Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election was sealed by a string of close wins in several key states. Biden won Pennsylvania by just 1.2 percentage points, Wisconsin by six-tenths of a percentage point, Arizona by about a third of a percentage point, and Georgia by a quarter of a percentage point. In those four states combined, Biden beat incumbent President Donald Trump by fewer than 125,000 votes out of 18.5 million total votes cast.
Close state races, it turns out, are nothing new in U.S. presidential elections. So while we wait for the remaining states to certify their results and the electors to formally pick Biden, here’s a look back at some of the closest races of elections past, and an assessment of just how common such races are.
Trust in other people is relatively high in 14 advanced economies surveyed by Pew Research Center this past summer. But while a median of 62% of adults across these countries generally believe most people can be trusted, there are significant differences in these views by age, education and other factors, according to a new analysis of findings from the survey.
Iran once again has become a top focus of international tensions, with heightened concerns about its nuclear intentions coming on top of years of hostilities over its geopolitical ambitions in the Middle East. This also comes at a time when President-elect Joe Biden has said he wants the U.S. to rejoin the Iran nuclear pact brokered under the Obama administration and from which President Trump withdrew two years ago. But that may be complicated by the Nov. 27 assassination of prominent Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, who was killed outside Tehran – for which Iranians have blamed Israel – as well as the killing of another top official, Qassem Soleimani, in a U.S. airstrike earlier this year.
Iran is viewed negatively by people in many countries around the world. In a survey of 14 advanced economies from this summer, a median of about seven-in-ten expressed unfavorable views of Iran, while only about two-in-ten hold a favorable view. A median of roughly one-in-ten expressed no opinion. In all 14 countries surveyed, majorities had negative impressions of Iran.
With the delayed transition to a Biden administration now underway, Americans have only modest expectations that the partisanship that has dominated Washington in recent years will ease in 2021. However, Democrats are much more optimistic than Republicans that relations between the two parties will improve.
Just 21% of Americans say relations between Republicans and Democrats will get better in the coming year. Far more (37%) expect relations to worsen, while 41% say they will stay about the same.
Election Day is in the rearview mirror, but it’s still not clear whether Republicans or Democrats will have the majority in the U.S. Senate next year. That won’t be decided until early January, when voters in Georgia fill two seats in runoff elections. Leading up to the runoffs, Republicans have secured 50 Senate seats and Democrats have 48 (this includes the two independent senators who caucus with the Democrats).
Regardless of how the elections in Georgia turn out, the Senate will be closely divided next year. And that is part of a long-running trend: Narrow partisan divides in the Senate and the House of Representatives have become more common in recent decades, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of historical data going back to the 88th Congress (1963-1965), the first Congress with 100 senators and 435 representatives.
In 2019, the year with the most recently available data, 14% of children under age 18, or 10.5 million children, were living in poverty, down from 22%, or 16.3 million, in 2010. All major racial and ethnic groups saw declines since 2010, but the greatest decreases were in the shares of Black and Hispanic children living in poverty. About two-in-ten Hispanic children (21%) were living in poverty in 2019, down from 35% in 2010. In 2019, 26% of Black children were impoverished, dropping from 39% in 2010. Even so, Black and Hispanic children were still about three times as likely as Asian (7%) and White (8%) children to be living in poverty.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is seen more favorably than not across 10 member states and Sweden. A median of 60% across these 10 countries have a favorable view of the political and military alliance, compared with a median of 30% who have an unfavorable opinion. This is in keeping with previous Pew Research Center surveys, which found that NATO was seen in a favorable light across most member countries.
Half or more people across all 10 NATO countries surveyed have a positive view of the organization, ranging from a high of 79% in Denmark to 50% in France. Among Americans, 57% have a favorable view of NATO, with only 25% expressing an unfavorable opinion (17% did not give a response). In five countries, about a third or more hold unfavorable opinions of NATO. The Spanish have the most unfavorable views among those surveyed: 43% have a negative opinion of the organization.
When surveyed in 2019, those in Central and Eastern European countries tended to have mixed responses toward NATO. In Poland and Lithuania, for example, over three-quarters had a favorable view of the alliance. However, in Slovakia, Hungary and Bulgaria, roughly half or fewer felt positively toward NATO. Unfavorable views of the organization were more widespread in Greece and Turkey, where 51% and 55% held negative views, respectively.
Balancing work and family obligations is a challenge for many parents, but remote learning and the closure of many child care centers have put added stress on them in the COVID-19 pandemic, especially on parents without the support of a partner at home.
While previous research on the labor market shows that the pandemic has similarly affected mothers and fathers overall from September 2019 to September 2020, a new Pew Research Center analysis finds that the share of unpartnered mothers who are employed and at work has fallen more precipitously than among other parents.
In September 2020, six months since the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak, 67.4% of unpartnered mothers with children younger than 18 at home were working – employed and on the job – compared with 76.1% in September 2019. This 9 percentage point drop is the largest among all groups of parents, partnered or not. Unpartnered fathers experienced a less severe decrease (4 points), about the same as the drop seen by partnered mothers and fathers (about 5 points each).
As he enters the home stretch of his White House tenure, Donald Trump has used his clemency power less often than any president in modern history, according to data from the U.S. Department of Justice. Trump’s sparse use of pardons, commutations and other forms of official leniency stands in sharp contrast to his predecessor, Barack Obama, who used the clemency power more frequently than any chief executive since Harry Truman.
As of Nov. 23, Trump had granted clemency 44 times, including 28 pardons and 16 commutations. That’s the lowest total of any president since at least William McKinley, who served at the turn of the 20th century. Obama, by comparison, granted clemency 1,927 times during his eight-year tenure, including 212 pardons and 1,715 commutations. The only modern president who granted clemency almost as infrequently as Trump is George H.W. Bush, who granted 77 pardons and commutations in his single term.
Unless his reign is short, a Roman Catholic pontiff will appoint most of the men who vote for his successor. But Pope Francis’ additions to the College of Cardinals since his election in 2013 also have served another purpose – tilting the leadership structure of the Roman Catholic Church away from its historic European base and toward developing nations in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
The pope recently announced that he will appoint nine new voting cardinals (in addition to four other cardinals who are over 80 and therefore ineligible to vote). After this latest group is elevated at a Nov. 28 ceremony in Vatican City, the College of Cardinals will have 128 voting members, 42% of whom are European, down from 52% in 2013.
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.