Some states are expanding access to voting by mail amid ongoing fears over the coronavirus outbreak. But while the share of Americans casting votes by mail has risen in recent presidential election cycles, it remains relatively low overall, and there’s wide variation across the country when it comes to the percentage of voters who have used this method.
Overall, the share of voters who cast ballots via mail-in methods increased nearly threefold between 1996 and 2016 – from 7.8% to nearly 21%, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of the Census Bureau’s voter supplement data.
But even as seven-in-ten adults favor allowing any voter to vote by mail if they would like to, there is significant variation from one state to another. States like Oregon and Washington conduct their elections almost entirely by mail (97% of voters in these states mailed in their ballots in 2016), but other states have seen relatively few mail ballots. In West Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee, for example, just 2% of voters mailed in their ballots in the 2016 presidential election. Read More →
As states across the country take steps toward reopening, public health authorities have emphasized the importance of wearing masks inside stores or other enclosed spaces as a precaution against COVID-19. A majority of Americans report they have followed this guidance all or most of the time in the past month; fewer say all or most of the people in their communities are wearing masks in similar settings, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted June 4-10, 2020.
Overall, 65% of U.S. adults say that they have personally worn a mask in stores or other businesses all or most of the time in the past month, while 15% say they did this some of the time. Relatively small shares of adults say they hardly ever (9%) or never (7%) wore a mask in the past month, and 4% say they have not gone to these types of places.
Americans in counties with more reported deaths from the coronavirus when adjusted for population are much more likely to say they wore a mask all or most of the time in stores or other businesses in the past month than those in counties where the death rate can be classified as more moderate or low (80% in high-impact counties, compared with 67% in medium- and 55% in low-impact counties).
With many nations under stay-at-home orders and work restrictions due to the COVID-19 crisis, remittances – money sent by migrants to their home countries – are projected to fall by a record 20% this year. This decline, from a high of $714 billion in 2019 to an estimated $572 billion in 2020, comes as the world’s largest remittance-sending nations have experienced especially stringent lockdowns, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of data from the World Bank, Oxford University and Google.
The 10 countries that sent 61% of the world’s remittances in 2018 (the most recent year for which bilateral remittance data is available) have spent an average of 10 more days under coronavirus-related lockdowns – and experienced greater declines in physical mobility near workplaces – than other countries, the analysis shows. This may have an outsize effect on the countries that depend heavily on these nations for remittances. Read More →
Yet the partisan divide among Americans themselves is less stark, according to a 2019 Pew Research Center survey. As is true on many other political issues, sizable minorities of Republicans and Democrats say they do not agree with the dominant position on abortion of the party they identify with or lean toward. And within each partisan coalition, some groups are less likely than others to agree with their party on abortion.
Overall, roughly one-third of Americans who identify as Republican or as Republican-leaning independents do not agree with their party on abortion (35%), including 12% who say they agree with the Democratic Party on abortion and 23% who say they do not agree with either party. Among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, three-in-ten do not agree with their party on abortion, including 7% who say they agree with the GOP and 22% who say they don’t agree with either party. (The same 2019 survey found that roughly a fifth to a third of Americans don’t agree with their party on issues including policies to deal with the economy, health care and illegal immigration.) Read More →
About three-quarters of U.S. adults say they favor granting permanent legal status to immigrants who came illegally to the United States when they were children, with the strongest support coming from Democrats and Hispanics, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted June 4-10, 2020.
As the U.S. Supreme Court weighs the future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (or DACA), 74% of Americans favor a law that would provide permanent legal status to immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally as children, while 24% are opposed. As with other immigration issues, some of the sharpest differences in these views are between Democrats and Republicans. While 91% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents favor granting legal status to immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally as children, about half of Republicans and Republican leaners (54%) say the same.
Support also varies by race and ethnicity. About nine-in-ten Hispanics (88%) say they favor granting legal status to immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally as children, with similar shares of U.S.-born and immigrant Hispanics saying so. Smaller majorities of black (82%), Asian American (72%) and white (69%) adults say the same. Read More →
For black Americans, faith and racial justice have long intersected. Throughout history, houses of worship served as central gathering places where black communities discussed political issues and civic action. This often took the form of protest strategy meetings and rallies. But political activism also infused the sermons, hymns and other religious content of many black congregations.
Given that tradition, black Americans and white Americans have differing views on the role that political topics such as race relations and criminal justice reform should play in religious sermons, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted earlier this year, before the killing of George Floyd and the ensuing protests.
Six-in-ten black adults (62%) say it is important for houses of worship to address “political topics such as immigration and race relations” – including 23% who say covering these topics is “essential.” By contrast, 36% of white Americans say it is important for sermons to deal with these topics, and only 8% say it is essential. Four-in-ten white Americans (42%) say these themes should not be discussed in sermons. Hispanics are more divided on this issue than black or white Americans are; about half (53%) say it is important for sermons to cover political issues.
The World Health Organization, a specialized agency of the United Nations, has historically served several public health functions, including fighting communicable and non-communicable diseases. It has played a high-profile role in addressing the global spread of the coronavirus, which it characterized as a pandemic in early March. But in mid-April, U.S. President Donald Trump ordered his administration to halt U.S. funding of the organization, accusing it of making a series of consequential mistakes in its handling of COVID-19. On May 29, Trump announced that he would seek to terminate the country’s relationship with the WHO completely and redirect funds toward other world public health needs.
Amid scrutiny of the WHO, here are key facts about the organization and how Americans see it. Read More →
The COVID-19 outbreak and the economic downturn it engendered swelled the ranks of unemployed Americans by more than 14 million, from 6.2 million in February to 20.5 million in May 2020. As a result, the U.S. unemployment rate shot up from 3.8% in February – among the lowest on record in the post-World War II era – to 13.0% in May. That rate was the era’s second highest, trailing only the level reached in April (14.4%).
The rise in the number of unemployed workers due to COVID-19 is substantially greater than the increase due to the Great Recession, when the number unemployed increased by 8.8 million from the end of 2007 to the beginning of 2010. The Great Recession, which officially lasted from December 2007 to June 2009, pushed the unemployment rate to a peak of 10.6% in January 2010, considerably less than the rate currently, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of government data. Read More →
As nationwide protests continue over police brutality and the death of George Floyd, the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag, which is often used in connection with police-related deaths of black Americans, has been used roughly 47.8 million times on Twitter – an average of just under 3.7 million times per day – from May 26 to June 7, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of publicly available tweets.
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.