One of the key public health responses to the global coronavirus pandemic has been social distancing – avoiding large groups of people in close quarters in order to inhibit the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. Along with shutting down sports leagues, closing churches and stores and limiting restaurants to take-out service only, a major tactic for social distancing has been encouraging – or requiring – people to work from home.
In that respect, COVID-19 may yet do what years of advocacy have failed to: Make telework a benefit available to more than a relative handful of U.S. workers. Only 7% of civilian workers in the United States, or roughly 9.8 million of the nation’s approximately 140 million civilian workers, have access to a “flexible workplace” benefit, or telework, according to the 2019 National Compensation Survey (NCS) from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. And those workers who have access to it are largely managers, other white-collar professionals and the highly paid. (“Civilian workers” refers to private industry workers and state and local government workers combined.) Read More →
The COVID-19 outbreak has already led to large-scale closures of schools, workplaces and public gathering places across the United States, and “social distancing” measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are likely to lead to further disruptions.
Yet the thousands of cases of the new coronavirus are not evenly dispersed across the country. And the people most likely to say the disease threatens “day-to-day life” in their communities are those living in urban areas in states that have seen relatively high numbers of cases.
Overall, 36% of Americans say the coronavirus outbreak is a major threat to day-to-day life in their community, according to a new surveyconducted as part of Pew Research Center’s Election News Pathways project.
Pew Research Center conducted this study to understand how Americans in different parts of the country are responding to the new coronavirus outbreak. For this analysis, we surveyed 8,914 U.S. adults in March 2020. Everyone who took part is a member of Pew Research Center’s American Trends Panel (ATP), an online survey panel that is recruited through national, random sampling of residential addresses. This way nearly all U.S. adults have a chance of selection. The survey is weighted to be representative of the U.S. adult population by gender, race, ethnicity, partisan affiliation, education and other categories. Read more about the ATP’s methodology.
In addition to using survey data from the ATP, this analysis uses data from the COVID Tracking Project (a collaboration between journalists at several organizations to track the spread of the disease in real time).
President Donald Trump has received high marks from white evangelical Protestants on a range of issues throughout his time in office. The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States has proved no different – at least in the initial phase of the crisis, according to a new Pew Research Center survey gathered as part of the Election News Pathways project.
Around three-quarters of white evangelicals (77%) say they are at least somewhat confident that Trump is doing a good job responding to the outbreak, including roughly half who say they are very confident. Majorities of white evangelicals say Trump has assessed the risks of the situation correctly (64%) and that the crisis has been blown out of proportion by the media (76%), while just a quarter (24%) say Trump hasn’t taken risks tied to the coronavirus seriously enough. By comparison, about half of Americans overall (52%) say Trump has underplayed the risks, including majorities who say this among the religiously unaffiliated (64%), black Protestants (67%) and Jews (73%).
Americans say there has been a decline in public trust in the federal government and in each other, and they believe this erosion of confidence makes it harder to solve some of the nation’s pressing problems, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in late 2018.
But one finding from the study may offer some hope as the country confronts the new coronavirus: Three-quarters of Americans said people would cooperate with each other in a crisis, even if they didn’t trust each other. Around a quarter (24%) said people wouldn’t cooperate in a crisis if they didn’t trust each other.
Cooperating in a time of a crisis has taken on new urgency as federal, state and local government leaders urge Americans to stay at home, practice “social distancing” and take other steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19. (It’s important to note that respondents to the 2018 survey may have been focusing more on how Americans might actively assist those in need during a crisis, rather than steering clear of others to avoid spreading a virus.) Read More →
Americans have mixed views about genetically modified foods (GMOs) and their implications for society. About half of U.S. adults (51%) think GMOs are worse for people’s health than foods with no genetically modified ingredients, while 41% say GM foods have a neutral effect on health. Just 7% say they are better for health than other foods.
Views about the health effects of such foods grew more negative between 2016 and 2018 and have been steady since then, according to Pew Research Center surveys, the latest of which was conducted in October 2019.
As Americans think about the effects of GMOs, about three-quarters (74%) say it is at least fairly likely that GM foods will increase the global food supply. And 62% say GM foods are very or fairly likely to lead to more affordably priced food. Read More →
When Americans look back on Donald Trump’s Senate impeachment trial – which ended just over a month ago – a quarter say the president did nothing wrong, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted Feb. 18-March 2.
Trump became just the third U.S. president ever to be impeached – after Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998 – when the House formally charged him in mid-December with abusing his power and obstructing Congress. The charges stemmed from allegations that Trump inappropriately pressured the government of Ukraine to launch investigations into his potential opponent in this year’s presidential election, former Vice President Joe Biden. The Senate acquitted Trump of the House’s charges in early February.
A 46% plurality of U.S. adults say Trump did something wrong regarding Ukraine and that it was enough to justify his removal from office, according to the Center’s survey. Another 28% say Trump did something wrong but that it was not enough to warrant his removal, while 25% say he did nothing wrong. Read More →
Who is the first person who comes to mind when you think of Catholicism?
If your answer contains the word “pope,” you’re in good company. More than half of U.S. adults name the pope (47%) or a specific pope (7%) when asked that question, according to a new analysis of a Pew Research Center survey.
The survey, conducted Feb. 4 to 19, 2019, asked respondents to name the first person who comes to mind when they think about Catholicism, Buddhism, evangelical Protestantism, Islam, Judaism and atheism. Read More →
Here are key findings about the internet, homework and how the digital divide impacts American youth.
1The majority of eighth-grade students in the United States rely on the internet at home to get their homework done. Roughly six-in-ten students (58%) say they use the internet at their home to do homework every day or almost every day, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of data from the 2018 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Just 6% of students say they never use the internet at home for this purpose.
There are differences in these patterns by community type and parents’ education level. Roughly two-thirds of students attending suburban schools (65%) say they use the internet for homework every day or almost every day, compared with 58% who attend schools in cities, 50% of those who attend in rural areas and 44% of those attending schools in towns. Students whose parents graduated from college are more likely to use the internet for homework at home. Some 62% of these students use the internet at home for homework, compared with smaller shares of students whose parents have some post-high school education (53%), have only a high school education (52%) or have no high school education (48%). Read More →
A majority of U.S. adults (58%) say the Constitution should be amended so the presidential candidate who receives the most votes nationwide wins, while 40% prefer to keep the current system in which the candidate who receives the most Electoral College votes wins the election.
Support for amending the Constitution has increased slightly since the period immediately following the 2016 election. In a November 2016 CNN/ORC survey, roughly half of adults (51%) favored amending the Constitution to eliminate the Electoral College. And in a March 2018 Pew Research Center survey, 55% favored taking this step.
The current level of support for eliminating the Electoral College is nearly the same as in 2011, when 62% favored amending the Constitution. However, partisans’ attitudes on this question have grown further apart since the 2016 election, with Republicans becoming more supportive of the current system.
The spread of the new coronavirus in the United States comes at a time of low public trust in key institutions. Only around a third of U.S. adults (35%) have a great deal or a fair amount of confidence in elected officials to act in the public’s best interests, and fewer than half say the same about business leaders (46%) and the news media (47%), according to a January 2019 Pew Research Center survey.
Public attitudes are substantially more positive when it comes to another set of participants in the unfolding coronavirus threat: doctors and medical research scientists. In the same survey, 74% of Americans said they had a mostly positive view of medical doctors, while 68% had a mostly favorable view of medical research scientists – defined as those who “conduct research to investigate human diseases and test methods to prevent and treat them.”
The public gave doctors high marks on several specific aspects of trust. Around half of Americans or more said medical doctors always or usually care about their patients’ best interests (57%), do a good job providing diagnoses and treatment recommendations (49%) and provide fair and accurate information when making recommendations (48%). But notably smaller shares said doctors are transparent about potential conflicts of interest with industry groups (15%) and admit mistakes and take responsibility all or most of the time (12%). Read More →
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.