Newcomers to polling sometimes assume that if you are asking Americans questions about politics, it’s only fair to include an equal number of Republicans and Democrats. While this notion makes some sense on the surface, it’s based on a misunderstanding of what polling is intended to do. The goal of a national political survey isn’t to artificially even the playing field. It’s to represent groups in their actual proportions within the country. And a wide range of evidence shows that there are more Democrats than Republicans in the United States today.
Gold-standard, nonpartisan surveys have found for decades that more U.S. adults identify with or lean toward the Democratic Party than the Republican Party – whether these surveys take place under GOP or Democratic presidential administrations. That is the finding of two of the highest-quality surveys that use nationally representative data collected through in-person interviews: the General Social Survey and the American National Election Studies. It’s also the result obtained by numerous other reputable surveys that poll Americans by telephone or online using randomly selected samples of adults, including those done by us here at Pew Research Center, as well as those done by Gallup, Fox News, Kaiser Family Foundation and The Associated Press-NORC. (The Census Bureau, which runs the nation’s most authoritative surveys, notably does not ask Americans about their partisan affiliation.) Read More →
New York, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., are the financial, entertainment and political capitals of the United States – and that may help explain why they are home to a disproportionately large share of the nation’s newsroom employees. About one-in-five newsroom employees (22%) live in these three metro areas, which, by comparison, are home to 13% of all U.S. workers, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data covering the period from 2013 to 2017.
Long known as the media capital of the world, New York, at 12%, has the greatest share of all U.S. newsroom employees – those who work as reporters, editors, photographers and videographers in the newspaper, broadcasting and internet publishing industries. This is more than twice the share living in the Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., metro areas, which are each home to 5% of the nation’s newsroom employees.
A majority of Americans say it is acceptable for professional athletes to speak out publicly about political issues, and relatively few say it’s important that the athletes they support share their political views, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.
Overall, about six-in-ten U.S. adults (62%) say it’s very or somewhat acceptable for professional athletes to speak out publicly about political issues, while 35% say this is not too or not at all acceptable. But these views differ by age, race and ethnicity – and especially political affiliation.
About three-quarters (74%) of adults ages 18 to 29 say it is very or somewhat acceptable for professional athletes to speak out publicly about politics. By comparison, 67% of adults ages 30 to 49, 55% of those ages 50 to 64 and half of those 65 and older say this.
Argentines are headed to the polls for their general election on Oct. 27. They will cast their votes against a backdrop of wide discontent with the way things are going in the country and little faith in their elected officials and public institutions, according to a Pew Research Center survey.
The August financial shock is the latest of a long series of crises that have plagued Argentina’s economy. According to a 2018 report by the World Bank, the nation has experienced 14 financial crises since 1950, not including this latest recession.
For years now, Twitter has been an important platform for disseminating news and sharing opinions about U.S. politics, and 22% of U.S. adults say they use the platform. But the Twitter conversation about national politics among U.S. adult users is driven by a small number of prolific political tweeters. These users make up just 6% of all U.S. adults with public accounts on the site, but they account for 73% of tweets from American adults that mention national politics.
Most U.S. adults on Twitter largely avoid the topic: The median user never tweeted about national politics, while 69% only tweeted about it once or not at all. Across all tweets from U.S. adults, just 13% focused on national politics, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis based on public tweets that were posted between June 2018 and June 2019.
The Center defined political tweeters – 31% of all U.S. adult users with public accounts – as those who had tweeted at least five times, and at least twice about national politics, over the study period. But within this broader group, there is a subset of highly prolific political tweeters who created 10 or more tweets between June 10, 2018, and June 9, 2019, with at least 25% of them mentioning national politics.
The annual meeting of the American Political Science Association took place in Washington, D.C., in September, with researchers from around the world showcasing new findings. Below are brief summaries of some of the research presented at the conference (though the meeting covered many other subjects, and our researchers couldn’t attend every panel). Several of these papers relate to past Pew Research Center work on misinformation and survey methodology.
As is true of many academic conferences, some of these results may be preliminary and could be revised, and several of the papers are not yet published in peer-reviewed journals. The full conference program is available here.
Researchers are learning more about early political socialization. Researchers from the University of Notre Dame looked at the formative years of political life using a nationally representative sample of teens ages 15 to 18. They showed that teen girls were particularly energized by the 2018 midterm election, and that, compared with boys, girls’ belief that they can make a difference politically (such as by writing elected officials, protesting or otherwise making their voices heard) improved dramatically.
Guns are deeply ingrained in American society. The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gives Americans the right to bear arms, and three-in-ten American adults personally own a gun. Most of these gun owners say the right to own firearms is essential to their own personal sense of freedom.
At the same time, gun violence – from big-city murders to mass shootings – has spurred debate in Congress and state legislatures over proposals to limit Americans’ access to firearms. Counting murders and suicides, nearly 40,000 people died of gun-related violence in the United States in 2017, the highest annual total in decades.
Here are seven key findings about Americans’ experiences with and attitudes toward guns, drawn from recent Pew Research Center surveys and other data sources.
1Three-in-ten American adults (30%) say they personally own a gun, and an additional 11% say they live with someone who does, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in March and April 2017. Whether or not they personally own a gun, Americans have broad exposure to firearms: Nearly half of U.S. adults (48%) grew up in a household with guns, nearly six-in-ten (59%) have friends who own guns and around seven-in-ten (72%) have fired a gun at some point in their lives – including 55% of those who have never personally owned a gun.
Among Americans who own a gun, nearly two-thirds (66%) say they own more than one, including 29% who own five or more. A large majority of gun owners (72%) own a handgun or pistol, while 62% own a rifle and 54% own a shotgun. About three-quarters of gun owners (73%) say they could never see themselves not owning a gun.
2Protection tops the list of reasons why gun owners have a gun, according to the same survey. Two-thirds of gun owners (67%) say this is a major reason why they own a firearm. Considerably smaller shares say hunting (38%), sport shooting (30%), gun collecting (13%) or their job (8%) are major reasons. While men and women are about equally likely to cite protection (65% and 71%, respectively) as a major reason they own a gun, women are more likely than men to cite protection as the only reason (27% of women vs. 8% of men). Higher shares of male gun owners than female gun owners point to hunting (43% vs. 31%) and sport shooting (34% vs. 23%) as major reasons for gun ownership.
The European Union is viewed favorably across much of the world, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.
A median of 58% of adults across 33 surveyed countries have a favorable opinion of the EU, while just 27% hold an unfavorable view. In the 19 non-EU countries surveyed, attitudes are also positive, with a median of 51% expressing a favorable view and 25% reporting an unfavorable opinion (though a significant proportion of respondents in some countries offer no opinion).
Central and Eastern Europeans tend to express the most enthusiasm toward the EU: Across six countries in the region, positive ratings outweigh negative ones by more than three-to-one (a median of 74% vs. a median of 23%).
People in Poland (84%) and Lithuania (83%) are especially positive, giving the two highest ratings for the EU of all countries included in the study. Enthusiasm is more tempered in the Czech Republic, though 52% of Czechs still rate the EU favorably.
Western Europeans largely see the Brussels-based institution positively. Across the eight Western European nations surveyed, a median of 62% give the EU favorable marks.
While still generally positive, sizable shares in France (47%), the UK (44%) and Greece (44%) hold unfavorable views of the EU. In fact, people in these three nations are as negative or more negative toward the EU than people in Russia, where 44% have an unfavorable view.
As the 2020 U.S. census approaches, Americans overwhelmingly are aware of it, and more than eight-in-ten (84%) say they definitely or probably will participate, a new Pew Research Center survey finds. Still, 16% express at least some uncertainty about responding, with higher shares saying this among some demographic groups.
Black and Hispanic adults, as well as those with lower income levels, are more likely to say they probably or definitely will not participate in the census, or that they might or might not. Black and Hispanic adults have been undercounted in the past, while lower-income adults are classified as a “hard to count” population, according to Census Bureau research.
Age is also an important predictor of whether people say they may participate, even after controlling for other factors. Young adults – those ages 18 to 29 – are least likely to be on board of the four age groups included in this analysis.
There is no notable difference between Democrats and Republicans (including those who lean toward each party) when it comes to awareness of the census and intention to participate.
The new national survey was conducted online Sept. 16-29 among 6,878 adults, in English and Spanish, using Pew Research Center’s American Trends Panel.
Three decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall, people in former West and East Germany overwhelmingly say the unification of their country was a positive development, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. Large majorities in both areas say the changes that have unfolded in Germany since 1989 have had a good influence on living standards, health care and national pride, and most also see improvements in areas including family values, spiritual values and law and order.
On a personal level, too, Germans are happier with their lives, according to the survey, which was conducted in spring 2019 among representative samples of adults in the pre-1990 Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) and former German Democratic Republic (East Germany). Majorities in both areas now place themselves at 7 or higher on a 10-point “ladder” of life satisfaction, where 10 represents the best possible life. When Pew Research Center asked the life satisfaction question in 1991 and 2009, no more than roughly half in either area placed themselves in this top tier. The increase has been especially dramatic in the former East, where the share who rate their lives at 7 or higher has almost quadrupled from just 15% in 1991 to 59% this year.
Despite widespread positive sentiments among Germans about the changes of the past 30 years, the perspectives of those in the former West and East still differ in some notable ways. Here is a look at some of the areas where these differences are most pronounced. 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.
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