Following the passage of a second stimulus package in December in response to the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, 79% of U.S. adults say another economic assistance package will be necessary. Just 20% say another package will not be needed.
The level of support for an additional package today is nearly identical to the share of Americans (80%) who said more coronavirus aid was needed in the weeks leading up to passage of a $900 billion stimulus bill late last year, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.
While majorities of both Republicans and Democrats say they think another economic assistance package will be necessary, Republicans are less likely to say this.
The violent storming of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 by a mob of supporters of President Donald Trump has generated considerable attention overseas, as well as concerns about the health of American democracy. Even before the riot, however, many people in three key allies of the United States – Germany, France and the United Kingdom – were worried about the American political system.
Large majorities in all three countries said in a fall 2020 Pew Research Center survey that the U.S. system needs either major changes or to be completely reformed. The view was especially common in Germany, where 55% said major changes are necessary and an additional 18% said the system should be completely reformed. The share of people who said major changes to the U.S. system are necessary was slightly lower in France (45%) and the UK (40%).
Few people in the three nations said no changes to the U.S. system are needed.
Social media activity by members of Congress changed in notable ways following the Jan. 6 rioting at the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of lawmakers’ Facebook and Twitter posts in the days after the breach.
Below is a closer look at how members’ posts – as well as their followers’ reactions to those posts – changed between Jan. 6 and Jan. 10, 2021. The analysis is part of a larger body of research that the Center has conducted in recent years into the way members of Congress use social media. This analysis is based on public posts from lawmakers’ official, campaign and personal accounts, and includes freshman members of the 117th Congress unless otherwise noted.
Women make up just over a quarter of all members of the 117th Congress – the highest percentage in U.S. history and a considerable increase from where things stood even a decade ago.
Counting both the House of Representatives and the Senate, 144 of 539 seats – or 27% – are held by women. That represents a 50% increase from the 96 women who were serving in the 112th Congress a decade ago, though it remains far below the female share of the overall U.S. population. A record 120 women are serving in the newly elected House, accounting for 27% of the total. In the Senate, women hold 24 of 100 seats, one fewer than the record number of seats they held in the last Congress.
This analysis counts voting as well as nonvoting members of Congress. Figures for the 117th Congress exclude two House seats that were vacant as of early January. It also excludes Sens. Kamala Harris, who is expected to resign her seat ahead of her inauguration as vice president on Jan. 20, and Kelly Loeffler, who lost a runoff election in Georgia earlier this month. Both are set to be replaced by men.
This analysis builds on earlier Pew Research Center work to analyze the gender makeup of Congress.
In the House, one New York race has not been called yet, and one Louisiana seat is empty because the congressman-elect died before he could be sworn in. Both seats were vacant when Congress was sworn in on Jan. 3, 2021, so the current number of representatives is 439. This analysis includes nonvoting members.
Independent members of Congress are counted with the party they caucus with.
Because Sen. Kamala Harris will ascend to the vice presidency this month, we are not including her in the count of female senators. We are, however, counting her seat as Democrat-held because a Democrat has been named to take her place.
For historical data on Congress, we used data from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, the U.S. House of Representatives Office of the Historian, the Congressional Research Service’s “Women in the United States Congress, 1917-2014” and CQ Roll Call. For 2020-21 election results, we used data from Ballotpedia and the Associated Press, as well as news reports.
Women make up a much bigger share of congressional Democrats (38%) than Republicans (14%). Across both chambers, there are 106 Democratic women and 38 Republican women in the new Congress. Women account for 40% of House Democrats and 32% of Senate Democrats, compared with 14% of House Republicans and 16% of Senate Republicans.
The 2020 general election sent just one new congresswoman to the Senate, Republican Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming, making her the first female senator to represent that state.
Republican women made significant gains in the House in the most recent election cycle. Of the 27 newly elected representatives who are women, two-thirds (18) are Republicans. Between the 115th and 116th Congresses, the number of GOP women in the House fell from 25 to 15. That number doubled this year to 30, the highest total ever.
California Rep. Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat and the first female speaker of the House, is serving her fourth term as speaker after being reelected earlier this month.
The partisan gender division hasn’t always looked this way. Until the 1929 stock market crash, most of the dozen women elected to the House were Republicans, and for several decades afterward the two parties were generally close in numbers in that chamber. But the gap widened in the 1970s and has persisted, despite a temporary narrowing during the Reagan-Bush 1980s. Of the 232 women elected to the House in 1992 or later, 157 (68%) have been Democrats, as have 27 of the 42 women (64%) who have served in the Senate since 1992.
The history of women in Congress
Women have been in Congress for more than a century. The first, Republican Jeannette Rankin of Montana, was elected to the House in 1916, two years after her state gave women the vote. But it’s only been in the past few decades that women have served in more substantial numbers. About two-thirds of the women ever elected to the House (232 of 352, including the newest members of the 117th Congress) have been elected in 1992 or later.
The pattern is similar in the Senate: 42 of the 58 women who have ever served in the Senate – including Lummis, the newest female senator – took office in 1992 or later.
The 19th Amendment, which extended the franchise to women across the nation, was ratified in 1920. That November, Alice Mary Robertson of Oklahoma became the first woman to defeat an incumbent congressman. (She lost the seat back to him two years later.) In 1922, veteran suffragist Rebecca Latimer Felton of Georgia was appointed to fill a vacant Senate seat; when Congress was unexpectedly called back into session, Felton was sworn in as the first-ever female senator, though she only served for a day.
While women remained scarce in the Senate well into the 1980s, their numbers gradually, though not consistently, increased in the House – generally paralleling the expansion of women’s roles in society more broadly. In 1928, seven women were elected to the 71st Congress, a record at the time, and two more joined them later via special election. But that trend plateaued during the Great Depression and World War II. It wasn’t until after the war that the upward trajectory of women in Congress resumed, with 18 women serving in the House in 1961-62.
Although the 1970s saw prominent figures such as Barbara Jordan, Elizabeth Holtzman and Bella Abzug enter Congress, women’s overall numbers didn’t change much until 1981, when their House caucus exceeded 20 members for the first time. The big jump, however, came in 1992 – later dubbed “The Year of the Woman” – when four new female senators and 24 new congresswomen were elected. Academics have offered various explanations for why 1992 was such a breakthrough year for women in Congress, including an unusually large number of open seats due to redistricting and backlash from the Clarence Thomas-Anita Hill hearings.
‘Widow’s succession’ in Congress
Well into the 1970s, one of the most common ways for a woman to enter Congress was by succeeding her deceased husband or father, either by election or appointment. Of the 90 women who served in the House between 1916 and 1980, 31 were initially elected to their husband’s seat after he died; three were chosen to replace their husbands on the ballot when the men died before Election Day; and one, Winnifred Mason Huck of Illinois, was elected in 1922 to fill the last four months of her late father’s term. (Another early congresswoman, Katherine Gudger Langley of Kentucky, won her husband’s seat in 1926 after he resigned following his conviction for violating Prohibition laws.)
Like Langley, most of the holders of these so-called “widow’s succession” seats stayed in Congress for only a term or two. But some went on to distinguished careers on Capitol Hill. Margaret Chase Smith of Maine, for instance, won a special election in 1940 to fill the last seven months of her husband’s term. Smith went on to win four full House terms on her own, then was elected to four terms in the Senate, thereby becoming the first woman to serve in both chambers. Lindy Boggs, who was elected to her husband’s seat in 1973 after he was presumed killed in a plane crash, served nearly 18 years. She later was named U.S. ambassador to the Holy See.
Six of the 14 women who served in the Senate before 1980 were either elected or appointed to fill their late husbands’ seats. Of those, only two (Hattie Caraway of Arkansas and Maurine Brown Neuberger of Oregon) subsequently won full terms in their own right.
Note: This is an update of a post originally published Dec. 18, 2018.
As a mob of President Donald Trump’s supporters rampaged through the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, many Americans were filled with shock, horror and anguish.
Their responses to the Capitol riot were, in many cases, raw and emotional, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of open-ended survey responses collected from Jan. 8 to 12.
“Saddened, hurt, disgusted,” one woman in her 50s said. “Never thought I would see anything like this in my life.”
Shock and concern for the country came up frequently in Americans’ responses, but their reactions ran the gamut – from horror and blame on Trump to a relatively small number who either sought to justify the violence or falsely said it was not perpetrated by Trump supporters.
Amid some of the darkest months of the coronavirus pandemic, Americans believe that the U.S. government can learn a lot from other countries around the world about handling the outbreak and improving health care domestically. And majorities say that the U.S. can learn at least a fair amount from countries around the world about other major policy issues, such as addressing climate change and improving race relations and the economy.
But attitudes on the value of lessons learned from other nations about policy issues remain partisan. Democrats and those who lean toward the Democratic Party are far more willing to say the U.S. can learn from other countries than are Republicans and those who lean Republican on all five issues asked about in the survey. Young Americans, who are generally more positive in their opinions of international organizations, are also more enthusiastic in saying the U.S. government can learn from other countries.
These are among the findings of a Pew Research Center survey of 1,003 U.S. adults conducted Nov. 7 to Dec. 10, 2020.
Pew Research Center has been studying online harassment for several years now. A new report on Americans’ experiences with and attitudes toward online harassment finds that 41% of U.S. adults have personally experienced some form of online harassment – and the severity of the harassment has increased since we last studied it in 2017.
We spoke with Emily Vogels, a research associate at the Center focusing on internet and technology research, about the new findings. The interview has been edited for clarity and condensed.
Donald Trump leaves the White House having appointed more than 200 judges to the federal bench, including nearly as many powerful federal appeals court judges in four years as Barack Obama appointed in eight.
Trump, the nation’s 45th president, worked closely with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Senate Republicans to reshape the federal judiciary – particularly the appeals courts – for decades to come. Federal judges have lifetime tenure and typically remain on the bench long after the presidents who nominated them have left office.
As his administration comes to an end, here’s a look at how Trump compares with his recent predecessors in the overall number and demographic characteristics of the judges he appointed. All findings are based on a Pew Research Center analysis of data from the Federal Judicial Center, the research and education arm of the federal judiciary.
In the days following the November 2020 election, about six-in-ten American voters said that the 2020 election was run well in the United States, but Black voters were more likely than voters in other racial and ethnic groups to say the election was administered very well both nationally and in their own communities.
About nine-in-ten Black voters (88%) said the elections nationally were run and administered well in the weeks after the election, including 60% who said they were run very well. Smaller majorities of Asian (76%) and Latino (68%) voters also said U.S. elections were administered well. And about half of White voters (53%) said the elections were run and administered well, with only about a third (31%) saying they were run very well.
Broadly, these racial and ethnic differences reflect the partisan preferences of these groups. Overall, those who voted for Biden in the general election (94%) were far more likely than Trump supporters (21%) to say the elections across the country were run and administered well, with nine-in-ten or more White (95%), Black (93%) and Hispanic (91%) Biden supporters saying this, compared with just 20% of White Trump voters and 29% of Hispanic Trump voters.
The transition of news from print, television and radio to digital spaces has caused huge disruptions in the traditional news industry, especially the print news industry. It is also reflected in the ways individual Americans say they are getting their news. A large majority of Americans get news at least sometimes from digital devices, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted Aug. 31-Sept. 7, 2020.
More than eight-in-ten U.S. adults (86%) say they get news from a smartphone, computer or tablet “often” or “sometimes,” including 60% who say they do so often. This is higher than the portion who get news from television, though 68% get news from TV at least sometimes and 40% do so often. Americans turn to radio and print publications for news far less frequently, with half saying they turn to radio at least sometimes (16% do so often) and about a third (32%) saying the same of print (10% get news from print publications often).
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.