Aug 8, 2014 7:00 am

How the Watergate crisis eroded public support for Richard Nixon

President Richard Nixon delivers remarks to the White House staff on his final day in office, Aug. 9, 1974. Credit: White House photo, courtesy Richard Nixon Presidential Library
President Richard Nixon delivers remarks to the White House staff on his final day in office, Aug. 9, 1974. Credit: White House photo, courtesy Richard Nixon Presidential Library

Forty years ago today, Richard Nixon announced his resignation from the nation’s highest office, making that decision in the face of almost certain impeachment by the House and plummeting public support, as a majority of Americans called for his removal from office. But it happened in stages.

Nixon had won reelection in 1972 by a landslide and began his second term with a lofty 68% Gallup Poll approval rating in January 1973. But the Watergate scandal — which started with an effort to bug the Democratic National Committee office at the Watergate Hotel and subsequent efforts to cover it up — quickly took a heavy toll on those ratings, especially when coupled with a ramp-up in public concerns about inflation. By April, a resounding 83% of the American public had heard or read about Watergate, as the president accepted the resignations of his top aides John Ehrlichman and H.R. Haldeman. And in turn, Nixon’s approval ratings fell to 48%.

How Watergate Changed Public Opinion of Richard Nixon

But that was just the beginning of the toll the scandal would take on the president that year. The televised Watergate hearings that began in May 1973, chaired by Senator Samuel Ervin, commanded a large national audience — 71% told Gallup they watched the hearings live. And as many as 21% reported watching 10 hours or more of the Ervin proceedings. Not too surprisingly, Nixon’s popularity took a severe hit. His ratings fell as low as 31%, in Gallup’s early August survey.  Read More

Topics: Presidential Approval

Aug 7, 2014 7:00 am

Perceptions about women bosses improve, but gap remains

Women may have made measurable progress in the workplace over the last few decades, yet old ways die hard. Women still lag when it comes to holding top managerial positions. And among those with a preference, both men and women say they prefer male bosses and co-workers.

FT_14.07.06_femaleBosses (1)Only 24 women (about 5%) currently are CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, according to an analysis by Catalyst, a nonprofit seeking to expand opportunities for women. Yet this is up from 20 female CEOs in 2013, and only one in 1998. Less than 9% of top management positions are filled by women, and the rates have declined in some key sectors in recent years. A similar analysis by Catalyst last year — this one looking at Fortune 1000 companies — found 45 women CEOs, up from 16 a decade prior, but still less than 5% of all top jobs.

Gallup has been tracking gender preferences in the workplace since 1953, when fully two-thirds of American adults (66%) said they would prefer a male boss if they had a choice in a new job. Another 25% volunteered that it made no difference, and only 5% said they would prefer a female boss. As of November 2013, the gap has narrowed but remains. A plurality (41%) say it makes no difference, but the rest prefer a male boss over a female boss by 35%-23%.  Read More

Topics: Gender, Work and Employment

Aug 6, 2014 1:43 pm

UGA: The job market tightens, but new journalism grads remain upbeat

Job growth for recent journalism and mass communication grads stalled in 2013 with minority students hit particularly hard by the slowdown, according to a new University of Georgia survey of nearly 1,800 bachelor’s and master’s degree recipients.

In addition to a slight tightening of the job market, the survey shows that salaries and benefits have also stagnated. Yet these sobering economic realities have not resulted in more pessimism among the 2013 grads who report relatively high levels of job satisfaction and voice little regret about their career choices.

In 2013, 65% of bachelor’s degree holders in journalism and mass communication found full-time work six to eight months after graduation, a slight decrease from 65.6% in 2013 and the first decline since 2009, when the recession was at its peak. Additionally, unemployment for the recent graduates rose to 12.2% in 2013, up from 10.7% in 2012. That jobless number, however, is equal to the overall rate for 20-24 year olds.

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Topics: Media Economics, Newsroom Investment and Resources

Aug 6, 2014 10:06 am

Reshaping the workplace: Tech-related jobs that didn’t exist (officially, at least) 15 years ago

Cable Giant Comcast To Acquire Time Warner Cable
A Comcast worker stands among the cables and routers at the company’s distribution center in Pompano Beach, Fla., from which regional video, high speed data and voice are piped out to customers. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Technological innovation has been changing the jobs people do, and the way they do them, at least since the first spinning jennies went into service in England’s textile industry in the 1760s. And for about as long, people have sought to forecast what new technologies might mean for the world of work — predictions that tend to be either utopian (2-hour workdays!) or dystopian (massive unemployment).

A new Pew Research Center report joins that tradition, gathering the opinions of nearly 1,900 experts on how advances in robotics and artificial intelligence will affect employment in the future. And again, opinions were divided, with about half saying robots and digital agents would leave significant numbers of workers — white and blue collar — idle by 2025, and the other half saying those technologies would lead to more new jobs than they displace. (Nor is this issue confined to the U.S.: The Belgian think tank Bruegel recently estimated how many current jobs in the 28 EU countries were vulnerable to computerization; the rates ranged from 47% in Sweden and the U.K. to 62% in Romania.)  Read More

Topics: Emerging Technology Impacts, Work and Employment

Aug 5, 2014 7:00 am

27 countries limit a woman’s ability to pass citizenship to her child or spouse

Citizenship laws countries policies policy

To most Americans, citizenship, like DNA, seems like something a parent passes to a child without thought or effort. And indeed, for fathers around the world, that’s almost universally true.

But one-in-seven countries currently have laws or policies prohibiting or limiting the rights of women to pass citizenship to a child or non-citizen spouse, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of data from the United Nations and the U.S. State Department. The U.N. data show these types of laws or policies were present in most countries around the world 60 years ago. In the past five years, multiple countries have taken steps to change these laws — including Kenya, Monaco, Yemen and Senegal. Just last month, Suriname changed its nationality laws to allow women to pass citizenship to spouses and children.  Read More

Topics: Citizenship, Gender, International Governments and Institutions

Aug 4, 2014 12:52 pm

Many Mexican child migrants caught multiple times at border

With the surge in unaccompanied children apprehended at the Southwest border, much has been written about the unusually high numbers of kids arriving from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. The number of apprehensions of Mexican child migrants rivals those of the other three countries, but many of those caught are ones who tried to cross multiple times — meaning that the total number of child migrants from Mexico is lower compared with the Central American nations.

Out of the more than 11,000 apprehensions of unaccompanied Mexican minors during this fiscal year (October 1 through May 31), only 2,700 children (24% of all the apprehensions) reported being apprehended for the first time in their lives, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of Mexican government data obtained from the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The other three quarters of the apprehensions were of children who reported that they had been apprehended multiple times before — 15% were of children who had been apprehended at least six times.

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Topics: Immigration, Mexico, Unauthorized Immigration

Aug 4, 2014 7:00 am

U.S., China compete to woo Africa

The U.S. and China have been jockeying for economic influence in Africa in recent years as the region experiences robust GDP growth and presents more opportunities for investment.

FT_africa-views-of-us-chinarecent Pew Research Center survey shows that neither world power has a clear advantage when it comes to the hearts and minds of people in Africa. Among the seven sub-Saharan African countries polled this year, at least six-in-ten in each nation say they have a favorable view of the U.S., including roughly three-quarters or more in Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania and Senegal. Broad majorities also rate China positively. The one exception is South Africa – just 45% express a favorable view of China, compared with 68% for the U.S. Read More

Topics: China, Sub-Saharan Africa, World Economies

Aug 1, 2014 3:37 pm

As news business takes a hit, the number of black journalists declines

The financial challenges of the journalism industry have resulted in significant declines in the number of employed reporters, editors, anchors and photographers. Minority journalists, who were already underrepresented in newsrooms, have, for the most part, experienced the same type of decline in recent years. The National Association of Black Journalists, founded in 1975, meets in Boston this week for its annual convention. Here are some facts about the state of black and minority journalists.

1The number of black journalists working at U.S. daily newspapers has dropped 40% since 1997, according to the latest data from the American Society of News Editors. That represents a loss of almost 1,200 journalists — from 2,946 in 1997 to 1,754 in 2013.

It’s also a steeper decline than the rate of job losses for white journalists — a 34% decrease during the same time period. In the last 16 years, the ranks of Hispanic and Asian journalists have also declined, though not as steeply — losing 13% and 2%, respectively.

Black Employment at Newspapers

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Topics: News Media Trends, Newspapers, Newsroom Investment and Resources, Race and Ethnicity

Aug 1, 2014 11:11 am

Kaiser: Americans’ views of Hobby Lobby ruling are evenly divided

The U.S. Supreme Court often issues some of its most controversial decisions at the very end of its term, and this year was no different. On June 30 – the final day of the term – the high court released its decision in the Hobby Lobby case, ruling that some for-profit corporations have religious rights and can opt out of the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate.

The U.S. public is evenly split in its view of the decision, according to a new survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Roughly half of Americans (49%) say they disapprove of the ruling, while a similar share (47%) approve. Neither side seems to feel more strongly than the other: Most people say they feel either “disappointed but not angry” (35%) or “satisfied but not enthusiastic” (35%), and fewer feel “angry” (12%) or “enthusiastic” (11%) about the ruling.

Public evenly divided over Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision

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Topics: Religion and Government, Religion and Politics, Religious Beliefs and Practices, Supreme Court

Aug 1, 2014 9:00 am

The political middle still matters

While increased polarization among Republicans and Democrats at both ends of the ideological spectrum has created a sense of unending gridlock in Washington, the parties face a different kind of challenge in the upcoming midterm elections and beyond: how to appeal to the majority of Americans who are somewhere in the political middle.

Between the polarized ideological wings on the left and right in the political parties, there is still a sizable middle that is diverse in its views.The recent Pew Research Center survey on polarization in U.S. politics drew a lot of attention to the fact that the bases of each party were more divided along ideological lines than at any point in the last two decades. But, as it has always been, it is still the political middle that determines elections, even in this polarized era.

About 43% of registered voters can be identified as belonging to voting blocs that were “strongly ideological,” with 27% at the strongly conservative end of the spectrum and 17% being solid liberals, according to our political typology study, a follow-up to the polarization report.

But neither party has a base big enough to win national elections without broadening its appeal to the 57% of the electorate who are less partisan and less predictable.

The Typology survey laid out the challenges in doing so this way: “The political landscape includes a center that is large and diverse, unified by frustration with politics and little else. As a result, both parties face formidable challenges in reaching beyond their bases to appeal to the middle of the electorate and build sustainable coalitions.”

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Topics: Political Party Affiliation, Political Polarization, Political Typology, U.S. Political Parties