Dec 11, 2017 10:31 am

For the first time, more Americans say 2010 health care law has had a positive than negative impact on U.S.

While the future of the Affordable Care Act is in question, the public increasingly thinks the law has had a positive impact on the country. Today, more Americans say the 2010 health care overhaul has had a mostly positive than mostly negative effect on the country (44% versus 35%), while 14% say it has not had much effect.

Overall support for the health care law also has grown since last year. Currently, 56% of the public approves of the law while 38% disapproves, according to a new national survey by Pew Research Center, conducted Nov. 29-Dec. 4. The law drew majority approval for the first time in February, when 54% expressed support for it.

As recently as April 2016, more Americans thought the law had had a negative impact on the country (44%) than said it had a positive effect (39%). Since 2013, the share of Americans saying the law has had a positive effect on the country has increased 20 percentage points, from 24% to 44%.

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Topics: Health Care, Congress, Federal Government

Dec 11, 2017 6:59 am

Afghans who worked for U.S. government make up growing share of special immigrant visa recipients

The U.S. has admitted more than 70,000 Iraqi and Afghan citizens over the past decade through special immigrant visa programs available to those who worked for the U.S. government during conflicts in their home countries, and Afghans account for a big majority of them, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Department of State data.

Recipients of these special visas served as interpreters or translators or performed other key jobs in Afghanistan or Iraq for the U.S. government and in doing so put themselves and their families in danger.  Read More

Topics: Immigration, Immigration Trends, Middle East and North Africa, Migration

Dec 8, 2017 11:10 am

A global snapshot of same-sex marriage

With the Australian Parliament’s recent passage of legislation legalizing gay marriage, 26 countries now permit gays and lesbians to wed. And if a recent high court ruling in Europe’s Austria takes effect as expected in 2019, that country also will join the ranks of nations allowing same-sex unions.

These events follow a number of other high-profile victories in recent years for gay marriage advocates, including Germany’s decision in June 2017 to allow gays and lesbians to wed and a Supreme Court ruling ruling two years earlier that made same-sex marriage legal in the United States.

Australia’s final parliamentary vote came on Dec. 7, just three weeks after more than 60% of Australians — voting in a nonbinding nationwide referendum — said they favored legalizing same-sex marriage.

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Topics: Gay Marriage and Homosexuality, Social Values

Dec 7, 2017 3:03 pm

Women and men in both parties say sexual harassment allegations reflect ‘widespread problems in society’

By a wide margin, the U.S. public views recent reports of sexual harassment and assault as more reflective of widespread problems in society rather than acts of individual misconduct. Majorities across all demographic and partisan groups – including men and women in both parties – hold this view.

Overall, two-thirds of Americans (66%) say the recent allegations “mainly reflect widespread problems in society,” compared with just 28% attributing them mainly to individual misconduct, according to a new survey by Pew Research Center, conducted Nov. 29-Dec. 4 among 1,503 adults.

Women are more likely than men (71% vs. 60%) to see allegations of sexual misconduct as mainly reflective of broad societal problems. Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents (70%) are also somewhat more likely to say this than Republicans and Republican leaners (61%).

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Topics: Social Values

Dec 7, 2017 11:08 am

How people in India see Pakistan, 70 years after partition

Indian soldiers take up position at an outpost on the India-Pakistan border in R.S. Pora, southwest of Jammu, on Oct. 2, 2016. (Tauseef Mustafa/AFP/Getty Images)
Indian soldiers take up position at an outpost on the India-Pakistan border in R.S. Pora, southwest of Jammu, on Oct. 2, 2016. (Tauseef Mustafa/AFP/Getty Images)

In the 70 years since the partition of India, the relationship between India and Pakistan has often centered on the disputed border region of Kashmir. A recent Pew Research Center report examined attitudes in India on a range of subjects, including Pakistan and the handling of the Kashmir dispute.

Here are some key findings from the Center’s recent survey:

1People in India have grown increasingly negative in their views of Pakistan. As of spring 2017, 72% of Indians see Pakistan unfavorably. Almost two-thirds (64%) have a very unfavorable view of Pakistan, the highest level recorded since Pew Research Center began measuring in 2013. This dislike cuts across party lines: Supporters of the Bharatiya Janata Party and the rival Indian National Congress party both have a very unfavorable view of Pakistan (70% and 63%, respectively). Only 10% of Indians see Pakistan favorably.

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Topics: Asia and the Pacific, Wars and International Conflicts

Dec 6, 2017 6:58 am

Despite concerns about global democracy, nearly six-in-ten countries are now democratic

In spite of widespread concerns across the globe about the future of democracy, public support for it remains strong, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted earlier this year in 38 countries. And by one measure, the number of democratic nations around the world is at a postwar high.

As of the end of 2016, 97 out of 167 countries (58%) with populations of at least 500,000 were democracies, and only 21 (13%) were autocracies, both post-World War II records. The rest either exhibited elements of both democracy and autocracy (26%) or were not rated. Broadly speaking, the share of democracies among the world’s governments has been on an upward trend since the mid-1970s.

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Topics: Democracy, International Governments and Institutions

Dec 5, 2017 12:08 pm

How do your views on gender compare with those of other Americans?

Pew Research Center recently released a series of reports looking at Americans’ views on the state of gender equality, gender differences and gender identity, all based on a nationally representative survey of 4,573 U.S. adults conducted in August and September 2017. Across a wide range of questions, opinions on these issues often divide along gender and party lines, the survey found. To find out how your views on gender and gender equality stack up against those of the American public, take our quiz below.

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Topics: Gender, Social Values

Dec 5, 2017 9:32 am

Supreme Court same-sex wedding cake case reflects split among American public

The U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear arguments on a question that divided the American people in a 2016 Pew Research Center survey: whether businesses that provide wedding services should be required to cater to same-sex couples or whether they should be able to refuse based on religious objections to homosexuality.

The case the justices will take up involves a Colorado bakery owner who argues that he should not be forced to make cakes for same-sex weddings because such unions conflict with his religious beliefs. A same-sex couple attempted to order a cake from the owner’s shop, and, after the owner declined, the Colorado Civil Rights Commission ruled he was in violation of a state law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

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Topics: Supreme Court, Federal Government, Gay Marriage and Homosexuality, Social Values

Dec 4, 2017 1:01 pm

How Americans and Germans view their countries’ relationship

The relationship between the United States and Germany has been a cornerstone of the liberal international order for decades. From the Marshall Plan to early entry into NATO to German reunification and the post-Cold War era, the two countries have been engaged together in major historical events while facing many of the same challenges to both security and prosperity.

Despite this shared history, the future of U.S.-German relations is unclear. People in the two countries differ in their views of the bilateral relationship, according to parallel surveys fielded in the U.S. by Pew Research Center and in Germany by Körber-Stiftung. For example, while many Americans say European allies like Germany should spend more on defense, most Germans are opposed to growing their country’s defense budget. (The results of the surveys will be among the topics of discussion at Tuesday’s Berlin Foreign Policy Forum.)

Here are six key findings from the surveys:

1Americans and Germans have quite different opinions about whether the current relationship between the two countries is good or bad. Almost seven-in-ten Americans (68%) say relations between the U.S. and Germany are good, while only 22% say they are bad.

Meanwhile, a majority of Germans (56%) say that relations with the U.S. are at least somewhat bad, with only 42% saying they are positive.

2Americans and Germans differ when people in each country are asked which nations are their first and second most important partners. Combining both first and second mentions, Americans name Great Britain more than any other country (31%), followed by China (24%), Germany (12%), Israel (12%) and Canada (10%).

In Germany, France gathers the most votes as either first or second most important partner (63%), followed by the U.S. (43%). Lagging far behind in the eyes of Germans are Russia (11%), China (7%) and Great Britain (6%).

Of note, 17% of Germans point to the U.S. as their country’s first most important foreign policy partner, while only 5% of Americans do the same when it comes to Germany.

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Topics: Europe, International Threats and Allies, Western Europe, International Governments and Institutions, North America, Global Balance of Power

Dec 4, 2017 10:03 am

Europe’s Muslim population will continue to grow – but how much depends on migration

The recent surge in refugees from Syria and other Muslim-majority nations to Europe has prompted a backlash among segments of Europe’s population, including the rise of political parties that advocate a halt to immigration and groups protesting against the “Islamization” of the continent. But just how many Muslims are there in Europe? How many will there be in the future?

While Muslims are still a relatively small share of Europe’s population (roughly 5%), they are set to continue rising as a percentage of Europe’s population, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of demographic data. This is true even if immigration stops entirely in the coming decades, which is a highly unlikely scenario. And if migration to the continent continues at medium or high levels, the share of Europe’s population that is Muslim could more than double between now and 2050, according to the analysis, which defines Europe as the 28 European Union member states plus Norway and Switzerland.

The new report includes three different projections for the coming decades, based on three different sets of circumstances involving migration. None of these are predictions, because predicting future migration patterns is impossible; none will play out exactly. But all are data-based projections intended as a starting point from which to imagine other scenarios.

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Topics: Population Trends, Religious Affiliation, Muslims and Islam, Migration, Population Projections