As the first 2020 primaries and caucuses near, the vast majority of Latino registered voters who are Democrats or lean toward the party see the 2020 presidential election results as of particular importance, and over half have a good or excellent impression of their own party’s candidates, according to a national Pew Research Center survey of Latino adults conducted in December.
Among Latino registered voters, almost nine-in-ten Democrats and Democratic leaners (87%) say it really matters who wins the White House.
When asked about candidates seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, a majority of Latino Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters say they have a good (54%) or excellent (11%) impression of them. A third say they have an only fair (28%) or poor (5%) impression of the candidates. These views are on par with those among all Democratic and Democratic leaning registered voters in September 2019 on the American Trends Panel. Read More →
Andrew Kohut, the founding director of Pew Research Center and its president from 2004 to 2012, was one of the nation’s leading pollsters. He died in 2015. His work, over three decades, won him wide respect for his expertise and ability to craft stories about what people could learn from survey research. One of his particular talents was to reach back in time to take a snapshot of the mood of Americans in another era to show how much times had changed.
Here is one of those articles, originally published on March 5, 2015.
When civil rights activists led a bloody protest march in Selma, Alabama, on March 7, 1965, that is credited with helping to assure passage of the Voting Rights Act that year, civil rights was a top issue for the American public, but opinions about it were very mixed. Even so, America’s verdict on Selma was clear. In all, the protesters staged three marches that month, and polling showed the public clearly siding with the demonstrators, not with the state of Alabama.
A nationwide Gallup poll in February 1965 found 26% of Americans citing civil rights as a problem facing the nation, second only to the expanding war in Vietnam (cited by 29%). There was broad-based support for the war at this early stage in its history, but views about civil rights and integration were clearly mixed.
On one hand, Americans continued to support the Civil Rights Act of 1964, at least in principle, but had concerns about its scope and implementation. A Gallup poll in October 1964 reported that the public approved of the new law by nearly two-to-one (58% to 31%). And in April 1965, Gallup found a whopping 76% in favor of a then-proposed equal rights voting law.
But while the public supported civil rights legislation conceptually, they expressed concerns about the pace of its implementation. Indeed, although most supported the new civil rights law soon after it was passed, a national Opinion Research Corporation poll showed 68% of Americans wanting to see moderation in its enforcement, with only 19% wanting vigorous enforcement of the new law.
In that light, it is not surprising that in early 1965, a Gallup poll found growing numbers of Americans saying that the Johnson administration was moving too fast overall on integration. In March, 34% held that view, and by May that sentiment rose to 45%, with only 14% expressing the view that it was not moving fast enough.
Opinion about the pace of integration in May 1965 was dramatically different in the South compared with other parts of the country. By a margin of 61% to 21%, Southerners felt the government was moving too quickly, rather than about right. Outside the South, Americans were about evenly divided: About four-in-ten thought the pace was too fast and about the same percentage thought integration was occurring at about the right pace.
Gallup reported in February 1965 that, when asked about the Civil Rights Act specifically, 42% overall believed the federal government was moving too fast in guaranteeing “Negro” voting rights and the right of “Negroes” (the term used in the question) to be served in public places such as restaurants, hotels and theaters, while just 25% thought it was not moving fast enough.
But despite all these reservations, views about what occurred in Selma were another matter. By a 48% to 21% margin, a Harris poll in May 1965 found its respondents saying they sided more with the civil rights groups involved than with the state of Alabama. Not unexpectedly, virtually all of the black respondents sided more with the demonstrators (95%), but the balance of opinion among whites was also clearly with them rather than with the state of Alabama (46% to 21%).
Note: For more about how contemporary Americans feel about achieving the goal of racial equality, see our report “Race in America 2019.”
Most Americans (77%) say it’s more important for the United States to develop alternative energy sources, such as solar and wind power, than to produce more coal, oil and other fossil fuels, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey. Which raises the question: How does the U.S. meet its vast energy needs, and how, if at all, has that changed?
The answer, as one might expect, is complicated. Solar and wind power use has grown at a rapid rate over the past decade or so, but as of 2018 those sources accounted for less than 4% of all the energy used in the U.S. (That’s the most recent full year for which data is available.) As far back as we have data, most of the energy used in the U.S. has come from coal, oil and natural gas. In 2018, those “fossil fuels” fed about 80% of the nation’s energy demand, down slightly from 84% a decade earlier. Although coal use has declined in recent years, natural gas use has soared, while oil’s share of the nation’s energy tab has fluctuated between 35% and 40%.
The total amount of energy used in the U.S. – everything from lighting and heating homes to cooking meals, fueling factories, driving cars and powering smartphones – hit 101.2 quadrillion Btu in 2018, the highest level since data collection began in 1949, according to the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA).
(Short for British thermal unit, Btu is often used in the energy industry – not to mention the home-appliance business – as a common yardstick to measure and compare different types of energy. One Btu is the amount of energy needed to heat 1 pound of water by 1 degree Fahrenheit at sea level. It’s equivalent to about 1,055 joules in the metric system, or the heat released by burning a common wooden kitchen match.)
Among U.S. adults who attend religious services a few times a year or more often, almost half (45%) say they’re not sure whether the clergy at their congregation are Democrats or Republicans, and roughly a quarter (27%) say their clergy are a mix of both. When congregants think they know the political affiliation of their religious leaders, 16% say their clergy are mostly Republicans, while a slightly smaller share say they are mostly Democrats (11%).
Nevertheless, the majority of churchgoers share the opinions of their clergy when politics are discussed: 62% of Americans who attend religious services at least a few times a year generally agree with their clergy about politics. Evangelical Protestants are particularly likely to do so (76%), compared with fewer who say this in the historically black Protestant (65%), mainline Protestant (58%) and Catholic traditions (53%).
More people around the world have a favorable view of the United States than China, according to a 2019 Pew Research Center survey of 33 countries. The U.S. receives significantly more positive marks than China in 21 of these countries – mostly clustered in Europe and the Asia-Pacific – while China fares better than the U.S. in seven countries.
At the same time, the leaders of these two global powers do not inspire much confidence. People in many surveyed countries hold negative views of both Donald Trump and Xi Jinping.
When it comes to views of the U.S. and China, the starkest gap is in Japan, where people are 54 percentage points more likely to have a positive view of the U.S. than China (68% vs. 14%). People in South Korea, the Philippines and India are also at least 37 points more likely to see the U.S. than China favorably. Large gaps of this nature also appear in many Central and Eastern European nations, such as Poland, Hungary, Lithuania and the Czech Republic.
In a handful of countries, people have more positive views of China than the U.S. For example, 71% of Russians see China favorably, while only 29% have a positive opinion of the U.S. People in Tunisia, Lebanon, Turkey and Mexico assess China more positively than the U.S., too. Nigerians also tend to be more favorable toward China than the U.S., but they are broadly positive about both nations, with 70% and 62%, respectively, saying they have a favorable view.
As 2020 begins – and health-related New Year’s resolutions take effect – roughly one-in-five U.S. adults (21%) say they regularly wear a smart watch or wearable fitness tracker, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted June 3-17, 2019.
As is true with many other forms of digital technology, use of these devices varies substantially by socioeconomic factors. Around three-in-ten Americans living in households earning $75,000 or more a year (31%) say they wear a smart watch or fitness tracker on a regular basis, compared with 12% of those whose annual household income falls below $30,000. Differences by education follow a similar pattern, with college graduates adopting these devices at higher rates than those who have a high school education or less, according to the survey of 4,272 U.S. adults.
There are more modest differences by gender and race and ethnicity. Women are more likely than men to say they regularly use these devices (25% vs. 18%). Hispanic adults are more likely than whites to report regularly wearing a fitness tracker (26% vs. 20%), while black adults fall in between at 23%.
A fitness tracker can compile a variety of data about the wearer’s activities, depending on the complexity of the device. Users can monitor this data with a corresponding app, where they can manually input additional information about themselves and their lifestyle. As a result, the makers of fitness trackers amass a wealth of data on their users that can be used in many ways. Current privacy policies for many fitness tracking apps allow users’ data to be shared with others. Some researchers are already using data from these apps for health research.
The notion that the U.S. economy is “rigged” to benefit the wealthy and special interests was a major rallying cry in the 2016 presidential election and is already resurfacing in the 2020 race.
This message is likely to resonate with many Americans. Seven-in-ten U.S. adults say the economic system in their country unfairly favors powerful interests, compared with less than a third who say the system is generally fair to most Americans. Wide majorities of Americans also say politicians, large corporations and people who are wealthy have too much power and influence in today’s economy.
These findings are part of a larger Pew Research Center survey on economic inequality. The survey finds, among other things, that most Americans believe there is too much inequality in the United States, with a majority of those who hold this view saying that major changes to the economic system are needed in order to address inequality.
Across income groups, Americans tend to agree that the economic system unfairly favors powerful interests. Two-thirds of upper-income adults (66%) say this, as do 69% of middle- and 73% of lower-income adults. No more than about a third in each income group say the economic system is generally fair to most Americans. Read More →
Young people in the United States express far more skeptical views of America’s global standing than older adults. They are also more likely to say it would be acceptable if another country became as militarily powerful as the U.S., according to a survey conducted in September on Pew Research Center’s American Trends Panel.
Overall, most Americans say either that the U.S. “stands above all other countries” (24%) or that it is “one of the greatest countries, along with some others” (55%). About one-in-five (21%) say “there are other countries that are better than the U.S.”
However, slightly more than a third (36%) of adults ages 18 to 29 say there are other countries that are better than the U.S., the highest share of any age group.
Age differences in these views are evident within both partisan coalitions but are particularly wide among Democrats. Nearly half (47%) of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents under 30 say there are other countries that are better than the U.S., as do roughly a third (34%) of those ages 30 to 49. By comparison, just 20% of Democrats ages 50 and older say this.
Among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, 19% of adults under 30 say there are other countries that are superior to the U.S. In contrast, just 4% of Republicans 50 and older take this view. Read More →
People around the world have differing assessments of the United States and its president, according to a new Pew Research Center study. On one hand, views of the U.S. are favorable across many of the 33 countries we surveyed in 2019. On the other, confidence in U.S. President Donald Trump is low, though not as low as it was shortly after he took office in 2017.
As has been the case in past surveys by the Center, Trump inspires much less confidence globally than his predecessor, Barack Obama, and he receives more negative marks than other current world leaders, such as Germany’s Angela Merkel. In addition, Trump’s foreign policies are deeply unpopular. Support for Trump and these policies abroad disproportionately comes from people on the ideological right and those who favor right-wing populist parties in Europe.
Here are 10 charts that show how people around the world see the U.S. and its president, based on the new report: Read More →
Public attitudes about the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine remain broadly positive in the United States, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.
An overwhelming majority of U.S. adults (88%) say the benefits of the MMR vaccine outweigh the risks – the same share as in 2016, when the Center last asked this question – while the share who consider its preventive health benefits to be “very high” has grown by 11 percentage points during that time (from 45% to 56%). A 69% majority of Americans consider the risk of side effects from the vaccine to be either low or very low, about the same as in 2016.
The findings come amid rising public health concerns about measles outbreaks in the U.S. and around the world. In 2019, the U.S. reported the highest annual number of measles cases in more than 25 years. And a recent study found that vaccination rates in more than half of U.S. states have been declining over the past several years.
How we did this
These findings are based on a survey conducted Oct. 1-13, 2019, among 3,627 U.S. adults. 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. Recruiting our panelists by phone or mail ensures that nearly all U.S. adults have a chance of selection. This gives us confidence that any sample can represent the whole population. The margin of sampling error for the full sample is plus or minus 2.1 percentage points.
Ratings of the preventive health benefits and risk of side effects of the MMR vaccine were asked of 1,811 U.S. adults from the same ATP survey; the margin of error for all asked is plus or minus 2.9 percentage points. For more, see the full topline questionnaire and methodology.
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.
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