Oct 4, 2018 7:00 am

6 charts on how Russians and Americans see each other

Americans’ views of Russia have declined in the past year – and so have Russians’ views of the United States, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. Currently, roughly a quarter or fewer in each country have a favorable view of the other. Here are six charts that highlight Russian and American public opinion about the relationship between the two nations:

1Russian and American views of the other country have declined in tandem since 2017Russians’ views toward the U.S. briefly improved after the election of Donald Trump, but they have fallen to levels last seen near the end of the Obama administration. Only 26% of Russians now have a favorable view of the U.S., down from 41% in 2017. Among Americans, just 21% see Russia favorably, similar to the share who had a favorable view after Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea (19%).

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Topics: Russia, Global Balance of Power, International Threats and Allies, Foreign Affairs and Policy, Europe, Country Image

Oct 3, 2018 2:00 pm

Most continue to say ensuring health care coverage is government’s responsibility

Six-in-ten Americans say it is the federal government’s responsibility to make sure all Americans have health care coverage, including 31% who support a “single payer” approach to health insurance, according to a new national survey by Pew Research Center.

Majority continues to say ensuring health care coverage is a government responsibilityThese views are little changed from last year, but the share saying health care coverage is a government responsibility remains significantly higher than it was from 2008 through 2016 (51% said this in 2016, compared with 60% today).

Among those who see a government responsibility to provide health coverage for all, more say it should be provided through a single health insurance system run by the government rather than through a mix of private companies and government programs (31% vs. 25%).

Even among the 37% who say the federal government is not responsible for ensuring Americans have health care coverage, there is little appetite for government withdrawing entirely from involvement in health care. Most within this group (31% of the public overall) say that health care coverage is not the government’s responsibility, but that programs like Medicare and Medicaid should be continued; just 4% of Americans say the government should not be involved in providing health insurance at all.

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Topics: Entitlements, Political Party Affiliation, Federal Government, Health Care, U.S. Political Parties, Political Issue Priorities

Oct 3, 2018 1:00 pm

After recent revelations, U.S. Catholics give Francis low marks on handling of sex abuse scandal

Pope Francis meets with bishops in Krakow in 2016. (Wojtek Radwanski/AFP via Getty Images)

The long-simmering Catholic Church sex abuse scandal has been back in the headlines in recent months, beginning with widespread allegations in June against Theodore McCarrick, the former archbishop of Washington, D.C., who resigned from the College of Cardinals. Soon after came revelations from a Pennsylvania grand jury report that more than 300 priests are accused of sexually abusing minors over the past 70 years. Most recently, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò stunned the world when he released a letter charging that Pope Francis and other senior church officials knew about at least some of the abuses and did nothing.

U.S. Catholics increasingly critical of the way Pope Francis has handled sex abuse scandalThe accusations have coincided with a drop in the share of U.S. Catholics who approve of the way the pope is handling the abuse crisis. Just three-in-ten American Catholics (31%) now say the pontiff is doing a “good” (18%) or “excellent” (13%) job of addressing the sex abuse scandal, according to a new survey from Pew Research Center. This is much lower than the 54% who gave Francis good or excellent marks in February 2014 (almost a year after he became pope), and the 45% who did so at the beginning of 2018. Meanwhile, 62% of American Catholics now say the pontiff is doing only a “fair” or “poor” job of handling the scandal.

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Topics: Catholics and Catholicism, Christians and Christianity, Religion and Society, Scandals, Religious Affiliation, Religious Beliefs and Practices, Religious Leaders

Oct 3, 2018 11:00 am

Turnout in this year’s U.S. House primaries rose sharply, especially on the Democratic side

Voters at a polling station in Los Angeles for California’s primary election on June 5. (Xinhua/Zhao Hanrong via Getty Images)

Turnout in this year’s primaries for the U.S. House of Representatives surged compared with the last midterms in 2014, particularly among Democrats, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of state election returns.

Nearly a fifth (19.6%) of registered voters – about 37 million – cast ballots in House primary elections, according to the analysis of state election results. That may not sound like a lot, but it was a 56% increase over the 23.7 million who voted in 2014’s House primaries; turnout that year was 13.7% of registered voters.

While the battle for control of the House has gotten a lot of public and media attention, turnout rates were also substantially higher in this year’s Senate (22.2%) and gubernatorial (26.5%) primaries than in 2014 (16.6% and 18.6%, respectively), though the increases were relatively similar for both parties.

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Topics: Congress, Voter Participation, Federal Government, 2018 Election

Oct 2, 2018 12:00 pm

Trump has appointed a larger share of female judges than other GOP presidents, but lags Obama

Trump has appointed a greater share of women judges than any other Republican presidentsWomen account for more than a quarter (28%) of the 67 judges President Donald Trump has successfully appointed to the federal courts since taking office. That’s well below the share appointed by Barack Obama – whose 324 judicial appointees were a record 42% female – but higher than the share appointed by any other Republican president, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of data from the Federal Judicial Center.

In both parties, presidents have appointed a growing share of female judges in recent decades. Women represented 22% of the 324 judges appointed by Republican George W. Bush during his eight years in office, 19% of the 188 judges appointed by George H.W. Bush and 8% of the 364 judges appointed by Ronald Reagan. Among recent Democratic presidents, Obama’s total exceeded the share appointed by Bill Clinton (28% of 372 judges) and Jimmy Carter (16% of 261 judges). Trump’s numbers are as of Sept. 30 and will change as the Senate moves to confirm more of his pending judicial nominees and as he identifies new nominees for vacant positions.

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Topics: Barack Obama, Gender, U.S. Political Figures, Donald Trump, Race and Ethnicity

Oct 2, 2018 7:00 am

5 facts about U.S. suburbs

(JamesBrey via Getty Images)

The urban-rural divide in American politics has been widely documented since the 2016 presidential election. But in the run-up to the 2018 midterm election, more attention has focused on the potential political battlegrounds in the suburbs. A Pew Research Center study published earlier this year offers some insight into the American suburbs, which are home to 55% of the U.S. population. Here are some key findings on the political, demographic and social trends that are shaping suburban communities:

1Politically, the suburbs are evenly divided overall, but some have a clear Democratic or Republican tilt. The even divide in the suburbs and small metro areas differs from rural counties, which tend to have a higher concentration of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, and urban counties, where a majority of registered voters identify as Democrats or lean toward the Democratic Party.

There is some variation in suburban communities by region of the country, which are, for the most part, consistent with overall regional variations. For example, data from 2016 and 2017 show that the suburbs of New England (that is, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont) lean Democratic. A majority (57%) of registered voters in suburban New England identify as or lean Democratic, compared with 35% who identify as Republicans or Republican leaners.

Suburban registered voters in parts of the southern United States, on the other hand, are more likely to be Republicans. In the suburbs of the census area known as the East South Central division (Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee), 56% identify as Republicans, compared with 37% who are Democrats. Still, in a majority of regions across the U.S., suburban voters are about evenly split in their partisanship.

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Topics: Population Geography, Population Trends, Demographics

Oct 1, 2018 3:00 pm

‘New Age’ beliefs common among both religious and nonreligious Americans

(vanillapics via Getty Images)

Most American adults self-identify as Christians. But many Christians also hold what are sometimes characterized as “New Age” beliefs – including belief in reincarnation, astrology, psychics and the presence of spiritual energy in physical objects like mountains or trees. Many Americans who are religiously unaffiliated also have these beliefs.

Overall, roughly six-in-ten American adults accept at least one of these New Age beliefs. Specifically, four-in-ten believe in psychics and that spiritual energy can be found in physical objects, while somewhat smaller shares express belief in reincarnation (33%) and astrology (29%).

Six-in-ten Christians, 'nones' hold at least one New Age belief

But New Age beliefs are not necessarily replacing belief in traditional forms of religious beliefs or practices. While eight-in-ten Christians say they believe in God as described in the Bible, six-in-ten believe in one or more of the four New Age beliefs analyzed here, ranging from 47% of evangelical Protestants to roughly seven-in-ten Catholics and Protestants in the historically black tradition.

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Topics: Religion and Society, Religious Affiliation, Religious Beliefs and Practices

Sep 28, 2018 10:01 am

10 years after the financial crisis, Americans are divided on security of U.S. economic system

Widening party gap in views of security of U.S. economic system

A decade after the 2008 financial crisis, the public is about evenly split on whether the U.S. economic system is more secure today than it was then. About half of Americans (48%) say the system is more secure today than it was before the 2008 crisis, while roughly as many (46%) say it is no more secure.

Opinions have changed since 2015 and 2013, when majorities said the economic system was no more secure than it had been prior to the crisis (63% in both years), according to the new survey, conducted Sept. 18-24 among 1,754 adults.

Republicans are now far more likely to view the system as more secure than they were during Barack Obama’s presidency. Three years ago, just 22% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents said the economic system was more secure than before the crisis. Today, the share saying the same has increased 48 percentage points to 70%.

Views among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents have moved in the opposite direction. Today, Democrats are less confident that the economy is more secure than it was before the 2008 financial crisis: Just a third say the economy is more secure – a drop of 13 percentage points from 2015 (46%).

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Topics: Economic Recession, Political Polarization, U.S. Political Parties, National Economy

Sep 28, 2018 7:00 am

Internet, social media use and device ownership in U.S. have plateaued after years of growth

The use of digital technology has had a long stretch of rapid growth in the United States, but the share of Americans who go online, use social media or own key devices has remained stable the past two years, according to a new analysis of Pew Research Center data.

The share of Americans using various technologies has stayed relatively flat since 2016

The shares of U.S. adults who say they use the internet, use social media, own a smartphone or own a tablet computer are all nearly identical to the shares who said so in 2016. The share who say they have broadband internet service at home currently stands at 65% – nearly identical to the 67% who said this in a survey conducted in summer 2015. And when it comes to desktop or laptop ownership, there has actually been a small dip in the overall numbers over the last two years – from 78% in 2016 to 73% today.

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Topics: Online Communities, Social Media, Mobile, Technology Adoption, Broadband, Social Networking

Sep 27, 2018 12:01 pm

Most Western Europeans prefer TV news while use of print outlets lags

People in Hottot-les-Bagues, France, watch as early results come in from the country’s legislative elections in June 2017. (Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

People in Western Europe have a clear preference for television as a source of news. And while the use of online and radio outlets for news is also widespread, print news consumption trails far behind the other formats, according to a Pew Research Center survey of eight countries conducted in late 2017.

Across the countries studied – Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom – a median of 70% say they get news at least daily from TV. The platform’s reach is highest in Italy and Spain, where 81% in each country say they get news daily from TV.

TV is the most popular source for news across Western Europe, but online and radio outlets are just as popular in some countriesOnline news consumption is slightly less common: A regional median of 60% get news this way at least daily. But in some countries, the share of people who get news online competes with – or even exceeds – the share who get it through TV.

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Topics: Western Europe, Television, News Audience Trends and Attitudes, Europe, News Interest, News Sources, News Media Sectors