The November general election is rapidly approaching, with debates raging over how fairly news outlets are covering the candidates and important issues. Survey data from earlier this year shows that most Americans think news coverage in their country is one-sided, but they fault media organizations themselves much more than the journalists who work for them.
Overall, about eight-in-ten Americans (79%) say news organizations tend to favor one side when presenting the news on political and social issues, according to a survey conducted Feb. 18 to March 2, 2020. Far fewer (20%) say these organizations deal fairly with all sides. The share of Americans who say news organizations tend to favor one side has increased 7 percentage points since early 2019.
Republicans have long been more likely than Democrats to say news coverage unfairly favors one side, and that remains the case today. About nine-in-ten Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (91%) think news coverage of political and social issues favors one side, compared with 69% of Democrats and Democratic leaners.
Executives from three major U.S. technology companies – Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, Jack Dorsey of Twitter and Sundar Pichai of Google’s parent company Alphabet – are slated to testify virtually before the Senate Commerce Committee this week. They will discuss Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which prevents websites from being held liable for content created by their users. Members of Congress in both parties have questioned the scope of the 1996 law – and whether it should continue to exempt big tech companies from liability – even as others have lauded the measure for protecting free speech online.
Latino voters are less likely than all U.S. voters to say they are extremely motivated to vote in the upcoming presidential election, with the Latino electorate expressing less interest overall in the presidential campaigns, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted Sept. 30-Oct. 5.
About half of Latino registered voters (54%) say they are extremely motivated to vote this year, compared with two-thirds of U.S. voters overall (69%). Meanwhile, a lower share of Latino voters (58%) than U.S. voters (69%) say they have given a lot of thought to the candidates. And compared with U.S. voters, a slightly lower share of Latino voters say it really matters who wins, 73% vs. 78%. In 2016, Latino voters also reported lower levels of interest in the election and in voting than U.S. voters overall.
A record 32 million Hispanics are projected to be eligible to vote in 2020, making up 13% of all U.S. eligible voters and exceeding for the first time the number of Black eligible voters in a presidential election. (Explore our interactive maps and tables to see Latino eligible voters by state and congressional district.)
Colleges and universities across the United States scrambled this fall to come up with a safe and practical approach to learning as the coronavirus outbreak showed no signs of easing up, with some schools opting to resume campus life and others going completely virtual.
Colleges are continuing to adapt amid new outbreaks in certain COVID-19 hotspots. Against this backdrop, the public has mixed views on whether providing in-person instruction this fall was a good idea. Half of all U.S. adults say colleges and universities that brought students back to campus made the right decision, while 48% say they did not, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. A separate analysis of Census Bureau data shows that college enrollment among 18- to 24-year-olds dipped only slightly from last year.
Views on whether colleges and universities made the right decision in bringing students back to campus are deeply divided along party lines, with Republicans and those who lean to the Republican Party more than twice as likely as Democrats and Democratic leaners to say bringing students back was the right decision.
The United States holds a presidential election every four years, but it’s not just the candidates and issues that change from one campaign cycle to the next. The electorate itself is in a slow but constant state of flux, too.
So what does the 2020 electorate look like politically, demographically and religiously as the race between Republican President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden enters its final days? To answer that question, here’s a roundup of recent Pew Research Center findings. Unless otherwise noted, all findings are based on registered voters.
Foreign policy might not be the primary issue of the 2020 presidential election campaign, but Americans have clear ideas on the various threats facing the United States. Recent Pew Research Center surveys find that Americans are especially concerned about the spread of infectious diseases and are more likely than not to blame China for its role in the current COVID-19 pandemic.
But foreign policy experts have distinctly different perspectives. A September survey of 706 international relations scholars in the U.S. as part of the College of William & Mary’s Teaching, Research and International Policy (TRIP) poll found that their assessment of the current crises facing America and the world are often at odds with those of the U.S. general public.
These experts are less concerned about terrorism, more concerned about climate change and much more positive about China’s response to the coronavirus outbreak, even as they are harshly critical of the U.S. response. However, scholars and the American people do agree that U.S. policy should work to promote human rights in China, even at the expense of economic relations.
The scholars also tended to express much less concern about various issues than people in 13 other advanced economies surveyed by Pew Research Center.
On Nov. 3, millions of Americans will trek to their local polling places to cast their ballots for the next president. That evening, after the polls close, they’ll settle down in front of their televisions to watch the returns roll in from across the country. Sometime that night or early the next morning, the networks and wire services will call the race, and Americans will know whether President Donald Trump has won a second term or been ousted by former Vice President Joe Biden.
Just about every statement in the previous paragraph is false, misleading or at best lacking important context.
Over the years, Americans have gotten used to their election nights coming off like a well-produced game show, with the big reveal coming before bedtime (a few exceptions like the 2000 election notwithstanding). In truth, they’ve never been quite as simple or straightforward as they appeared. And this year, which has already upended so much of what Americans took for granted, seems poised to expose some of the wheezy 18th- and 19th-century mechanisms that still shape the way a president is elected in the 21st century.
Here’s our guide to what happens after the polls close on election night. While you may remember some of the details from high school civics class, others were new even to us. Keeping them in mind may help you make sense of what promises to be an election night like no other.
The COVID-19 recession has upended the lives of American workers, millions of whom remain without a job despite a recent upswing in hiring. Working parents have faced unique challenges as many schools and child care centers around the United States closed their doors due to the coronavirus outbreak. A new Pew Research Center analysis of government data finds that in the first six months of the pandemic, the workplace engagement of mothers and fathers with children younger than 18 at home has been affected about equally.
The shares of mothers and fathers who are working – employed and on the job – have fallen from 2019 to 2020, but the falloff has been comparable for each group. The shares of mothers who were not in the labor force edged up more than among fathers but, among those at work, fathers appear to have reduced their work hours more than mothers.
The number of Black Americans eligible to vote for president has reached a record 30 million in 2020, with more than one-third living in nine of the nation’s most competitive states – Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin – a higher share than the 29% of all U.S. eligible voters who live in these states. Nationwide, Black eligible voters now make up 12.5% of the U.S. electorate, up from 11.5% in 2000.
For many years, Black voters were the largest non-White racial or ethnic segment of the country’s electorate, but for the first time in a presidential election they will be outnumbered by Hispanic eligible voters, at 32 million.
For this year’s upcoming presidential election, a recent Pew Research Center survey found that 63% of Black registered voters are extremely motivated to vote. Furthermore, among those who support Joe Biden, over a third (35%) said that they plan on casting or have already cast their vote by absentee or mail-in ballot.
The Democratic Party has maintained a strong advantage among Black voters, according to over two decades of Center polling. Black voters have also recorded comparatively high turnout rates relative to other major racial and ethnic groups in recent elections – their levels closely matching White voter turnout rates in 2008 and 2012.
Yet Black eligible voters are by no means monolithic in their views or demographics. In the six states with competitive races for president, Black eligible voters have varied levels of educational attainment, income and immigrant populations. Here are key facts about Black eligible voters living in this year’s battleground states.
Voters in the United States continue to rate the economy, health care and Supreme Court appointments as very important voting issues. But less than two weeks before Election Day, those who support Donald Trump and Joe Biden differ widely on the importance of several issues – and the gap over the importance of the coronavirus outbreak has widened considerably since August.
About three-quarters of registered voters (74%) say the economy is a very important issue to their vote in the presidential election, while majorities also rate health care (65%), Supreme Court appointments (63%) and the coronavirus outbreak (55%) as very important, according to a new Pew Research Center survey conducted Oct. 6-12 among 10,059 adults, including 8,972 registered voters.
While voters who support Trump (84%) are more likely than Biden supporters (66%) to rate the economy as very important, far more Biden supporters say health care is very important (82% vs. 44% of Trump supporters).
About Pew Research Center Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping the world. It conducts public opinion polling, demographic research, media content analysis and other empirical social science research. Pew Research Center does not take policy positions. It is a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts.