Feb 27, 2017 11:03 am

Most white evangelicals approve of Trump travel prohibition and express concerns about extremism

While most Americans disapprove of Donald Trump’s recent executive order that would prohibit refugees and travel from some Muslim-majority countries, a recent Pew Research Center survey finds a sizable divide on the issue among the country’s major religious groups.

Most Republicans support and most Democrats oppose the order, which would temporarily prohibit accepting new refugees from Syria into the U.S. and also prevent people (refugee or otherwise) from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S.

The partisan gap is mirrored by a religious one. About three-quarters of white evangelical Protestants (76%), most of whom identify with or lean toward the GOP, say they approve of the travel ban. In stark contrast, big majorities of black Protestants (84%) and religious “nones” (74%) – two strongly Democratic constituencies – disapprove of the executive order.

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Topics: Catholics and Catholicism, Evangelical Protestants and Evangelicalism, Immigration, Immigration Trends, Migration, Religion and Society, Religion and U.S. Politics, Religious Affiliation, Religious Beliefs and Practices, Religiously Unaffiliated

Feb 24, 2017 5:30 pm

Since travel order lifted, more than 1,800 refugees from affected countries have entered U.S.

More than 1,800 refugees from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen have resettled in the U.S. since a federal court judge suspended key parts of an executive order President Donald Trump signed on Jan. 27 that restricted travel from these seven nations, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. State Department data. Virtually all of these refugees were admitted after a federal court judge suspended the president’s executive order.

Trump’s executive order suspended refugee admissions for 120 days, with the exception of persecuted religious minorities who would be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. In addition, the order barred entry to the U.S. for 90 days for most people who hold citizenship from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Separately, admission of Syrian refugees was suspended pending a revision of security screening measures.

A week later, on Feb. 3, a federal judge in Washington State suspended key parts of Trump’s order, lifting the seven-country travel restrictions, a decision that was upheld by a federal appeals court. Trump is expected to issue a revised executive order next week that would reinstate travel restrictions but will also change who will be affected in order to address the legal concerns surrounding the first order.  Read More

Topics: Donald Trump, Foreign Affairs and Policy, Immigration, Middle East and North Africa, Migration, Muslims and Islam

Feb 24, 2017 3:01 pm

Most Americans continue to oppose U.S. border wall, doubt Mexico would pay for it

As was the case throughout the presidential campaign, more Americans continue to oppose (62%) than favor (35%) building a wall along the entire U.S. border with Mexico. And while President Donald Trump has said the U.S. would make Mexico pay for the wall, the public is broadly skeptical: 70% think the U.S. would ultimately pay for the wall, compared with just 16% who think Mexico would pay for it.

The proposal to build the wall was one of several contentious issues that loomed over a meeting between Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Mexican officials this week to discuss immigration and border issues.

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Topics: Domestic Affairs and Policy, Immigration, Political Issue Priorities, Political Polarization, U.S. Political Parties, Unauthorized Immigration

Feb 23, 2017 3:47 pm

Support for 2010 health care law reaches new high

With congressional Republicans discussing proposals to replace the Affordable Care Act, public support for the 2010 health care law has reached its highest level on record.

Currently, 54% approve of the health care law passed seven years ago by Barack Obama and Congress, while 43% disapprove, according to a national Pew Research Center survey conducted Feb. 7-12 among 1,503 adults.

Throughout the law’s history, opinions about the Affordable Care Act have tended to be more negative than positive — or, less frequently, divided. As recently as December, about as many approved (48%) as disapproved (47%) of the law.

The new survey finds that when those who disapprove of the law are asked about what should happen to it now, more want GOP congressional leaders to focus their efforts on modifying the law than on getting rid of it. One-in-four adults want Republican leaders to modify the law, while 17% want them to get rid of it entirely.  Read More

Topics: Barack Obama, Domestic Affairs and Policy, Health Care, Political Issue Priorities, U.S. Political Parties

Feb 23, 2017 10:32 am

Q&A with Solomon Messing of Pew Research Center’s Data Labs

Today, Pew Research Center released the first major report from its Data Labs team, examining the degree to which partisan conflict shows itself in congressional communications – specifically, press releases and Facebook posts. We sat down with Solomon Messing, who directs Data Labs, to discuss the report, the project’s mission and the opportunities and challenges that come with using “big data.” The conversation has been edited for space and clarity.

Solomon Messing, director of Pew Research Center's Data Labs
Solomon Messing, director of Pew Research Center’s Data Labs

First off, what does Data Labs do?

We use approaches from the emerging field of what I would call “computational social science” to complement and expand on the Center’s existing research agenda. What we do generally is collect text data, network data or behavioral data and analyze it with new and innovative computational techniques and empirical strategies.

So this goes beyond the Center’s traditional emphasis on public opinion surveys?

Surveys are a fantastic way to study a wide swath of social science questions. The reason to expand into these new areas might be to study things that you can’t get at using survey data – because you can’t survey a particular group of people, or because you need fine-grained evidence about what people do, which they may be unable or unwilling to report accurately in surveys.

In the context of this report, for example, it’s really difficult to study the substance of congressional rhetoric in a survey: We would have had a hard time getting every member of Congress to take a survey, and even if they did they might have trouble reporting exactly how often they “go negative” in their public outreach.

Another key point here is that these approaches allow us to supplement survey data with additional types of data. People might not know the average income in their ZIP code, but using that data can add another dimension to what we know about public opinion.  Read More

Topics: Congress, Data Labs, Research Methods

Feb 22, 2017 3:20 pm

6 facts about black Americans for Black History Month

Since 1976, Black History Month has been celebrated every February to commemorate the accomplishments of black Americans throughout history. Over the past 40 years, blacks have made progress on several fronts, including educational attainment and representation in Congress. Yet large racial gaps persist in areas such as wealth and poverty, and concerns remain about the state of race relations in the country. Here are six facts about black Americans:

1A growing share of blacks are completing high school and college, yet blacks lag behind whites in college completion. High school dropout rates reached an all-time low in 2014 for black students, and the high school completion gap between blacks and whites continues to narrow. In 2015, 93% of whites ages 25 and older had a high school diploma, compared with 88% of blacks the same age – only a 6-percentage-point difference, roughly half of what it was in 2000. The share of blacks ages 25 and older with at least a bachelor’s degree has also trended upward for several decades. In 2015, nearly a quarter of blacks ages 25 and older (23%) had at least a bachelor’s degree, compared with 36% of whites and 53% of Asians.

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Category: 5 Facts

Topics: African Americans, Education, Educational Attainment, Immigration, Income, Income Inequality, Race and Ethnicity

Feb 22, 2017 6:54 am

20 years after Dolly the sheep’s debut, Americans remain skeptical of cloning

Twenty years ago today, the world’s first clone made from the cells of an adult mammal made her public debut. Dolly, a Finn Dorset sheep, was introduced to the public in 1997 after scientists at the Roslin Institute at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland implanted the cell nucleus from a sheep into an egg that was subsequently fertilized to create a clone.

Dolly’s debut set off a firestorm about both the practical value and ethics of cloning, including the possibility of human cloning. Currently, more than 40 countries – including the UK, France, Germany and Japan – formally ban human cloning. In other countries, including the U.S. and China, there is no legal prohibition on it.

On the anniversary of Dolly’s unveiling, here are five noteworthy findings about cloning and public opinion:

1 No one has ever cloned a human being, though scientists have cloned animals other than Dolly, including dogs, pigs, cows, horses and cats. Part of the reason is that cloning can introduce profound genetic errors, which can result in early and painful death. At the same time, labs in a variety of countries have successfully cloned human embryos for the purpose of producing stem cells that can be used in medical therapies.

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Topics: Emerging Technology Impacts, Religion and Society, Religious Beliefs and Practices, Science and Innovation

Feb 21, 2017 2:34 pm

Public divided over Keystone XL, Dakota pipelines; Democrats turn decisively against Keystone

Americans are divided over whether to build the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines – issues that returned to the forefront after President Donald Trump signed executive orders to move forward on their construction.

The Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines have become touchstones in the debate over energy and the environment. While parts of the larger Keystone pipeline have already been completed, the Dakota Access pipeline is in earlier stages of development.

About four-in-ten (42%) favor building the Keystone XL pipeline, while 48% are opposed, according to a national Pew Research Center survey conducted Feb. 7-12, 2017, among 1,503 U.S. adults. The pipeline, which would carry oil from Canada’s oil sands region through the Midwest to refineries on the Gulf Coast, had been blocked by the Obama administration over environmental concerns.

Support for Keystone XL has fallen since 2014, largely because of a sharp decline among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents. The share of the overall public favoring the pipeline has fallen 17 percentage points since 2014 (from 59% to 42%). Just 17% of Democrats favor building the pipeline, less than half the share that did so three years ago (44%).

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Topics: Business and Labor, Energy and Environment, Gender, Generations and Age, Political Polarization, U.S. Political Parties

Feb 21, 2017 6:50 am

5 facts about crime in the U.S.

Donald Trump made crime-fighting an important focus of his campaign for president, and he cited it again during his inaugural address in January. With the White House and Justice Department announcing steps to address violence in American communities, here are five facts about crime in the United States.

1Violent crime in the U.S. has fallen sharply over the past quarter century. There are two commonly cited measures of the nation’s crime rate. One is an annual report by the FBI of serious crimes reported to police in approximately 18,000 jurisdictions around the country. The other is an annual survey of more than 90,000 households conducted by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, which asks Americans ages 12 and older whether they were the victims of crime in the past six months (regardless of whether they reported those crimes to the police or not). Both the FBI and BJS data show a substantial decline in the violent crime rate since its peak in the early 1990s.

Using the FBI numbers, the rate fell 50% between 1993 and 2015, the most recent full year available. Using the BJS data, the rate fell by 77% during that span. It’s important to note, however, that the FBI reported a 3% increase in the violent crime rate between 2014 and 2015, including a 10% increase in the murder rate. (The BJS figures show a stable violent crime rate between 2014 and 2015, but they do not count murders.) Some experts have projected that the 2016 FBI data will show another increase in the violent crime rate – including another rise in the murder rate – when they are released later this year.

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Topics: Criminal Justice, State and Local Government, Violence and Society

Feb 17, 2017 6:56 am

For election news, young people turned to some national papers more than their elders

Younger Americans have long been less likely to read newspapers than their elders. But a Pew Research Center survey has revealed a significant twist, at least for certain newspapers with a more national focus: When we asked people if they regularly got news about the 2016 presidential election through either the print or online version of four specific U.S. newspapers, three of these papers – The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal – attracted more adults younger than 50 than 50 and older as regular readers. As for the fourth – USA Today – younger and older Americans regularly got election news there at about the same rate.

This reinforces earlier findings that when asked about reading, watching or listening to news, younger Americans are more likely than their elders to prefer reading it – though they overwhelmingly prefer to do this reading online. And the new data suggest that the digital outreach efforts for these national newspaper brands may have attracted enough younger online readers to overcome a long-standing age gap for newspapers.

By contrast, this shift is not evident for local newspapers. Older adults were much more likely than younger ones to regularly get election news from their local daily papers, according to the survey, conducted Nov. 29-Dec. 12, 2016, among 4,183 adults who are members of Pew Research Center’s nationally representative American Trends Panel.  Read More

Topics: 2016 Election, Election News, Media Economics, Media Performance, News Media Trends, News Sources, Newspapers