatingsThe feelings that members of America’s religious groups have about one another run from warm to neutral to cold, but some of the chilliest attitudes found in a new Pew Research Center survey were between evangelicals and atheists.

We asked Americans to rate eight religious groups on a “feeling thermometer” from 0 to 100, with higher numbers indicating warmer, more positive feelings and lower numbers indicating colder, more negative feelings. On average, Catholics give atheists a rating of 38, and Protestants give them a frosty 32 – lower than either group’s ratings for Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, Mormons or Muslims. White evangelical Protestants express particularly cold feelings toward atheists, with an average thermometer reading of 25.

For their part, atheists are similarly chilly toward evangelical Christians, who receive an average rating of 28 from atheists. (Respondents were asked to rate “evangelical Christians” on the feeling thermometer. White evangelical Protestants analyzed here are a subset of this group.) Overall, atheists express somewhat more positive feelings toward Catholics (47). Atheists give Hindus a relatively warm rating of 58, Jews a 61 and Buddhists a toasty 69. Granted, these groups are, like atheists, small minorities in the United States, and atheists may feel especially close to Buddhism because it often is viewed as a nontheistic religion that does not require belief in a divine creator. Some mutual warmth between atheists and Jews also is apparent: While atheists give Jews a 61, Jews give atheists a 55 – the warmest rating that atheists get from any group other than agnostics, those who claim no particular religion and atheists themselves.

While a number of religious groups harbored cool feelings toward atheists, Muslims are the only religious group that received uniformly negative ratings of 50 degrees or fewer from all the groups large enough to analyze. (The survey’s nationwide sample of 3,217 adults does not include enough Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims or Mormons to be able to tell how members of those faiths feel toward U.S. religious groups.)  Read More

Topics: Buddhists and Buddhism, Catholics and Catholicism, Evangelical Protestants and Evangelicalism, Hindus and Hinduism, Jews and Judaism, Mormons and Mormonism, Religion and Society, Religious Beliefs and Practices, Religiously Unaffiliated

Jul 16, 2014 1:00 pm

Obama viewed as more caring than Bush, but no more effective

Obama vs. Bush Approval RatingsA new Pew Research Center survey finds that President Barack Obama’s overall approval rating has held steady at 44%, even as he receives low marks for his handling of the surge of undocumented child immigrants at the U.S. border.

While Obama’s job rating has been below 50% for the past year, it stands eight points higher than that of his predecessor, George W. Bush, at a comparable point eight years ago. In July 2006, 36% approved of Bush’s job performance.

Obama, Bush Presidential QualitiesObama gets much higher marks than his predecessor for empathy and honesty. But his ratings on leadership and his ability to get things done are about the same as Bush’s at about this point in his second term.

In the current survey, 54% say Obama “cares about people like me” and 51% consider him “trustworthy.” By comparison, in the summer of 2006 – a year after Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast – fewer said Bush cared about people like them (41%) and was trustworthy (41%).

In August 2006, 42% said Bush was “able to get things done,” while 51% said he was not able to get things done. Perceptions of Obama are nearly identical (44% can get things done, 53% cannot).

Similarly, 43% called Bush a strong leader in the summer of 2006, little different from the 47% who say this about Obama today.  Read More

Topics: Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Presidential Approval

Jul 16, 2014 7:00 am

How North Dakota’s ‘man rush’ compares with past population booms

The vast amounts of oil extracted from Bakken shale in recent years, much of it in North Dakota, has helped the United States become the world’s top oil producer. The state has added about 100,000 workers since 2009, and the unemployment rate (2.6%) is well below the national average.

The fact that nearly all oil workers are men has received much attention. Indeed, recent census figures show that North Dakota led the nation in population growth over the past five years, at 12%, and men have accounted for two-thirds of it. From 2009 to 2013, the number of men in North Dakota increased by 14% (46,000), compared with a 9% increase among women (30,000).  Read More

Topics: Energy and Environment, Population Geography, Population Trends

Jul 15, 2014 1:41 pm

The demographics and politics of gun-owning households

FT_14.07.10_GunsAmericans with young children in their home are just as likely as other adults to have a gun in their household, according to newly released survey data from the Pew Research Center.

Overall, about a third of all Americans with children under 18 at home have a gun in their household, including  34% of families with children younger than 12. That’s nearly identical to the share of childless adults or those with older children who have a firearm at home.

The new research also suggests a paradox: While blacks are significantly more likely than whites to be gun homicide victims, blacks are only about half as likely as whites to have a firearm in their home (41% vs. 19%). Hispanics are less likely than blacks to be gun homicide victims and half as likely as whites to have a gun at home (20%).

To examine the demographic and political characteristics of gun-owners and their households, we examined data from the new Pew Research Center American Trends Panel survey of 3,243 adults conducted April 29-May 27, including 1,196 who said they or someone in their household owned a gun, pistol or rifle.

All respondents in the nationally representative panel had been interviewed in an earlier Pew Research poll and agreed to participate in future surveys. Margin of sampling error for the overall results is plus or minus 2.3 percentage points and plus or minus 3.7 percentage points for results based only on those in gun-owning households.

The survey results also would appear to challenge the conventional wisdom that gun ownership is far more prevalent in the South. According to the survey, southerners are just about as likely as those living in the Midwest or the West to have a gun at home (38% vs. 35% and 34%, respectively). The regional exception: Households in the northeastern United States, where gun prevalence is significantly lower (27%) than in other parts of the country. Read More

Topics: Gun Control

Jul 15, 2014 9:00 am

Which countries don’t like America and which do

Sacré bleu! France makes the list of top 10 fans of the U.S. and Germany makes the list of the top 10 critics.

A decade ago anti-Americanism was on the rise around the world, in large part thanks to public opposition to the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Today, despite recent revelations of U.S. National Security Agency spying on foreign leaders and global opposition to U.S. drone strikes, there is little evidence of profound anti-Americanism except in a handful of countries, according to a new Pew Research Center survey of 44 nations. Foreigners’ love affair with the United States remains strong in Africa and most of Asia, Europe and Latin America. But who likes Uncle Sam, who doesn’t and whose affections are evolving paints a pretty accurate road map of the overseas challenges facing Washington in the years ahead.

10 Biggest Critics and Fans of the U.S.Anti-Americanism is particularly strong today in the Middle East. In Egypt only 10% of the public favor the United States, which long backed the regime of Hosni Mubarak and failed to oppose the military overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood government that succeeded him. Support is not much higher in Jordan (12%) and Turkey (19%), both countries that are notionally Washington’s allies. Those not-so-warm feelings for America have fallen 17 percentage points in Egypt and 13 points in Jordan since 2009, the first year of the Obama administration, when there appeared to be some hope in those nations that Uncle Sam would pursue policies more to their liking.

In addition, less than a quarter of Russians (23%) have a positive view of America, whose image is down 28 points in just the last year, a casualty of Washington’s opposition to Moscow’s intervention in Ukraine. Read More

Topics: Country Image, U.S. Global Image and Anti-Americanism

Jul 15, 2014 7:00 am

At the statehouse, ideological press tries to fill a void in news coverage

Ideological Statehouse Reporter BreakdownWhen the bottom fell out of the news industry during the recession, many newspapers cut their reporting power in statehouse press rooms, abandoning desks and pulling journalists from a beat that dailies had long dominated.

Just as quickly, other organizations moved to fill the void. Among them: groups with stated points of view.

A new Pew Research study identified 33 ideological outlets that assign reporters to cover state government.  These outlets clearly state an underlying political philosophy, often on their websites. Most of them identify themselves as supporters of a “free market” or “limited government.” One says it provides “news for Republicans, by Republicans.” Just one identifies itself as “progressive.”

Ideological organizations cover state government in 25 states across the country. (Florida has the most ideological outlets, with three.)  They assign 53 reporters to statehouses, about one-third of them (17) full time and year round. The rest cover the statehouse part time (19) or during legislative sessions only (15). Two others are college students. Read More

Topics: News Media Sectors, News Sources, Newsroom Investment and Resources

Jul 14, 2014 2:01 pm

5 key takeaways on global views of the U.S. and China

As new revelations about America’s electronic surveillance efforts continue to emerge, a new Pew Research Center survey finds widespread opposition around the world to U.S. eavesdropping. Still, America’s overall image remains mostly positive. At the same time, however, people see the global balance of power shifting, with China on the rise, and the U.S. in relative decline.

Here are five key takeaways on how the world views the U.S., China, and the superpower competition between the two major rivals.

In nearly all 43 countries surveyed outside the U.S., majorities say the U.S. shouldn’t intercept communications from foreign leaders or foreign citizens.1People around the world don’t want the U.S. eavesdropping on their leaders or their citizens – or for that matter, on American citizens. In nearly all 43 countries surveyed outside the U.S., majorities say the U.S. shouldn’t intercept communications from foreign leaders or foreign citizens. And most tend to believe the U.S. government shouldn’t listen in on American citizens either. Moreover, the revelations about U.S. spying by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden seem to have had an impact on America’s reputation for respecting individual liberty – in 22 of 36 countries polled this year and last, fewer people now believe the U.S. government respects the personal freedom of its people.

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Topics: Global Balance of Power, Globalization and Trade, National Security, U.S. Global Image and Anti-Americanism