The Trump administration has finalized plans to open the 19-million-acre Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to oil and gas drilling for the first time. The decision caps decades of efforts by oil and gas companies and some Alaska leaders to allow drilling in the wilderness area, even as environmental activists warn that allowing it could threaten polar bears and other wildlife. Drilling opponents are expected to challenge the administration’s plans in court.
As the debate resurfaces over drilling in the wildlife refuge – the largest in the country – here are some facts about Americans’ views of expanded oil and gas drilling, as well as how the public sees government efforts to protect wildlife and open lands. The analysis also includes data on how oil and gas production in the United States has changed in recent years. All findings are drawn from previously published Pew Research Center surveys and studies.
One-third of U.S. adults have watched religious services online or on television in the past month, and a little over half of them – or 18% of all adults – say they began doing this for the first time during the coronavirus pandemic. Of course, if you’re worshipping remotely, you can’t hug the other members of your congregation or shake hands with your minister, priest, rabbi or imam. But you can wear whatever clothes you want, turn up (or down) the volume, forget about traffic in the parking lot, and easily check out that service you’ve heard about in a congregation across town or even across the country.
Whatever the reasons, lots of people like virtual worship. Nine out of 10 Americans who have watched services online or on TV in the past month say they are either “very” satisfied (54%) or “somewhat” satisfied (37%) with the experience; just 8% say they are “not too” or “not at all” satisfied, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey conducted in mid-July.
So what does this bode for the future? By the time the COVID-19 pandemic has finally run its course, will Americans have lost the habit of going in person to a church, synagogue, temple or mosque? Some commentators have suggested that just as the pandemic has accelerated the trend toward shopping online and made Americans reliant on the internet for work, school, health and entertainment, so might many, if not all, varieties of religious experience move online in the 21st century.
But that’s not what the people who’ve been worshipping online see in their future. On the contrary, most U.S. adults overall say that when the pandemic is over, they expect to go back to attending religious services in person as often as they did before the coronavirus outbreak.
Overall, six-in-ten Americans say the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. is rising primarily because there are more new infections in the country, not just because more people are being tested compared with previous months. Around four-in-ten (39%) say the increase is primarily the result of more people being tested, according to the survey, which was conducted July 27-Aug. 2 among 11,001 U.S. adults.
Most Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (62%) say the primary reason for the rise in confirmed cases is that more people are being tested. Self-described conservative Republicans are especially likely to hold this view: Around two-thirds (68%) say this, compared with 53% of moderate and liberal Republicans.
Among the collateral damage from the coronavirus pandemic has been the U.S. economy and the federal budget. The pandemic has caused massive economic disruption, and the government’s response has pushed the federal budget further out of balance than it’s been in nearly eight decades. But Americans appear to be slightly less concerned about the deficit than they have been in recent years.
In a Pew Research Center survey conducted June 16-22, just under half of U.S. adults (47%) called the deficit “a very big problem” in the country today – down from 55% in the fall of 2018. Over roughly that same period, the deficit grew from $779.1 billion at the end of fiscal 2018 to $2.8 trillion as of the end of July, according to data reported Wednesday by the Treasury Department. (The federal fiscal year ends on Sept. 30.)
Aug. 18 marks the 100-year anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which granted women in the United States the right to vote. As this milestone approaches, about half of Americans (49%) say granting women the right to vote has been the most important milestone in advancing the position of women in the country, according to a Pew Research Center study. And while many Americans say the last decade has seen progress in the fight for gender equality, a majority say the country still hasn’t gone far enough in giving women equal rights with men.
Here are some key takeaways from the report, which was based on a nationally representative survey of 3,143 U.S. adults conducted online from March 18-April 1, 2020.
Companies from Silicon Valley to Wall Street have publicly denounced racism since the protests following the killing of George Floyd. But Americans are divided on whether it’s important for firms to weigh in on political and social issues. And they are more likely to believe pressure from others – more than genuine concern for Black people – has driven recent statements about race, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.
Overall, 52% of U.S. adults say it is very or somewhat important that companies and organizations make public statements about political or social issues, while a similar share (48%) say this is not too or not at all important, according to the July 13-19 survey.
Americans’ views vary substantially by race and ethnicity. While most Black (75%), Asian (70%) and Hispanic adults (66%) say it is at least somewhat important that companies and organizations release statements about political or social issues, this share falls to 42% among white adults.
Republicans and Democrats differ in their opinions on many aspects of the coronavirus outbreak, including their levels of concern about the safety of various activities. These partisan gaps extend to views about religious practices during the pandemic – although majorities in both parties say that houses of worship should be subject to virus-related restrictions, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.
Two-thirds of Republicans and independents who lean toward the Republican Party say that houses of worship should be required to follow the same rules about social distancing and large gatherings as other organizations and businesses in their local area, compared with a third who say they should be allowed more flexibility. An even bigger majority of Democrats and Democratic leaners – 93% – believe houses of worship should be required to follow local rules about social distancing and large gatherings without exemptions from coronavirus-related regulations.
When asked what they think their own house of worship should be doing, the survey finds substantial differences between Republican and Democratic religious attenders – but majorities in both groups favor some level of caution about the virus. (In this analysis, regular attenders are those who said before the pandemic that they typically attend services at least once or twice a month, as well as those who attended in person in the last month prior to when the survey was conducted July 13 to 19.)
People in many countries are supportive of foreign companies building factories in their own nation. But they are more wary of foreign companies buying domestic firms, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in 15 nations in spring 2019.
Across the countries surveyed in 2019, a median of 72% of adults said it is a good thing when foreign companies build factories in their nation, while 26% said it is a bad thing. By comparison, a median of 40% said it is a good thing when foreign entities buy domestic firms, while 58% said it is a bad thing. In all countries surveyed, support was significantly higher for foreign companies building factories than for these companies buying domestic companies outright.
Majorities in 13 of the 15 nations said foreign companies building new factories in their country – sometimes referred to as greenfield investment – is a good thing.
Nearly three-quarters of white adults who report that they regularly attend religious services (72%) say they are “very” or “somewhat” confident they could safely attend in-person services right now at their regular house of worship without spreading or catching the coronavirus. By contrast, around half of Black (49%) and Hispanic (51%) Americans who are similarly observant express such confidence. The other half of Black and Hispanic attenders say they are “not too” or “not at all” confident they could safely go to in-person religious services right now without spreading or catching the virus, according to the survey, which was conducted July 13 to 19.
In this analysis, regular religious service attenders are defined as those who said in a 2019 survey that they typically attend services at least once or twice a month or say in the new survey that they attended in-person services in the last month.
The coronavirus outbreak stopped much of the world in its tracks in early 2020 and continues to cast doubt on the well-being of households and communities around the globe. But even before the pandemic, many people around the world felt pessimistic about income inequality, governance and job opportunities, according to a survey conducted by Pew Research Center in spring 2019.
Across 34 countries surveyed, a median of 65% of adults said they felt generally pessimistic about reducing the gap between the rich and the poor in their country.Many also held doubts about the way their political system works (median of 54%) and the availability of well-paying jobs in their country (53%). When it comes to their country’s education system, however, more people expressed optimism than pessimism (53% vs. 41%).
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.