Oct 9, 2018 2:00 pm

Most Americans view openness to foreigners as ‘essential to who we are as a nation’

Large majority views openness to people outside U.S. as 'essential'For a large majority of Americans, the country’s openness to people from around the world “is essential to who we are as a nation.” In a new Pew Research Center survey, 68% say America’s openness to foreigners is a defining characteristic of the nation, while just 26% say “if America is too open to people from all over the world, we risk losing our identity as a nation.”

The belief that openness to people from around the world is essential is widely shared across most demographic groups. However, Democrats and younger people are considerably more likely than others to hold this view, according to the national survey, conducted Sept. 18-24 among 1,754 adults.

Among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, an overwhelming share (85%) thinks America’s openness is essential to who we are as a nation. Republicans and Republican leaners are divided: 47% say America’s openness is essential, while 44% say being too open carries with it the risk of losing our identity as a nation. These views are virtually unchanged from the last time the Center asked this question in summer 2017.

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Topics: Immigration Attitudes, U.S. Political Parties, Immigration, Political Attitudes and Values, Race and Ethnicity, National and Cultural Identity

Oct 9, 2018 7:00 am

How the world views the U.S. and its president in 9 charts

America’s global image today is complicated. On balance, people around the world continue to give the United States favorable ratings and say it respects the individual liberties of its people. More countries also prefer the U.S. as the world’s leading power over China. At the same time, many express frustration about America’s role in the world and say they have little confidence in President Donald Trump to do the right thing in world affairs, according to a new Pew Research Center survey of 25 nations.

Here are nine charts that show how people in these countries see the U.S. and its president:

1Western Europeans have strikingly negative views of Trump. In the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Spain – four nations the Center has consistently surveyed over the past 15 years – there is a clear pattern in public perceptions of U.S. presidents. People in these countries generally had little confidence in President George W. Bush to do the right thing regarding world affairs. Their confidence was much higher in Bush’s successor, President Barack Obama, but it plunged following Trump’s election in 2016. This year, confidence in Trump remains low in Germany, France and Spain – but it is up slightly in the UK. Of the 25 countries surveyed, a median of 70% lack confidence in Trump to do the right thing regarding world affairs.

2Views of the U.S. are favorable on balance, but concerns are evident. Across the 25 countries surveyed, a median of 50% have a favorable opinion of the U.S., while 43% have an unfavorable view. Likewise, a median of 51% say the U.S. respects the personal freedoms of its people, compared with 37% who say it does not. However, there is international concern about America’s role in world affairs. Large majorities say the U.S. doesn’t take the interests of other countries into account when making foreign policy decisions. Also, a global median of 37% believe the U.S. is doing less to help address major global problems than it used to.  Read More

Topics: U.S. Global Image and Anti-Americanism, International Threats and Allies, Foreign Affairs and Policy, Country Image, Donald Trump

Oct 8, 2018 10:57 am

About six-in-ten Americans support marijuana legalization

U.S. public opinion on legalizing marijuana, 1969-2018About six-in-ten Americans (62%) say the use of marijuana should be legalized, reflecting a steady increase over the past decade, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. The share of U.S. adults who support marijuana legalization is little changed from about a year ago – when 61% favored it – but it is double what it was in 2000 (31%).

As in the past, there are wide generational and partisan differences in views of marijuana legalization. Majorities of Millennials (74%), Gen Xers (63%) and Baby Boomers (54%) say the use of marijuana should be legal. Members of the Silent Generation continue to be the least supportive of legalization (39%), but they have become more supportive in the past year.

Nearly seven-in-ten Democrats (69%) say marijuana use should be legal, as do 75% of independents who lean toward the Democratic Party.

Republicans are divided, with 45% in favor of legalizing marijuana and 51% opposed. Still, the share of Republicans saying marijuana should be legal has increased from 39% in 2015. Independents who lean toward the Republican Party are far more likely than Republicans to favor marijuana legalization (59% vs. 45%).  Read More

Topics: Drugs, Political Attitudes and Values

Oct 5, 2018 7:00 am

After 17 years of war in Afghanistan, more say U.S. has failed than succeeded in achieving its goals

U.S. service members arrive at Camp Bost on Sept. 11, 2017, in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. Roughly 300 Marines were deployed in the province at the time to train, advise and assist local Afghan security forces. (Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images)

About half of the public says the U.S. has 'mostly failed' in AfghanistanSeventeen years into the U.S. military mission in Afghanistan, Americans remain pessimistic about U.S. efforts in the country. About half of adults (49%) say the United States has mostly failed in achieving its goals there, while about a third (35%) say it has mostly succeeded, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. Another 16% say they do not know if the U.S. has succeeded or failed.

In surveys conducted in 2014 and 2015, opinions about the mission were similarly more negative than positive. Between 2009 and 2011, when asked whether the U.S. will succeed or fail to achieve its goals, majorities said the U.S. would be successful.

Republicans are now more optimistic than Democrats that the U.S. mission in Afghanistan has succeeded in achieving its goals, according to the new survey, conducted Sept. 18-24 among 1,754 adults. About half of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (48%) say the U.S. has succeeded, compared with about three-in-ten Democrats and Democratic leaning independents (28%).

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Topics: International Threats and Allies, Foreign Affairs and Policy, Military and Veterans, Middle East and North Africa, Wars and International Conflicts

Oct 4, 2018 2:05 pm

Newsroom employees earn less than other college-educated workers in U.S.

Journalists prepare to cover the U.S. vice presidential debate at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia, on Oct. 4, 2016. (Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images)

Newsroom employees are more than twice as likely as other U.S. workers to be college graduates. But they tend to make less money than college-educated workers in other industries, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data.

Newsroom employees are more than twice as likely as all other employees in the U.S. to be college graduatesNearly eight-in-ten (79%) newsroom employees in the newspaper, broadcasting and internet publishing industries – including reporters, editors, photographers and videographers – have at least a college degree, according to the analysis of 2012-2016 American Community Survey data. Among employees in all other occupations and industries, only about a third (36%) have graduated from college. Very few newsroom employees have a high school education or less (4%), compared with a third of all other workers.

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Topics: Educational Attainment, Newspapers, Local News, Business and Labor, Education, Work and Employment, Income, News Media Sectors

Oct 4, 2018 12:18 pm

Partisans are divided over the fairness of the U.S. economy – and why people are rich or poor

Around six-in-ten U.S. adults (63%) say the nation’s economic system unfairly favors powerful interests, compared with a third (33%) who say it is generally fair to most Americans, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. While overall views on this question are little changed in recent years, the partisan divide has grown.

For the first time since the Center first asked the question in 2014, a clear majority of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (57%) now say the economic system is generally fair to most Americans. As recently as the spring of 2016, a 54% majority of Republicans took the view that the economic system unfairly favors powerful interests.

And while wide majorities of Democrats and Democratic leaners have long said that the U.S. economic system unfairly favors powerful interests, the share who say this has increased since 2016 – from 76% then to 84% today.

Majority of Republicans now say the U.S. economic system is generally fair

Partisan differences extend to beliefs about why people are poor or rich.

Democrats and Democratic leaners are more likely to say the reason someone is poor generally has more to do with circumstances beyond their control (69%) than with a lack of effort (18%). Among Republicans and Republican leaners, a larger share says a person is poor more because of a lack of effort (48%) than because of circumstances beyond an individual’s control (31%).

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Topics: Individualism and Individual Opportunity, Wealth, Poverty, Political Polarization, Socioeconomic Class, Income Inequality, Political Attitudes and Values

Oct 4, 2018 7:00 am

6 charts on how Russians and Americans see each other

Americans’ views of Russia have declined in the past year – and so have Russians’ views of the United States, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. Currently, roughly a quarter or fewer in each country have a favorable view of the other. Here are six charts that highlight Russian and American public opinion about the relationship between the two nations:

1Russian and American views of the other country have declined in tandem since 2017Russians’ views toward the U.S. briefly improved after the election of Donald Trump, but they have fallen to levels last seen near the end of the Obama administration. Only 26% of Russians now have a favorable view of the U.S., down from 41% in 2017. Among Americans, just 21% see Russia favorably, similar to the share who had a favorable view after Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea (19%).

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Topics: Russia, Global Balance of Power, International Threats and Allies, Foreign Affairs and Policy, Europe, Country Image

Oct 3, 2018 2:00 pm

Most continue to say ensuring health care coverage is government’s responsibility

Six-in-ten Americans say it is the federal government’s responsibility to make sure all Americans have health care coverage, including 31% who support a “single payer” approach to health insurance, according to a new national survey by Pew Research Center.

Majority continues to say ensuring health care coverage is a government responsibilityThese views are little changed from last year, but the share saying health care coverage is a government responsibility remains significantly higher than it was from 2008 through 2016 (51% said this in 2016, compared with 60% today).

Among those who see a government responsibility to provide health coverage for all, more say it should be provided through a single health insurance system run by the government rather than through a mix of private companies and government programs (31% vs. 25%).

Even among the 37% who say the federal government is not responsible for ensuring Americans have health care coverage, there is little appetite for government withdrawing entirely from involvement in health care. Most within this group (31% of the public overall) say that health care coverage is not the government’s responsibility, but that programs like Medicare and Medicaid should be continued; just 4% of Americans say the government should not be involved in providing health insurance at all.

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Topics: Entitlements, Political Party Affiliation, Federal Government, Health Care, U.S. Political Parties, Political Issue Priorities

Oct 3, 2018 1:00 pm

After recent revelations, U.S. Catholics give Francis low marks on handling of sex abuse scandal

Pope Francis meets with bishops in Krakow in 2016. (Wojtek Radwanski/AFP via Getty Images)

The long-simmering Catholic Church sex abuse scandal has been back in the headlines in recent months, beginning with widespread allegations in June against Theodore McCarrick, the former archbishop of Washington, D.C., who resigned from the College of Cardinals. Soon after came revelations from a Pennsylvania grand jury report that more than 300 priests are accused of sexually abusing minors over the past 70 years. Most recently, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò stunned the world when he released a letter charging that Pope Francis and other senior church officials knew about at least some of the abuses and did nothing.

U.S. Catholics increasingly critical of the way Pope Francis has handled sex abuse scandalThe accusations have coincided with a drop in the share of U.S. Catholics who approve of the way the pope is handling the abuse crisis. Just three-in-ten American Catholics (31%) now say the pontiff is doing a “good” (18%) or “excellent” (13%) job of addressing the sex abuse scandal, according to a new survey from Pew Research Center. This is much lower than the 54% who gave Francis good or excellent marks in February 2014 (almost a year after he became pope), and the 45% who did so at the beginning of 2018. Meanwhile, 62% of American Catholics now say the pontiff is doing only a “fair” or “poor” job of handling the scandal.

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Topics: Catholics and Catholicism, Christians and Christianity, Religion and Society, Scandals, Religious Affiliation, Religious Beliefs and Practices, Religious Leaders

Oct 3, 2018 11:00 am

Turnout in this year’s U.S. House primaries rose sharply, especially on the Democratic side

Voters at a polling station in Los Angeles for California’s primary election on June 5. (Xinhua/Zhao Hanrong via Getty Images)

Turnout in this year’s primaries for the U.S. House of Representatives surged compared with the last midterms in 2014, particularly among Democrats, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of state election returns.

Nearly a fifth (19.6%) of registered voters – about 37 million – cast ballots in House primary elections, according to the analysis of state election results. That may not sound like a lot, but it was a 56% increase over the 23.7 million who voted in 2014’s House primaries; turnout that year was 13.7% of registered voters.

While the battle for control of the House has gotten a lot of public and media attention, turnout rates were also substantially higher in this year’s Senate (22.2%) and gubernatorial (26.5%) primaries than in 2014 (16.6% and 18.6%, respectively), though the increases were relatively similar for both parties.

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Topics: Congress, Voter Participation, Federal Government, 2018 Election