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

Jan 22, 2015 11:49 am

House Catholics are trending Republican

Catholics in CongressMore House Republicans in the new, 114th Congress identify as Catholic than in any other recent Congress, and they now outnumber Catholic Democrats in the House, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis.

Although the difference is slight – there are now 69 Catholic Republicans and 68 Catholic Democrats in the House of Representatives – the new balance is a departure from the previous three Congresses (2009-2014). Indeed, just six years ago, there were more than two and a half times as many Catholic Democrats (98) as Catholic Republicans (37) in the House. Read More

Topics: Catholics and Catholicism, Congress, Religious Affiliation

Jan 22, 2015 7:00 am

Obama heads to India, where the public is warm to him

Obama and Modi
(Photo by Noah Seelam/AFP/Getty Images)

Next week, President Barack Obama will be the “chief guest” at India’s Republic Day, the annual celebration of the 1950 Indian Constitution. The visit is expected to usher in a new, positive era in India-U.S. relations at a time when a majority of Indians have a favorable view of the United States and a majority of Americans express a positive opinion of India.

Read More

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

Jan 21, 2015 2:24 pm

Inequality is at top of the agenda as global elites gather in Davos

A new report from the anti-poverty group Oxfam has helped put inequality back near the top of the global agenda, just in time for the World Economic Forum’s annual gathering of global elites in Davos, Switzerland. In particular, one striking claim from the Oxfam report has generated headlines: By next year, the top 1% of the world’s population could own more wealth than the other 99%. The Oxfam report – just one of many attempts at measuring worldwide economic disparities – fits into a broader pattern of growing interest in, and concern about, inequality.

Broad Majorities See Inequality as a ProblemIt’s certainly a topic on the minds of average citizens around the world. In a spring 2014 Pew Research Center survey, majorities in all 44 nations polled described the gap between rich and poor as a big problem for their country, and majorities in 28 nations said it was a very big problem. Concerns about inequality are most common in Africa, although they are widespread in wealthier parts of the world as well, especially in European nations such as Greece (84% very big problem), Spain (74%) and Italy (73%) that were hit hard by the Great Recession.

Read More

Topics: Economic Policy, Income Inequality, Socioeconomic Class, World Economies