As the Senate prepares to vote on Amy Coney Barrett’s appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court, public attention has focused on her Catholic faith and, in particular, her stance on abortion rights.
Some critics, citing Barrett’s past rulings on abortion, have questioned her views on Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court decision that established a woman’s right to abortion. Others have connected Barrett’s legal opinions to her embrace of Catholic teachings, which prohibit abortion. During Senate hearings last week, Barrett declined to give specific answers about her stance on Roe v. Wade, saying that she does not have “any agenda.” If she is confirmed, Barrett will be the sixth Catholic justice on the court.
In practice, Catholics’ views on abortion are not always aligned with the guidance of their church. Like U.S. adults overall, the majority of U.S. Catholics say abortion should be legal – at least in some cases – as do many Catholic legislators and other politicians. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, who often describes himself as a devout Catholic, has said women have a constitutional right to abortion and has vowed to uphold Roe v. Wade, although he has in the past backed curbs on abortion.
Pew Research Center has asked Catholic adults their views on abortion many times over the years, including in a 2019 survey that addressed Roe directly. Here is a compilation of key findings from these surveys.
Note: This post has been updated with new Florida statewide Hispanic voter registration totals that reflect final tallies.
About 2.5 million Latinos are registered to vote in Florida for the 2020 presidential election, making up a record 17% of the state’s total. This is up from 2016, when about 2 million Latinos were registered to vote, accounting for 16% of Florida’s registered voters, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of Florida state government data.
Nearly 476,000 additional Hispanics are registered to vote in Florida in 2020 compared with 2016, accounting for 30% of the state’s overall growth in registered voters during that span. This increase eclipses Hispanic voter growth in previous election cycles. For example, the number of Hispanic registered voters in Florida grew by 364,000 between 2012 and 2016 and by 305,000 between 2008 and 2012 – the last time an incumbent president was up for reelection. These figures are as of Florida’s “book closing” date on Oct. 6 and represent final voter registration figures for the Nov. 3 general election.)
Once again, Florida is a battleground state in a presidential election. The state has the largest Latino electorate among all battleground states and the third-largest Latino electorate overall (3.1 million eligible voters), trailing only California (7.9 million) and Texas (5.6 million).
As governments around the world debate the mix of fossil fuel and renewable sources they use to meet their energy needs, public attitudes about natural gas are mostly positive, according to a recent international survey by Pew Research Center.
A median of 69% of adults across the 20 global publics favor expanding the use of natural gas, including about two-thirds or more in 16 of those places. The survey was conducted between October 2019 and March 2020 in the United States, Canada, Brazil, Russia and other places in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.
Public support for expanding use of natural gas stands in contrast to the much smaller shares of adults who express support for expanding oil (median of 39%) and coal (median of 24%). And it comes even as many people in the surveyed areas say the priority for energy production should be increasing renewable sources. A median of 93% of adults in the surveyed areas support using more solar power, for example, and a median of 87% say the same about wind power.
As Election Day nears, Hispanic registered voters in the United States express growing confidence in Joe Biden’s ability to handle key issues like the coronavirus outbreak, with women and college graduates especially confident. By contrast, Hispanics’ views of Donald Trump on major issues are largely negative and mostly unchanged from June. These views of the 2020 presidential candidates come as most Hispanic voters continue to hold bleak views of the nation and its economy after months of widespread job losses and illness due to COVID-19, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted Sept. 30-Oct. 5.
About two-thirds of Latino registered voters say they are somewhat or very confident in Biden to tackle five issues asked about in October, with confidence in Biden higher on every issue since June. The share with confidence in Biden to handle the public health impact of the coronavirus outbreak is up 8 percentage points, 71% in October vs. 62% in June. The largest increase – 15 points – came on confidence in Biden’s ability to bring the country closer together, a margin of 70% vs. 55%. Meanwhile, 66% have confidence in Biden to make good decisions about economic policy, up from 58% who said so in June. In an earlier survey this summer, Latino voters said the economy, health care and the coronavirus outbreak were three of the most important issues to their vote for president.
U.S. registered voters overall also express growing confidence on Biden on these issues, though the increases were more modest and confidence was lower than among Latino voters. For example, 57% of U.S. voters say they have confidence in Biden to handle the public health impact of the coronavirus outbreak, up from 52% in June.
Amid the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, people around the world are still concerned by the threat of global climate change. A median of 70% across 14 countries surveyed over the summer say climate change is a major threat to their country. A similar median, 69%, say the same of the spread of infectious diseases.
About two-thirds of Americans (64%) say social media have a mostly negative effect on the way things are going in the country today, according to a Pew Research Center survey of U.S. adults conducted July 13-19, 2020. Just one-in-ten Americans say social media sites have a mostly positive effect on the way things are going, and one-quarter say these platforms have a neither positive nor negative effect.
Those who have a negative view of the impact of social media mention, in particular, misinformation and the hate and harassment they see on social media. They also have concerns about users believing everything they see or read – or not being sure about what to believe. Additionally, they bemoan social media’s role in fomenting partisanship and polarization, the creation of echo chambers, and the perception that these platforms oppose President Donald Trump and conservatives.
Roughly a quarter (23%) of adult social media users in the United States – and 17% of adults overall – say they have changed their views about a political or social issue because of something they saw on social media in the past year, according to a July Pew Research Center survey.
The share of social media users who say they have changed their views on an issue has increased since the Center last asked this question in 2018 – 23% now, compared with 15% then (among the overall population, the share is 17% now and was 14% then). And when asked to elaborate on the things they have changed their views about, these adults often mention the Black Lives Matter movement and police brutality. They also mention changes in their views about political parties, ideologies and political figures.
Mail-in voting – often called absentee voting or vote-by-mail – has slowly but steadily gained in popularity in the United States. And it received a big boost this year as primary season ran head-on into the novel coronavirus pandemic. Mail-in ballots accounted for just over half of this year’s primary votes cast in the 37 states (plus the District of Columbia) for which data is available. That was roughly double the mail-in share of the vote in those same jurisdictions in the 2018 and 2016 general elections.
In all, 26.6 million mail-in votes were cast in the 49 presidential, state and combined primaries that the Center examined for 2020, out of nearly 53 million total votes. (Some states held stand-alone presidential primaries and their regular state primaries at a later date; others combined them all on a single date.) The actual totals are almost certainly bigger, since some of the states for which detailed data isn’t available – including Colorado, Arizona and Montana – historically have had high rates of mail-in voting.
President Donald Trump continues to be White Christians’ preferred candidate for the November election, but support among voters in three major traditions – White Catholics, White Protestants who are not evangelical and even White evangelical Protestants – has slipped since August, according to a new Pew Research Center poll.
Democratic candidate Joe Biden, by contrast, is leading the presidential contest among every other religious group analyzed in the survey, including Black Protestants, Hispanic Catholics, Jews and the religiously unaffiliated. The poll of 10,543 U.S. registered voters nationwide was conducted Sept. 30 to Oct. 5, as Trump spent four days in the hospital amid a White House COVID-19 outbreak.
Among White Catholic voters, Trump is ahead of Biden by 8 percentage points: 52% in this group say they would vote for Trump (or lean that way) if the election were held today, while 44% favor Biden. This gap has narrowed significantly – Trump was 19 points ahead of Biden (59% to 40%) the last time this question was asked in a poll conducted in late July and early August.
Support from White Protestants who do not consider themselves to be evangelical or born-again has dropped at a similar pace: 53% say they would vote for Trump if the election were today, down from 59% who said this in the summer poll. Even White evangelical Protestants have softened slightly in their support for Trump, though they overwhelmingly remain on his side: 78% of White evangelicals intend to cast ballots for Trump, compared with 83% who said this in August.
Republicans and GOP-leaning independents who rely most on President Donald Trump and his coronavirus task force for news about COVID-19 – one of 10 news sources the Center asked about – stand out in several ways in their attitudes about the outbreak. For example, 89% of Republicans in this group say the U.S. has controlled the outbreak as much as it could have, compared with 59% of Republicans who don’t rely most on Trump and the task force.
Republicans who turn to Trump for coronavirus news are also more likely than other Republicans to say the pandemic has been overblown, that Trump is getting the facts about the outbreak right and that public health organizations are not getting the facts right, according to the survey, conducted Aug. 31-Sept. 7 as part of the Center’s American News Pathways project. The poll was fielded before Trump tested positive for the virus and was hospitalized.
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.