Sep 24, 2018 5:02 pm

Views of Mueller’s investigation – and Trump’s handling of the probe – turn more partisan

(Photos by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images, left; Win McNamee/Getty Images)

As Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller continues to investigate Russian involvement in the 2016 election, Americans’ views of his investigation – and Donald Trump’s handling of the matter – continue to grow more polarized.

Large majority of Democrats 'not at all' confident in Trump to appropriately handle Russia investigationDemocrats increasingly express no confidence that Trump will handle the investigation properly. And since the start of the year, the share of Democrats expressing a high degree of confidence in Mueller has risen.

Republicans, by contrast, have become less confident Mueller will conduct a fair investigation into Russian involvement in the 2016 election.

The latest survey by Pew Research Center, conducted Sept. 18-23 among 1,622 adults, finds little overall change in opinions since June about Trump’s handling of Mueller’s investigation. A majority (59%) continues to say they are not too confident (17%) or not confident at all (42%) in Trump to handle the investigation appropriately.

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Topics: Russia, Federal Government, Scandals, Political Polarization, U.S. Political Parties

Sep 24, 2018 7:01 am

Stay-at-home moms and dads account for about one-in-five U.S. parents

(Jeff Randall via Getty Images)

More than 11 million U.S. parents – or 18% – were not working outside the home in 2016, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data.

Despite fluctuations, rate of state-at-home parenting is similar to what it was a quarter-century agoThe stay-at-home share of U.S. parents was almost identical to what it was in 1989, but there has been a modest increase among fathers. The share of dads at home rose from 4% to 7%, while the share of moms staying at home remained largely unchanged – 27% in 2016 versus 28% about a quarter-century earlier. As a result, 17% of all stay-at-home parents in 2016 were fathers, up from 10% in 1989, the first year for which reliable data on fathers are available.

The share of stay-at-home parents in the United States has fluctuated in recent decades. Around 2000, the share of stay-at-home moms hit a low of 23%; the overall share of stay-at-home parents dipped to 15%. But in the immediate wake of the Great Recession, rates of stay-at-home parenting rose to 20% in 2010, driven in part by parents who were at home because they were unable to find work. This was particularly true of stay-at-home fathers, one-third of whom reported they were home for this reason in 2010.

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Topics: Family Roles, Work and Employment, Lifestyle, Parenthood, Household and Family Structure

Sep 21, 2018 7:01 am

Pope Francis to visit the three Baltic countries – only one of which is majority Catholic

Pope Francis will visit the Baltic nations of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia Sept. 22-25. The Hill of Crosses, above, is a destination for Catholic pilgrims in Lithuania, which has the largest share of Catholics among the three nations. (RenataAphotography via Getty Images)

Pope Francis begins a four-day trip this weekend to the Baltic states – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – the first papal visit to these countries in 25 years.

While the Baltic countries have a substantial Christian population, only Lithuania and Latvia have large numbers of Catholics, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in 2015 and 2016. Furthermore, the Catholics in these two nations are less religious than Catholics in neighboring countries, such as Poland.

Most Lithuanians are CatholicsLithuania is overwhelmingly Christian (93%), and three-quarters of its adults identify as Catholic. The adult population of Latvia also is mostly Christian (77%), but the share of Catholics in the country is smaller (23%). Substantial portions of Latvia’s population are Orthodox Christians (31%) or Lutherans (19%).

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Topics: Eastern Europe, Catholics and Catholicism, Christians and Christianity, Religious Affiliation, Europe

Sep 20, 2018 7:01 am

Men, women differ over some qualities they see as essential for political and business leadership

Men and women in the United States generally agree on many of the personal qualities and competencies they see as essential for political and business leaders to have. But there are notable differences in the importance they ascribe to some of those qualities, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.

Large majorities of men and women alike say it’s essential that politicians in high offices be honest and ethical (91% and 90%, respectively), work well under pressure (79% each), be able to work out compromises (79% and 77%) and stand up for what they believe in (74% and 75%). These are the top four qualities of nine political characteristics tested in the survey, which was conducted online in June and July.

Women more likely than men to see civility, compassion as essential qualities for political leadersBut while three-quarters of women (75%) say it’s essential that political leaders maintain a tone of civility and respect in politics, men are 14 percentage points less likely to say this (61%). And while around seven-in-ten women say it’s essential that politicians in high offices be compassionate and empathetic (72%) and serve as a role model for children (71%), the shares of men who see these qualities as essential are lower (60% and 59%, respectively). Women are also more likely than men to see a willingness to take risks as an essential quality for those in high political offices (50% vs. 40%).

The survey also asked Americans whether they see each of 12 behaviors and competencies as essential for business leaders to have. It again found sizable differences between the views of men and women on certain qualities.

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Topics: Gender, Business and Labor, Social Values

Sep 19, 2018 9:03 am

A majority of Europeans favor taking in refugees, but most disapprove of EU’s handling of the issue

Protesters demanding solidarity with migrants and refugees march on Sept. 17 in Frankfurt, Germany. The event was organized by a local initiative calling for migrants’ safe access to Mediterranean ports. (Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images)

Three years after a record 1.3 million migrants sought asylum in Europe, a majority of people in several European countries say they support taking in refugees who are fleeing violence and war, according to a Pew Research Center survey. However, most people in these countries disapprove of the way the European Union has dealt with the refugee issue.

Majorities in several EU countries support taking in refugeesAbout three-quarters or more of adults in Spain, the Netherlands, France and the United Kingdom support taking in refugees from countries where people are fleeing violence and war, according to a global survey conducted in the spring of 2018 that included 10 EU countries. Similar shares in Germany and Sweden – which saw large influxes of migrants seeking refugee status in 2015 and 2016 – back taking in refugees.

There is also majority support for taking in refugees in Greece and Italy, which have been main entry points into Europe for migrants in recent years. Notably, people in these countries generally expressed negative views toward refugees following the 2015 migration surge.

People in Poland and Hungary are less likely to support taking in refugees. About half in Poland (49%) voice support, and only about a third (32%) say the same in Hungary, where thousands of migrants sought asylum in 2015. In June, Hungary’s parliament passed legislation that made it a crime to assist asylum seekers and refugees – one reason why the European Parliament recently voted to pursue sanctions against Hungary for not upholding core EU values.

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Topics: Immigration Attitudes, Global Migration and Demography, Migration, Europe, Wars and International Conflicts, Immigration

Sep 18, 2018 12:06 pm

The most common Mediterranean migration paths into Europe have changed since 2009

Migrants rescued from the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Libya arrive in Crotone, Italy. (Samuel Nacar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

About 2 million migrants have arrived in Europe by crossing the Mediterranean Sea since 2009, and the paths they take to get there have changed over time. So far in 2018, the Morocco-to-Spain corridor has been the most traveled among the three major sea routes used by migrants to reach Europe, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of data from Frontex, Europe’s border and coast guard agency, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Until 2018, the Morocco-to-Spain route – also known as the western route – had been the least-traveled Mediterranean migration path, with a total of 89,000 migrants arriving along Spain’s coastline since 2009. But between January and August 2018, this route has seen over 28,000 arrivals, more than the central Africa-to-Italy central route (20,000 arrivals) and the Turkey-to-Greece eastern route (20,000 arrivals). One reason for this is that Spain recently allowed rescue ships carrying migrants to dock after other European Union countries had denied them entry.

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Topics: Immigration Trends, Global Migration and Demography, Migration, Europe, Immigration

Sep 17, 2018 3:00 pm

APSA conference roundup: Research on political polarization on social media and the U.S. Congress

(Henryk Sadura/Tetra Images via Getty Images)

The ways that social media shape political attitudes and the intricacies of lawmaking in the U.S. Congress were two of the many topics at the American Political Science Association Annual Conference in Boston earlier this month. Here are brief summaries of some highlights from the conference across sessions on those topics, which represent a small portion of the full agenda. Several of these papers relate to Pew Research Center work on congressional rhetoric, news on social media and political discussion on social media. As is true of many academic conferences, some of these results may be preliminary and could later be revised; several of the papers we mention are not yet published in peer-reviewed journals. The full conference program is available here.

On social media, exposure to the other side can increase political polarization. In a paper that was published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in late August, researchers recruited a nonprobability sample of U.S. adults to test whether seeing tweets from those on the other side of the ideological spectrum makes political attitudes more or less polarized. They found that Republicans who hold ideologically conservative views often become even more likely to hold strong views when they follow a bot on Twitter that tweets views that run counter to their own.

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Topics: Congress, Social Media, Federal Government, Political Polarization, Politics Online

Sep 17, 2018 12:46 pm

5 facts about Americans and video games

Paul Kana, left, plays EA Sports’ FIFA against Abdirahim Mohamed in a video game tournament at a library; Philip Kana looks on. (Ben McCanna/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)

Video games are a source of entertainment for many Americans – so much so that there’s even an unofficial holiday to celebrate them. Here are five findings about Americans and video games, compiled from Pew Research Center surveys:

1A majority of young men often or sometimes play video gamesOverall, 43% of U.S. adults say they often or sometimes play video games on a computer, TV, game console or portable device like a cellphone. But there are substantial differences by age and gender. For example, Americans younger than 50 are twice as likely as those ages 50 and older to say they play games on one of these devices (55% vs. 28%), according to a 2017 Center survey. And men are more likely than women to play. This is particularly the case among young people: 72% of men ages 18 to 29 play video games, compared with 49% of women in the same age range.

A separate survey conducted by the Center earlier this year shows a similar pattern exists when it comes to owning a game console. Around four-in-ten Americans overall (39%) say they own a dedicated video game console – a figure that is largely unchanged since the Center first asked this question in 2009. And while similar shares of men and women own a gaming console, young men are particularly likely to have one: Around two-thirds (68%) of men ages 18 to 29 own a console, compared with 46% of women in the same age range.

In a 2015 Center survey, a third of young men (33%) identified themselves as gamers, nearly four times the share of young women (9%) who said the same.

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Topics: Online Gaming, Teens and Technology, Teens and Youth, Internet Activities, Technology Adoption

Sep 17, 2018 10:01 am

Most Western Europeans favor at least some restrictions on Muslim women’s religious clothing

Women protest in Copenhagen on Aug. 1, the day a ban on face-covering veils took effect in Denmark. (Mads Claus Rasmussen/AFP/Getty Images)

A Danish law that took effect in August makes it illegal for Muslim women to wear face-covering veils – such as burqas or niqabs – in public. Austria, Belgium and France, as well as parts of Italy and Spain, have enacted similar laws in recent years, contributing to government restrictions on religion in the region.

These laws are largely in line with Western European attitudes on the issue. Most non-Muslim adults in Western Europe favor at least some restrictions on the religious clothing of Muslim women who live in their country, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey of 15 countries in the region.

Most across Western Europe support at least some restrictions on Muslim women's religious clothing

The prevailing view (a regional median of 50%) is that Muslim women should be allowed to wear religious clothing as long as it does not cover their face. Fewer (regional median of 23%) say Muslim women should not be allowed to wear any religious clothing. And a regional median of 25% take the more permissive view that Muslim women should be allowed to wear any religious clothing they choose.

In the United Kingdom, for example, 53% of non-Muslim adults say Muslim women in the UK should be allowed to wear religious clothing as long as it does not cover their face, while 19% favor restricting all religious clothing. Roughly a quarter (27%) support allowing Muslim women to wear the religious clothing of their choosing.

The recently enacted laws in European countries do not explicitly target Muslim women’s dress.  In the case of Denmark, for instance, the statute prohibits face coverings except for “recognizable purposes,” such as cold weather.

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Topics: Muslims and Islam, Religion and Society, Religious Affiliation, Religion and Government, Religious Beliefs and Practices, Restrictions on Religion, Muslim-Western Relations

Sep 14, 2018 2:17 pm

Education levels of U.S. immigrants are on the rise

An increasing share of U.S. immigrants have a bachelor's degree or higher

The estimated 44 million immigrants in the United States are better educated than ever, due in part to rising levels of schooling in many of the countries they came from and an influx of high-skilled workers to the U.S. in recent years, especially from Asia.

In 2016, 17.2% of immigrants ages 25 and older had a bachelor’s degree and another 12.8% had attained a postgraduate degree, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data. Both shares are up since 1980, when 7.0% held a bachelor’s degree and another 8.7% held a postgraduate degree.

Compared with the U.S.-born population, immigrants are about as likely to hold bachelor’s and postgraduate degrees, though this varies by country of origin. In 2016, 30.0% of immigrants ages 25 and older had a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared with 31.6% of the U.S. born.

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Topics: Immigration Trends, Educational Attainment, Education, Migration, Immigration