Mar 18, 2016 7:00 am

Illegal migration to EU rises for routes both well-worn and less-traveled

Illegal migration to Europe surges in 2015The number of illegal entries into Europe by migrants hit a high point last year, and as their numbers increased, a picture emerged of the land and sea routes many migrants are taking to get there.

In 2015, more than 1.8 million people crossed the European Union’s borders illegally, according to Frontex, the agency responsible for coordinating the security of the EU’s external land and sea borders. This was up substantially from 2014 (with about 280,000 detections of illegal border crossings) and 2013 (about 100,000 detections). In fact, 2015 saw the most illegal entries into the EU since Frontex began collecting data about a decade ago.

Frontex’s data reflect apprehensions, or “detections,” of migrants entering the EU illegally (Frontex uses the term “irregular migrants”), so they are not an exact count of migrants entering Europe. Some migrants enter Europe illegally without being detected. Others are counted more than once because they cross European borders twice (for example, both a sea and land border) or try to enter the EU several times. Still others may enter legally on a travel visa, but overstay their allotted time in Europe or later claim asylum to remain, at least temporarily, in Europe.

Illegal migration to Europe

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Topics: Eastern Europe, Europe, Immigration Trends, Middle East and North Africa, Migration, Unauthorized Immigration, Western Europe

Mar 16, 2016 7:00 am

A closer look at Jewish identity in Israel and the U.S.

Nearly all Jews in the United States and Israel say they are proud to be Jewish, and large majorities in both countries say they feel a strong sense of belonging to the Jewish people. But the two Jewish communities do not always agree about what it means to be Jewish, according to a new Pew Research Center survey of religion in Israel (compared with our 2013 survey of U.S. Jews).

Both surveys asked Jews about a list of eight possible behaviors and attributes that could potentially be “essential” or “important” to their personal Jewish identity. In both countries, majorities say remembering the Holocaust is essential to their Jewish identities (73% in U.S., 65% in Israel).

U.S. Jews more likely to see ethics, justice as essential to being Jewish

But far more American than Israeli Jews say “leading an ethical and moral life” (69% vs. 47%) and “working for justice and equality” (56% vs. 27%) are vital to being Jewish. American Jews also are more likely than those in Israel to see intellectual curiosity and a good sense of humor as key parts of their Jewish identity. Read More

Topics: Jews and Judaism, Middle East and North Africa, Religious Affiliation, Religious Beliefs and Practices

Mar 15, 2016 7:00 am

Unlike U.S., few Jews in Israel identify as Reform or Conservative

The two largest organized Jewish denominations in America – Reform and Conservative Judaism – together have about five times as many U.S. members as the historically much older, more strictly observant Orthodox community. But the Reform and Conservative movements have a far smaller footprint in Israel, according to Pew Research Center’s new survey of religion in Israel.

This is only one of many differences between the Jewish populations of Israel and the U.S., the world’s two largest. Together, these countries are home to about 80% of the world’s Jews, but American and Israeli Jews do not always look the same in terms of their political beliefs, levels of religious observance, social circles and even their definitions of what it means to be Jewish.

Jewish affiliation with Conservative and Reform synagogues and congregations is one of the most notable ways in which Jewish life in the U.S. differs from that in Israel. About half of Jewish Americans identify with either the Reform (35%) or Conservative (18%) movements, both of which developed in recent centuries in Europe and North America as generally less pious alternatives to the ancient Orthodox tradition. Only about 10% of U.S. Jews are Orthodox.

Conservative and Reform movements do not have a major presence in IsraelThe survey asked Jews in Israel whether they identify with any of these international streams of Judaism, acknowledging that some of them may not be familiar to respondents. In Israel, very few Jews identify with Conservative (2%) or Reform (3%) Judaism, while half (50%) identify with Orthodoxy – including many Jews who are not highly religiously observant but may still be most familiar with Orthodox Judaism. About four-in-ten Israeli Jews (41%) do not identify with any of these three streams or denominations of Judaism.

Instead, Israeli Jews are much more neatly grouped into four informal categories of Jewish religious identity – Haredi (ultra-Orthodox), Dati (religious), Masorti (traditional) and Hiloni (secular). Virtually all Jews in Israel say one of these terms describes their religious category. Read More

Topics: Jews and Judaism, Middle East and North Africa, Religion and Society, Religious Affiliation, Religious Beliefs and Practices

Mar 14, 2016 11:29 am

Exit polls and the evangelical vote: A closer look

As Donald Trump has racked up big wins among self-described “born-again or evangelical” Christians in many of the early primaries and caucuses, some religious leaders, political analysts and researchers have questioned whether many of these self-described evangelicals actually are evangelical Christians.

Specifically, some analysts have expressed disappointment that the exit polls in some states have included only a single question about religion: “Would you describe yourself as a born-again or evangelical Christian?” They argue that this question may be too broad to accurately capture who really is and isn’t an evangelical Protestant. At the same time, some religious leaders have assumed that many of those who are telling exit pollsters that they are born-again or evangelical and that they voted for Trump aren’t really evangelicals at all because, for example, they rarely attend church.

See our detailed tables for more information on the religious and political profiles of the evangelical electorate.

While it is impossible to know for sure how many self-described evangelicals who also are Trump supporters embrace the tradition’s beliefs and practices, data from Pew Research Center’s 2014 Religious Landscape Study show that when people identify as “born-again or evangelical” Christians, they also are very likely to report specific beliefs and behaviors that are characteristic of evangelical Protestantism, and this is the case regardless of which political party they support. Read More

Topics: Christians and Christianity, Evangelical Protestants and Evangelicalism, Religion and U.S. Politics, Religious Affiliation, Religious Beliefs and Practices

Mar 11, 2016 10:30 am

This year’s GOP presidential battle isn’t the first – or even the deepest – party divide

Former President Theodore Roosevelt campaigns in Morrisville, Vermont, on Aug. 30, 1912. After failing to win the Republican Party nomination for president that year, Roosevelt instead ran on the Progressive (or "Bull Moose") ticket. Photo credit: NPS/Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site
Former President Theodore Roosevelt campaigns in Morrisville, Vermont, on Aug. 30, 1912. After failing to win the Republican Party nomination for president that year, Roosevelt instead ran on the Progressive (or “Bull Moose”) ticket. Photo credit: NPS/Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site

Donald Trump may be leading in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, but much of the GOP’s establishment is mobilizing to try to block him. And should those efforts fail, many prominent Republicans are saying they won’t support Trump if he is the nominee. Some are even floating the idea of an anti-Trump third party.

Most times, even after fierce nomination battles and raucous conventions, parties have come together for the general-election fight. The bitter 1952 convention fight between Dwight Eisenhower and Sen. Robert Taft didn’t hurt Eisenhower that fall. In 1976, after Ronald Reagan fell just short of taking the GOP nomination from President Gerald Ford, he endorsed Ford in a memorable concession speech (although Ford went on to lose to Jimmy Carter in an exceedingly close race that November). And in 1968, even after a violence-marred convention and the third-party challenge of George Wallace, enough of the Democratic coalition came together in time for Hubert Humphrey to almost defeat Richard Nixon.

While it’s been a long time since a significant portion of a major party has rejected its own leading candidate, it’s hardly unprecedented in American political history. Here’s a rundown of notable splits, bolts, splinters and other major-party schisms, starting with the birth of the modern Democratic/Republican era. (Note: We excluded third-party movements, such as Wallace’s 1968 campaign and Ross Perot’s 1992 run, that originated outside the two major parties and weren’t explicit rejections of a particular nominee.)  Read More

Topics: 2016 Election, Political Polarization, U.S. Political Figures

Mar 10, 2016 11:55 am

8 conversations shaping technology

This year’s SXSW Interactive conference – an annual event that brings together leaders in technology, media and music – will have two new high-profile speakers: the president and first lady.

Barack and Michelle Obama will be speaking during a period of intense focus on the tech industry, with Apple CEO Tim Cook’s open letter challenging the FBI’s request to aid in unlocking a terror suspect’s iPhone, Twitter announcing an online safety panel and more companies getting into the “cord-cutting” business.

As conference-goers gather in Austin, here are eight key conversations about internet and technology today:

Privacy vs. security

In a Pew Research Center survey conducted in February on the issue of whether Apple should assist the FBI in unlocking the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino terror suspects, more Americans sided with the government than with Apple. Some 51% of U.S. adults said Apple should assist in unlocking the phone, while 38% said the company should not help unlock the phone because it jeopardizes other users’ security and privacy.

Americans’ views about the trade-off between security and personal privacy have shifted over time and public opinion is often influenced by major news events. Following the San Bernardino and Paris attacks, 56% of Americans said they were more concerned that counterterrorism efforts had not gone far enough to protect the country, while just 28% said they were concerned that efforts have gone too far in restricting civil liberties. By contrast, after the Edward Snowden leaks in 2013, concerns over civil liberties were more prevalent than concerns for national security. Read More

Topics: Emerging Technology Impacts, Mobile, Online Privacy and Safety, Technology Adoption

Mar 10, 2016 9:25 am

American trade issues aren’t just about China

Trade has been a recurrent theme in both the Republican and Democratic presidential primary debates, with candidates in both parties repeatedly promising to be tougher on trade, especially with regard to China.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has promised to impose a 45% tariff on imports from China. Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton has pledged to crack down on Chinese currency manipulation that gives Chinese products an unfair competitive advantage.

Americans agree that trade with China is an issue. While global trade ranks low overall on the public’s list of priorities – just 31% rate it as a top priority – 52% of Americans say the U.S. trade deficit with China is a very serious problem.

Two ways of looking at foreign tradeAmericans have good reason to worry about competition from China, the country with which the U.S. has its largest merchandise trade deficit. But competition from high-value exporters such as Germany also poses a challenge that, so far, has been largely ignored on the campaign trail.

Among the top five nations with which the U.S. runs a trade deficit, Germany has a $912 per capita trade advantage with the U.S. (total deficit divided by Germany’s total population), compared with China’s $266 per capita imbalance. This is largely because China’s large workforce churns out a high volume of low-value products for export to the U.S., while Germany’s smaller workforce largely produces high-value products, such as automobiles, to sell to Americans. Read More

Topics: Bilateral Relations, Economic and Business News, Economic Policy, Globalization and Trade, National Economy, World Economies

Mar 10, 2016 7:00 am

Many Americans say they voted, but did they?

“Did you happen to vote in the election this November, or did things come up that kept you from voting?”

One-in-six Americans who say they voted in the 2014 election have no record of votingIt’s a straightforward question, but the answers yielded some interesting results. One-in-six (16%) of those who say they “definitely voted” in the 2014 midterm election have no record of voting in commercially available national voter files, according to a Pew Research Center analysis.

So did they vote, or didn’t they? It’s important to know, because this is one of the means by which pollsters gauge the accuracy of their likely-voter predictions for future elections.

Determining who actually went to the polls and who did not is a challenge because, while the presence of a record of voting almost certainly means that a person voted, the absence of a record doesn’t necessarily mean they did not.

To examine the phenomenon of voting mismatches, we matched members of our American Trends Panel to a consumer database that includes official state turnout records as well as other other information on voters’ turnout history. We then compared the official records with respondents’ survey answers. A more detailed methodology can be found here.

So, why don’t we see a voting record for some people who tell us they voted?

One likely reason for at least some of this mismatch is the tendency for people to over-report “good” behaviors, such as voting, giving to charities, or attending religious services, while underreporting unattractive behaviors, such as drug and alcohol abuse. This phenomenon is known as the social desirability bias.

Another likely reason for the mismatch, as past research has found, is that the voting record for some people who actually voted is missed by commercial voter files. This happens most often for people who have recently moved. This error may have implications for campaign pollsters who rely on previous voting history in voter files to draw samples of likely voters or to help predict future voting behaviors. Read More

Topics: Research Methods, Voter Participation

Mar 9, 2016 12:45 pm

Democratic edge in Hispanic voter registration grows in Florida

Florida has long been a battleground state in presidential elections, with Hispanic voters playing a growing role in determining the outcome of the state’s presidential vote. Hispanic voters this year make up an even larger share of the state’s registered voters than in past years, but the profile of the Latino electorate has shifted over the past decade or so, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of state voter registration data.

Democrats hold voter registration advantage among Florida HispanicsDue to the state’s large Cuban voting bloc, the Latino vote had been reliably Republican. For example, President George W. Bush won both the Hispanic vote and the state in 2004. But 2008 represented a tipping point: More Latinos were registered as Democrats than Republicans, and the gap has only widened since then. This has led to the growing influence of Democrats among the state’s Hispanic voters in 2008 and 2012, two presidential elections in which Barack Obama carried both Hispanics and the state. At the same time, the number of Latino registered voters in Florida who indicate no party affiliation has also grown rapidly during this time, and by 2012 had surpassed Republican registrations.

In 2014, 4.8 million Hispanics lived in Florida, making it the third-largest Hispanic population in the nation, behind California and Texas. It is also growing faster than Florida’s population. Today 24% of Floridians are Hispanic, up from 17% in 2000. Overall, 1.8 million Hispanics were registered to vote in Florida as of February 2016, according to the state’s Division of ElectionsRead More

Topics: Hispanic/Latino Demographics, Hispanic/Latino Vote

Mar 9, 2016 9:55 am

Americans, Canadians differ in concern about climate change

Justin Trudeau, the recently elected (and popular) prime minister of Canada, will hold his first formal meeting with President Barack Obama at the White House on Thursday, an occasion that will also be marked by the first state dinner for a Canadian leader since 1997. High on the agenda will be discussion of a continental strategy on climate change.

Canadians more concerned about global climate change than AmericansCanadians are more concerned than their American counterparts on a number of key issues related to climate change. For example, in Pew Research Center’s spring 2015 survey of 40 nations, 84% of Canadians supported an international agreement to limit their country’s greenhouse gas emissions, compared with 69% of Americans. This agreement was subsequently adopted at the Paris COP21 conference, but whether the United States will enact such an accord remains in question.

A majority (56%) of Canadians say climate change is harming people now, while only 41% of Americans agree. On most of the questions presented to both Canadians and Americans on climate change, Canadians were more concerned and closer to the global 40-country median than Americans, who were generally less concerned than others around the world. Read More

Topics: Bilateral Relations, Energy and Environment, International Threats and Allies, North America