Jan 29, 2015 1:55 pm

Why Pew Research Center is going deeper on science

Scientists and their work have an important place in every major aspect of American life.

Many Americans hope that advances in science will improve people’s lives and enhance the economy. They are anxious to understand what innovations will disrupt existing daily activities and business routines. Policy arguments about science-related issues have held center stage in the Obama era, starting with protracted debates over medical care and health insurance and extending into concerns over energy and the environment, policies around food, challenges created by digital technology disruptions, and whether educators are preparing today’s K-12 students for a future with greater requirements for science and math literacy. Read More

Topics: Research Methodology, Science and Innovation

Jan 29, 2015 1:55 pm

5 key findings on what Americans and scientists think about science

Scientific innovation and discovery touches all aspects of American life, from medical care to the food we eat and the technologies we rely on in our daily activities.

A report released Thursday by the Pew Research Center allows us to compare views on a range of specific topics between the American public and U.S. scientists connected with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). The study marks the center’s new initiative to study the intersection of public opinion, science and all aspects of society.

Here are five key takeaways: Read More

Topics: Science and Innovation

Jan 29, 2015 10:18 am

The political divide on views toward Muslims and Islam

republicans democrats feelings towards muslimsHow much does politics factor into Americans’ perceptions of Muslims and Islam?

A survey conducted by the Pew Research Center in 2014 shows that people who identify as Republicans or say they lean toward the Republican Party have more negative views of Muslims than do their Democratic counterparts.

Asked to rate a series of religious groups on a “feeling thermometer” from zero (the coldest) to 100 (the warmest), Republicans gave Muslims an average of 33 – comparable to their average rating for atheists (34) and significantly lower than any other religious group.

Democrats’ average rating for Muslims was a more neutral 47. Still, Democrats’ ratings for Muslims were lower than for most other religious groups. Among eight groups tested, only atheists (46 average rating) and Mormons (44) rated as low.

As for American Muslims, they aren’t feeling much warmth from the GOP. A separate, 2011 survey found that 15% of Muslims said that they see the Republican Party as friendly toward their community while 48% said they are unfriendly. By contrast, 46% of Muslims said the Democratic Party is friendly toward them and only 7% said they are unfriendly.

Party affiliation is not the only factor that correlates with differing views toward Muslims and Islam. Younger U.S. adults of all ideological stripes feel more warmly toward Muslims than do older Americans. On the feeling thermometer, those ages 65 and older gave Muslims an average rating of 32 – they don’t rate any group more negatively – while Americans ages 18-29, on average, rated Muslims more positively, at 49. Read More

Topics: Muslim Americans, Muslims and Islam, U.S. Political Parties

Jan 29, 2015 7:00 am

Is Europe on board for a new trade deal with the U.S.?

europe support for ttip germany france ukAmerican and European officials meet February 2 in Brussels for another round of negotiations aimed at creating a free trade agreement between the European Union and the United States. The proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) aims to remove most tariffs affecting the movement of goods across the Atlantic, reduce non-tariff regulatory barriers to transatlantic commerce and to spur more U.S.-EU cross-border investment.

But it has sparked criticism, with both EU and U.S. opponents claiming that TTIP may give too much power to corporations, especially foreign investors, and that it could undermine food safety and environmental standards, lowering U.S. chemical regulations and forcing Europeans to consume genetically-modified American foods and chlorinated chickens. Read More

Topics: Globalization and Trade

Jan 28, 2015 4:10 pm

How to access Pew Research Center survey data

Earlier in January, the Pew Research Center released the full dataset from our largest study ever conducted on U.S. politics, the 2014 Political Polarization and Typology survey, to make it available to researchers.

For the study, we interviewed 10,013 adults on landline and cellphones. The dataset includes more than 150 measures of political attitudes and behavior, plus a complete set of demographic variables. It also has the full series of political-values items asked on Pew Research Center surveys dating back to 1994; the summary measures of ideological consistency and typology group membership constructed using these items; and measures of partisan animosity and political engagement used in the center’s reports released in 2014.

There are two ways to locate and download this and any other Pew Research Center dataset. Each research area at the center has a “Datasets” or “Data and Resources” section with the available data listed in reverse chronological order by when the survey was fielded: Read More

Topics: Research Methodology

Jan 28, 2015 1:52 pm

Budget deficit dropping, but public still concerned

US BudgetThere’s some good news and some bad news in the Congressional Budget Office’s new budget outlook. While the $467.5 billion deficit projection for fiscal 2015 is the lowest since 2007, the nonpartisan agency predicts higher deficits in the years to come.

As it stands, this year’s deficit is equivalent to 2.6% of U.S. gross domestic product and contributes to the public debt of $12.97 trillion and counting.

The public’s concerns about reducing the deficit have varied over the past two decades, according to the Pew Research Center’s annual policy priorities surveys. At the start of the Obama administration in 2009 – with that year’s debt ($1.4 trillion) at nearly 10% of GDP – just 53% of the public said reducing the budget deficit should be a top priority for Congress and the president. But the share citing deficit reduction as a top priority spiked to 72% in 2013 before dropping to 64% in a survey earlier this month. Terrorism (76%) and the economy (75%) are the public’s top concerns of 2015. Read More

Topics: Government Spending and the Deficit, Political Issue Priorities

Jan 27, 2015 12:00 pm

Greek election reflects country’s differences with the EU

Syriza's leader Alexis Tsipras signs a book as he is sworn in as Greek Prime Minister at the Presidential Palace in Athens on January 26, 2015.
Alexis Tsipras, leader of Greece’s Syriza party, signs a book as he is sworn in as Greek Prime Minister in Athens. (ARIS MESSINIS/AFP/Getty Images)

The outcome of the Greek parliamentary election Sunday, which gave power to Syriza, the left-wing, anti-austerity party that has pledged to restructure Greece’s crushing government debt, should have come as no surprise given the views of the Greek public about the European Union. Likewise, other Europeans’ views of Greeks suggest the difficulty the new government in Athens faces in getting a better deal from its European partners.

1 Greeks have little regard for the EU. Only about a third of Greeks have a positive view of the EU, according to a spring 2014 Pew Research Center survey. Just 17% think that European economic integration has been good for Greece.

2 Despite their frustrations with the EU, and in the face of speculation that restructuring of Greek debt could lead to abandonment of the common European currency, 69% of Greeks want to keep the euro and not return to the drachma.

Read More

Topics: Europe, Western Europe, World Economies

Jan 27, 2015 10:00 am

What LGBT Americans think of same-sex marriage

Nearly all LGBT Americans support same-sex marriage, but enthusiasm for this new legal change now under review by the U.S. Supreme Court isn’t as uniform as one might think. While the rising level of support for same-sex marriage among the general public is well known and now stands at 52%, less known are the views among the country’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender adults.

Here are some key facts: Read More

Category: 5 Facts

Topics: Gay Marriage and Homosexuality

Jan 27, 2015 7:00 am

2015 is shaping up to be a significant year for religion at the Supreme Court

Supreme Court Meets In Closed Conference To Decide On Hearing Same-Sex Marriage Cases From Several States
(Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Often, the U.S. Supreme Court considers only one religion-related case each year. But 2015 could shape up to be a particularly active and influential year when it comes to religious liberties issues.

Last week, the Supreme Court handed down an important decision expanding the religious liberty rights of prisoners. But it’s just the first of three religion-related cases that the justices could weigh in on before the term ends this summer.

In the coming weeks, the high court will hear arguments in a case involving religion in the workplace, and the justices also will decide whether to hear another challenge to the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate – this time from religiously affiliated nonprofits.  Read More

Topics: Death Penalty, Gay Marriage and Homosexuality, Religion and Society, Supreme Court

Jan 26, 2015 7:00 am

Despite progress, U.S. still lags many nations in women leaders

how us compares to world women leadersWomen now make up 20% of both the House and Senate — a record high for the U.S. Congress. But that figure pales in comparison with most of its high-income peer nations — and lags even farther behind most lower-income nations around the world. Read More

Topics: Congress, Gender, International Governments and Institutions, Non-U.S. Political Leaders