Jun 16, 2017 9:46 am

Q&A: Pew Research Center’s president on key issues in U.S. polling

Even as the polling industry tries to recover from real and perceived misses in U.S. and European elections in recent years, new studies have provided reassuring news for survey practitioners about the health of polling methodology.

In this Q&A, Michael Dimock, president of Pew Research Center, talks about recent developments in public opinion polling and what lies ahead.

There’s a widespread feeling that polling failed to predict the 2016 election results. Do you agree?

President Trump’s victory certainly caught many people by surprise, and I faced more than one Hillary Clinton supporter who felt personally betrayed by polling. But the extent to which the expectation of a Clinton victory was based on flawed polling data – or incorrect interpretation of polling data – is a big part of this question.

Polling’s professional organization, the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR), spent the last several months looking at the raw data behind the pre-election polls in an attempt to answer this question. (Note: The leader of the AAPOR committee tasked with this inquiry is Pew Research Center’s director of survey research, Courtney Kennedy.) While it might surprise some people, the expert analysis found that national polling in 2016 was very accurate by historical standards. When the national polls were aggregated, or pulled together, they showed Clinton winning among likely voters by an average of 3.2 percentage points. She ended up winning the popular vote by 2.1 points – a relatively close call when looking at presidential polling historically, and significantly closer than what polls suggested in 2012.

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Topics: Research Methods, Voter Participation, Political Typology, Polling, 2016 Election

Jun 15, 2017 1:10 pm

6 facts about American fathers

Elsiana Ruiz, 8, gets help learning to ride her bike from her father, Sinahy, at a playground in Aurora, Colorado. (Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
Elsiana Ruiz, 8, gets help learning to ride her bike from her father, Sinahy, at a playground in Aurora, Colorado. (Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Fatherhood in America is changing in important and sometimes surprising ways. Today, fathers who live with their children are taking a more active role in caring for them and helping out around the house. And the ranks of stay-at-home and single fathers have grown significantly in recent decades. At the same time, more and more children are growing up without a father in the home.

The changing role of fathers has introduced new challenges, as dads juggle the competing demands of family and work. Here are some key findings about fathers from Pew Research Center.

1Dads see parenting as central to their identity. Dads are just as likely as moms to say that parenting is extremely important to their identity. Some 57% of fathers say this, compared with 58% of mothers. Most dads seem to appreciate the benefits of parenthood – 54% report that parenting is rewarding all of the time, as do 52% of moms. Meanwhile, 46% of fathers and 41% of mothers say they find parenting enjoyable all of the time.

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Category: 5 Facts

Topics: Work and Employment, Income, Marriage and Divorce, Family Roles, Parenthood, Household and Family Structure

Jun 13, 2017 11:02 am

5 key findings about LGBT Americans

David Silverman/Getty Images
(David Silverman/Getty Images)

Americans’ views toward those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) have changed substantially in recent years, and a majority of U.S. adults now say homosexuality should be accepted by society. The legal landscape for LGBT people has also shifted, including through a Supreme Court decision two years ago this month that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide.

Here are five key findings about LGBT Americans:

1Americans are becoming more accepting in their views of LGBT people and homosexuality in general, and the number of people identifying as LGBT has grown in recent years. For example, 63% of Americans said in 2016 that homosexuality should be accepted by society, compared with 51% in 2006. LGBT adults recognize the change in attitudes: About nine-in-ten (92%) said in a 2013 Pew Research Center survey of adults identifying as LGBT that society had become more accepting of them in the previous decade.

Perhaps as a result of this growing acceptance, the number of people who identify as LGBT in surveys is also rising. About 10 million people, or 4.1% of the U.S. adult population, identified as LGBT in 2016, according to the latest estimates from Gallup. This represents a modest but significant increase from 8.3 million people (3.5% of adults) who said they were LGBT in 2012.

Survey researchers face a number of challenges in measuring LGBT identity, and there is no consensus about how best to measure sexual orientation. Some rely on respondents self-identifying as LGBT (the technique used in surveys such as the Gallup and Pew Research Center polls), while others base their estimates on reports of sexual behavior or sexual attraction, which usually result in higher estimates. Other challenges include the stigmatization of identifying as LGBT in some cultures and respondents being unfamiliar with the terms used.

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Topics: Demographics, Gay Marriage and Homosexuality, Social Values

Jun 12, 2017 9:01 am

Growth in mobile news use driven by older adults

Mobile devices have rapidly become one of the most common ways for Americans to get news, and the sharpest growth in the past year has been among Americans ages 50 and older, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in March.

More than eight-in-ten U.S. adults now get news on a mobile device (85%), compared with 72% just a year ago and slightly more than half in 2013 (54%). And the recent surge has come from older people: Roughly two-thirds of Americans ages 65 and older now get news on a mobile device (67%), a 24-percentage-point increase over the past year and about three times the share of four years ago, when less than a quarter of those 65 and older got news on mobile (22%).

The strong growth carries through to those in the next-highest age bracket. Among 50- to 64-year-olds, 79% now get news on mobile, nearly double the share in 2013. The growth rate was much less steep – or nonexistent – for those younger than 50.

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Topics: Generations and Age, News Media Trends, News Audience Trends and Attitudes, Mobile

Jun 12, 2017 6:55 am

Key facts about race and marriage, 50 years after Loving v. Virginia

In 1967, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the Loving v. Virginia case that marriage across racial lines was legal throughout the country. Intermarriage has increased steadily since then: One-in-six U.S. newlyweds (17%) were married to a person of a different race or ethnicity in 2015, a more than fivefold increase from 3% in 1967. Among all married people in 2015 (not just those who recently wed), 10% are now intermarried – 11 million in total.

Here are more key findings from Pew Research Center about interracial and interethnic marriage and families on the 50th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision.

1A growing share of adults say interracial marriage is generally a good thing for American society. Nearly four-in-ten adults (39%) say the growing number of people marrying someone of a different race is good for society, up from 24% in 2010. Adults younger than 30, those with at least a bachelor’s degree and those who identify as a Democrat or lean Democratic are especially likely to say this.

Americans today also are less likely to oppose a close relative marrying someone of a different race or ethnicity. Now, 10% say they would oppose such a marriage in their family, down from 31% in 2000. The biggest decline has occurred among nonblacks: Today, 14% of nonblacks say they would oppose a close relative marrying a black person, down from 63% in 1990.

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Topics: Marriage and Divorce, Race and Ethnicity, Intermarriage

Jun 9, 2017 2:05 pm

Christians faced widespread harassment in 2015, but mostly in Christian-majority countries

Egyptian Coptic Christians celebrate Christmas in Cairo. (Mohamed El-Shahed/AFP/Getty Images)
Egyptian Coptic Christians celebrate Christmas in Cairo. (Mohamed El-Shahed/AFP/Getty Images)

Vice President Mike Pence recently drew attention to the persecution of Christians around the world, telling a summit in Washington, D.C., that “no people of faith today face greater hostility or hatred than the followers of Christ.” In the same speech, Pence singled out “the suffering of Christians in the Middle East,” promising that the U.S. would act to protect Christians in that part of the world.

Some of the vice president’s statements on Christian persecution comport with data from a recent Pew Research Center report on global religious restrictions in 2015. Christians have been harassed in more countries than any other religious group and have suffered harassment in many of the heavily Muslim countries of the Middle East and North Africa. But the report also shows that this widespread harassment is due in part to the huge size and broad geographic dispersion of Christians around the world, and that the Middle East is just one of a number of regions where Christians have faced harassment.

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Topics: Religion and Society, Religious Affiliation, Restrictions on Religion, Christians and Christianity

Jun 8, 2017 3:10 pm

Tepid support for democracy among both young and old in Central and Eastern Europe

The generation of Central and Eastern Europeans who came of age after the fall of the Berlin Wall and collapse of the Soviet Union differs little in its political outlook from earlier generations weaned on communist ideology and anti-Western propaganda. Today, support for democracy is relatively tepid among both age groups. Majorities in most countries across the region are upbeat about free markets, with similar levels of support among young and old, according to a new Pew Research Center survey of adults in 18 Central and Eastern European countries.

In only two of the countries polled – Czech Republic and Poland – are young people significantly more supportive of democracy than older adults. Throughout the region as a whole, a similar share of those under 40 and those 40 and older say democracy is preferable to other forms of government (medians of 49% and 44%, respectively). One especially notable example of this young-old alignment is Russia, where 31% of both groups say democracy is preferable to other forms of government.

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Topics: Democracy, Eastern Europe, Europe, Economic Policy, Generations and Age, Social Values

Jun 8, 2017 2:04 pm

Among U.S. cohabiters, 18% have a partner of a different race or ethnicity

(JGI/Tom Grill)
(JGI/Tom Grill)

A half-century after the Supreme Court legalized interracial marriage in the United States, 18% of all cohabiting adults have a partner of a different race or ethnicity – similar to the share of U.S. newlyweds who have a spouse of a different race or ethnicity (17%), according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data.

Among cohabiting U.S. adults – those living with an unmarried partner – Millennials and members of Generation X are particularly likely to have a live-in partner of a different race or ethnicity: Roughly one-in-five in each group do. The rates are significantly lower among cohabiting Baby Boomers (13%) and members of the Silent Generation (9%).

Cohabitation, while still relatively uncommon, is on the rise in the U.S. as marriage is declining. In 2015, 6% of all U.S. adults were living with a partner, while half of adults were married.

Of the major racial and ethnic groups, white adults who are in a cohabiting relationship are the least likely to be living with a partner of a different race or ethnicity (12%). This share rises to 20% among black cohabiters and 24% among Hispanic cohabiters. These rates are very similar to intermarriage rates among white (11%), black (18%) and Hispanic (27%) newlyweds.

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Topics: Marriage and Divorce, Race and Ethnicity, Generations and Age, Household and Family Structure, Asian Americans, African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Demographics

Jun 7, 2017 9:10 am

U.S. job openings at record high levels

With the U.S. economic expansion well into its eighth year, some states are experiencing what might seem like an enviable problem: not enough people to fill all the available jobs. Utah and Colorado, among others, are reporting local worker shortages and record or near-record low unemployment. And nationally, job openings remain at their highest levels since the turn of the century.

As of the end of April, nonfarm employers reported more than 6 million job openings, according to seasonally adjusted data from the government’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (known as JOLTS). Although there are still more people without jobs than there are job openings – about 6.9 million people reported being unemployed in May – the monthly estimate of open positions has been above 5.5 million for all but one month since the start of 2016, a sign of the U.S. economy’s relative health. In July 2009, just past the trough of the Great Recession, employers reported fewer than 2.2 million job openings, the lowest total since the Bureau of Labor Statistics began collecting JOLTS data in 2000.

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Topics: Work and Employment, National Economy

Jun 6, 2017 11:31 am

The rise of multiracial and multiethnic babies in the U.S.

One-in-seven U.S. infants (14%) were multiracial or multiethnic in 2015, nearly triple the share in 1980, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of Census Bureau data. This increase comes nearly a half century after the landmark Supreme Court case Loving v. Virginia legalized interracial marriage.

Multiracial or multiethnic infants include children less than 1 year old whose parents are each of a different race, those with one Hispanic and one non-Hispanic parent, and those with at least one parent who identifies as multiracial. This analysis is limited to infants living with two parents because census data on the race and ethnicity of parents is only available for those living in the same home. In 2015, this was the case for 62% of all infants.

The rapid rise in the share of infants who are multiracial or multiethnic has occurred hand-in-hand with the growth in marriages among spouses of different races or ethnicities. In 1980, 7% of all newlyweds were in an intermarriage, and by 2015, that share had more than doubled to 17%, according to a recently released Pew Research Center report. Both trends are likely spurred in part by the growing racial and ethnic diversity in the U.S.

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Topics: Marriage and Divorce, Race and Ethnicity, Parenthood, Birth Rate and Fertility, Intermarriage