News

Pew Poll: Mixed Views of Impact of Long-Term Decline in Union Membership    Monday, April 27, 2015
Over the past three decades, the share of wage and salary workers in the United States who belong to labor unions has fallen by about half.  The public expresses mixed views of the impact of the long-term decline in union membership on the country: 45% say this has been mostly a bad thing, while 43% see it as mostly a good thing. However, the effects of the decline in union membership on working people is seen in more negative terms: 52% say the reduction in union representation has been mostly bad for working people, compared with fewer (40%) who say it has been mostly good. The balance of opinion on this question is about the same as it was in a 1994 NBC/Wall Street Journal survey that asked about the previous 20 years. The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted March 25-29 among 1,500 adults, finds little recent change in overall favorability of labor unions: 48% hold a favorable view of unions, while somewhat fewer (39%) say they have an unfavorable view. Opinions of unions have recovered from lows reached in 2010 and 2011. The results are based on data collected from telephone interviews conducted March 25-29, 2015 by Princeton Survey Research Associates International among a national sample of 1,500 adults age 18 or older, including 975 cell phone interviews.

Kaiser Health Tracking Poll: April 2015    Tuesday, April 21, 2015
This month’s Kaiser Health Tracking Poll finds public opinion of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) continues to be almost evenly split, with 43 percent reporting a favorable view and 42 percent reporting an unfavorable view. The share with a favorable view exceeds the share with an unfavorable view for the first time since November 2012, albeit by one percentage point, and the difference is within the survey’s margin of sampling error and is not statistically significant.  When asked about health care priorities for the President and Congress, the change that comes out on top for Democrats, Republicans and independents alike is making sure that high-cost drugs for chronic conditions, such as HIV, hepatitis, mental illness and cancer, are affordable to those who need them, with three-quarters of the public (76 percent) saying this should be a top priority.  Sixty percent say that government action to lower prescription drug prices should be a top priority and majorities say things like provider network protections and increased transparency related to the prices and quality of health care should be top priorities. Other than high-cost prescription drugs, Democrats, Republicans and independents have different ideas of their top priorities in health care. In terms of the availability of price and quality information, fewer than 1 in 5 say they have seen any information comparing the quality or prices for hospitals, doctors, or health insurers in the past 12 months, and fewer than 1 in 10 report using these types of information. The results are based on data collected from telephone interviews conducted April 8-14, 2015 by Princeton Survey Research Associates International among a national sample of 1,506 adults age 18 or older, including 905 cell phone interviews.

Pew Poll: Views of Supreme Court Little Changed as Major Rulings Loom    Monday, April 20, 2015
Public views of the Supreme Court are little changed since last summer, following the court’s ruling in the Hobby Lobby case and other end-of-term decisions. Currently, half of Americans (50%) have a favorable opinion of the Supreme Court, while 39% say they have an unfavorable view. The court’s upcoming decisions, on such contentious subjects as same-sex marriage, the death penalty and the Affordable Care Act, have the potential to affect opinions of the court. The court will hear arguments April 28 in cases to overturn state bans on same-sex marriage. The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center finds no significant partisan differences in views of the court: 54% of Democrats and 50% of Republicans view the Supreme Court favorably. Little Partisan Gap in Current Views of Supreme CourtIn recent years, partisan views of the court shifted following major, end-of-term decisions. In 2012, the share of Republicans viewing the court favorably declined 18 points (from 56% to 38%), after the court’s ruling upholding most parts of the Affordable Care Act; by contrast, favorable opinions among Democrats rose 12 points (from 52% to 64%). The results are based on data collected from telephone interviews conducted March 25-29, 2015 by Princeton Survey Research Associates International among a national sample of 1,500 adults age 18 or older, including 975 cell phone interviews.

Pew Poll: Less Support for Death Penalty, Especially Among Democrats    Thursday, April 16, 2015
A majority of Americans favor the death penalty for those convicted of murder, but support for the death penalty is as low as it has been in the past 40 years. A new Pew Research Center survey finds 56% favor the death penalty for people convicted of murder, while 38% are opposed. The share supporting the death penalty has declined six percentage points, from 62%, since 2011. Throughout much of the 1980s and 90s, support for the death penalty often surpassed 70%. In a 1996 survey, 78% favored the death penalty, while just 18% were opposed. Much of the decline in support over the past two decades has come among Democrats. Currently, just 40% of Democrats favor the death penalty, while 56% are opposed. In 1996, Democrats favored capital punishment by a wide margin (71% to 25%). There has been much less change in opinions among Republicans: 77% favor the death penalty, down from 87% in 1996. The share of independents who favor the death penalty has fallen 22 points over this period, from 79% to 57%. The results are based on data collected from telephone interviews conducted March 25-29, 2015 by Princeton Survey Research Associates International among a national sample of 1,500 adults age 18 or older, including 975 cell phone interviews.

Pew Global: Cell Phones in Africa - Communication Lifeline    Wednesday, April 15, 2015
In a few short years, the proliferation of mobile phone networks has transformed communications in sub-Saharan Africa. It has also allowed Africans to skip the landline stage of development and jump right to the digital age. Cell phones are pervasive in the region. In 2002, roughly one-in-ten owned a mobile phone in Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya and Ghana. Since then, cell phone ownership has grown exponentially. Today, cell phones are as common in South Africa and Nigeria as they are in the United States. Smartphones (those that can access the internet and applications) are less widely used, though significant minorities own these devices in several nations, including 34% of South Africans. Cell phones have different uses for different people, but sending text messages and taking pictures or video are the most popular activities among mobile owners. In a few nations, such as Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, mobile banking is also relatively common. Other activities, such as getting political news, accessing a social networking site, getting health and consumer information and looking for a job are done less frequently. Results for the survey are interviews conducted April 11 to June 5, 2014, among 7,052 respondents in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda. All interviews were face-to-face.

Pew Poll: In Debate Over Legalizing Marijuana, Disagreement Over Drug’s Dangers    Tuesday, April 14, 2015
Public opinion about legalizing marijuana, while little changed in the past few years, has undergone a dramatic long-term shift. A new survey finds that 53% favor the legal use of marijuana, while 44% are opposed.  As recently as 2006, just 32% supported marijuana legalization, while nearly twice as many (60%) were opposed. Millennials (currently 18-34) have been in the forefront of this change: 68% favor legalizing marijuana use, by far the highest percentage of any age cohort. But across all generations –except for the Silent Generation (ages 70-87) – support for legalization has risen sharply over the past decade. The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center finds that supporters of legalizing the use of marijuana are far more likely than opponents to say they have changed their mind on this issue. Among the public overall, 30% say they support legalizing marijuana use and have always felt that way, while 21% have changed their minds; they say there was a time when they thought it should be illegal. By contrast, 35% say they oppose legalization and have always felt that way; just 7% have changed their minds from supporting to opposing legalization. The results are based on data collected from telephone interviews conducted March 25-29, 2015 by Princeton Survey Research Associates International among a national sample of 1,500 adults age 18 or older, including 975 cell phone interviews.

Bankrate Poll: Did you miss the stock market rally? You're not alone    Thursday, April 09, 2015
Despite the proliferation of investment-based retirement accounts such as 401(k)s, 52 percent of Americans report not owning any stocks or stock-based investments such as mutual funds, according to Bankrate's Money Pulse survey. That doesn't surprise Robert Stammers, CFA, director of investor education for the CFA Institute. He says many Americans "see themselves as savers and they worry about capital preservation." Because of that, "they don't take the risk necessary to achieve the returns that they need to fulfill their long-term investment goals." Opting out of stocks, which have historically been one of the highest-returning types of securities available to individual investors, is likely to have some harsh consequences for Americans over the long term. "The average person has less than $25,000 saved for retirement," Stammers says. "So people certainly aren't prepared, and that's just making them less prepared." For adults under 30, only 26 percent of whom said they own stock, the consequences could be profound. Young people who don't invest in equities early are set to have "a lot less money later on," says John Salter, associate professor of financial planning at Texas Tech University. The results are based on data collected from telephone interviews conducted March 19-22, 2015 by Princeton Survey Research Associates International among a national sample of 1,001 adults age 18 and older including 501 cellphone interviews.

Pew Global: Americans, Japanese: Mutual Respect 70 Years After the End of WWII    Tuesday, April 07, 2015
Adversaries in World War II, fierce economic competitors in the 1980s and early 1990s, Americans and Japanese nonetheless share a deep mutual respect. About two-thirds of Americans trust Japan a great deal or a fair amount and three-quarters of Japanese say they trust the United States, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. Americans are pleased with the current state of U.S.-Japan relations: More than eight-in-ten prefer that ties between the two nations remain as close as they have been in recent years or get closer. But Americans are divided over whether Japan should play a more active military role in the Asia-Pacific region. Even so, twice as many Americans as Japanese think Japan should take on more military responsibilities. As the two nations mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, history continues to frame U.S.-Japan ties. But different incidents over the past seven decades stand out in the American and Japanese consciousness. Americans cite both WWII, and the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan as the most important events in the modern relationship. The Japanese are most likely to name the postwar U.S.-Japan military alliance. Americans believe that Japan has atoned for its actions during WWII. But more than half of Americans, especially those 65 years of age and older, still believe, as they have since 1945, that the U.S. use of nuclear weapons to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki was justified. The Japanese strongly disagree. The results are based on data collected from telephone interviews conducted February 12-15, 2015 by Princeton Survey Research Associates International among a national sample of 1,000 adults age 18 and older including 500 cellphone interviews.

Pew Poll: More Approve Than Disapprove of Iran Talks, But Most Think Iranians Are ‘Not Serious’    Monday, March 30, 2015
Ahead of a March 31 deadline for nuclear talks with Iran, more Americans approve (49%) than disapprove (40%) of the United States negotiating directly with Iran over its nuclear program. But the public remains skeptical of whether Iranian leaders are serious about addressing international concerns over their nuclear enrichment program. If a nuclear agreement is reached, most Americans (62%) want Congress to have final authority over the deal. Just 29% say President Obama should have final authority over any nuclear agreement with Iran. The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted March 25-29 among 1,500 adults, finds that just 27% have heard a lot about the nuclear talks between the United States and Iran in Lausanne, Switzerland. Another 49% have heard a little about the negotiations, while 24% have heard nothing at all. The results are based on data collected from telephone interviews conducted March 25-29, 2015 by Princeton Survey Research Associates International among a national sample of 1,500 adults age 18 and older including 975 cellphone interviews.

Pew Poll: Federal Tax System Seen in Need of Overhaul    Thursday, March 19, 2015
The public sees the nation’s tax system as deeply flawed: 59% say “there is so much wrong with the federal tax system that Congress should completely change it.” Just 38% think the system “works pretty well” and requires “only minor changes.” These opinions have changed little since 2011. More Are Bothered by Corporations, Wealthy Not Paying Fair Share Than by What They Pay in TaxesWith the April 15 filing deadline approaching, Americans’ top complaint about the tax system is not the amount that they pay in taxes. Rather, it is the feeling that some corporations and wealthy people do not pay their fair share of taxes. Just 27% are bothered “a lot” by the amount they pay in taxes. By contrast, 64% say they are bothered a lot by the feeling that some corporations do not pay their fair share of taxes, and 61% say the same about some wealthy people failing to pay their fair share. In views of other aspects of the tax system, 44% say they are bothered a lot by the complexity of the system, while just 20% are bothered a great deal by the feeling that some poor people are not paying their fair share of taxes. The results are based on data collected from telephone interviews conducted February 18-22, 2015 by Princeton Survey Research Associates International among a national sample of 1,504 adults age 18 or older, including 978 cell phone interviews.


Pew Poll: Public Libraries and Hispanics    Tuesday, March 17, 2015
When it comes to public libraries, immigrant Hispanics pose both a challenge and an opportunity to the library community. On the one hand, this group, which makes up half of the adult U.S. Hispanic population, is less likely than other Americans to have ever visited a U.S. public library and is much less likely to say that they see it as “very easy” to do so. At the same time, Hispanic immigrants who have made their way to a public library stand out as the most appreciative of what libraries have to offer, from free books to research resources to the fact that libraries tend to offer a quiet, safe space. And they are more likely than other groups to say that closing their community library would have a major impact on their family. These are some of the findings of this latest installment of the Pew Research Center’s reporting on the Center’s landmark 2013 Library Services Survey. Seven-in-ten (72%) Latinos ages 16 and older say they have visited a public library or bookmobile in person at one point or another in their lives, the survey shows, a share below that of whites (83%) and blacks (80%). But this finding masks a large difference among Latinos. Fully 83% of U.S.-born Latinos say they have visited a public library at some point in their lives—a share similar to that of whites and blacks. However, among immigrant Latinos, a smaller share—60%—say they have visited a public library or bookmobile in person. The results are based on data collected from telephone interviews conducted July 18-Septmeber 30, 2013 by Princeton Survey Research Associates International among a national sample of 6,224 Americans, including 739 Hispanics ages 16 and older.

Bankrate Poll: Do you want a big tax refund or bigger paycheck?    Thursday, March 12, 2015
Americans may hate the annual tax-filing season, but they certainly welcome the refunds that are issued each year. In fact, more than half of those who participated in Bankrate's March Money Pulse survey say that they expect to get or have already received their IRS tax refund from the Treasury Department. That's not surprising. The IRS reports that most taxpayers do get money back each year when they file their returns. The desire for a refund is strong at all income levels. More than half of respondents in the Bankrate Money Pulse poll say they prefer tax refunds to breaking even at filing time or owing Uncle Sam a bit. And nearly 4 in 10 (38 percent) of all Americans say they would like a big IRS tax refund. Only 27 percent of Americans say they want to hit that tax sweet spot of not getting a refund, but not owing Uncle Sam any money when they file their 1040 forms. The results are based on data collected from telephone interviews conducted February 26 - March 1, 2015 by Princeton Survey Research Associates International among a national sample of 1,003 adults age 18 and older including 501 cellphone interviews.

Credit Cards Poll: Public lukewarm about paying by cellphone    Monday, March 09, 2015
U.S. consumers are no more interested in paying for purchases using mobile phones than they were six months ago, when Apple unveiled its high-profile pay-by-iPhone technology known as Apple Pay, according to a new poll from CreditCards.com. The poll suggests that even though the number of mobile payments is growing dramatically, with Apple Pay becoming a dominant method, skeptics of paying by phone remain unmoved. In the telephone poll 17 percent of respondents said they would pay for items using a cellphone "always" or "most of the time" if they could. When the same question was asked in September 2014, 13 percent of those answering responded similarly. Those answering "never" or "hardly ever" accounted for 64 percent this time, compared with 62 percent in the fall. This poll's margin of error is 3.6 percentage points. The indifference to mobile payments comes even as Apple, Google and other technology companies continue to push the technology. At an event Monday, Apple CEO Tim Cook said Apple Pay is available at 700,000 locations nationwide, and he detailed plans for the Apple Watch, debuting in April, which will allow wearers to charge items by waving the watch near a payment terminal at a participating retailer. The results are based on data collected from telephone interviews conducted March 5-8, 2015 by Princeton Survey Research Associates International among a national sample of 1,000 adults age 18 or older, including 500 cell phone interviews.

Pew Poll: Far More Interest Among Republicans Than Democrats in Clinton Emails, Netanyahu    Monday, March 09, 2015
From news about the economy to controversy over Hillary Clinton’s emails and the trial of the Boston marathon bomber, no single story dominated the public’s news interest last week. The Week's Top StoriesTwo stories drew far more interest from Republicans than Democrats: 34% of Republicans followed reports about Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email address as secretary of state very closely, compared with just 16% of Democrats. Similarly, about twice as many Republicans (34%) as Democrats (18%) closely followed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress last Tuesday. Partisan Differences in Interest in Clinton Emails, NetanyahuThere are smaller partisan differences in interest in the week’s other stories. For instance, comparable percentages of Democrats (26%) and Republicans (22%) paid very close attention to arguments at the Supreme Court over the Affordable Care Act; 30% of Democrats and 24% of Republicans very closely followed news about the Department of Justice report on race and policing in Ferguson, Mo. The results are based on data collected from telephone interviews conducted March 5-8, 2015 by Princeton Survey Research Associates International among a national sample of 1,000 adults age 18 or older, including 500 cell phone interviews.

Pew Poll: Most Say Government Policies Since Recession Have Done Little to Help Middle Class, Poor    Wednesday, March 04, 2015
The public makes sharp distinctions about which groups have benefited – and which have not – from the economic policies the government has put in place since the start of the recession. Majorities say that large banks, large corporations and the wealthy have been helped a great deal or a fair amount by government policies. By contrast, 72% say that, in general, the government’s policies since the recession have done little or nothing to help middle class people, and nearly as many say they have provided little or no help for small businesses (68%) and the poor (65%). These opinions have changed little in recent years, and differ only modestly across demographic and income categories. There are significant partisan differences in these views, though majorities of Democrats, Republicans and independents say that government policies following the start of the recession have done little or nothing for the poor and the middle class. The results are based on data collected from telephone interviews conducted February 18-22, 2015 by Princeton Survey Research Associates International among a national sample of 1,504 adults age 18 or older, including 978 cell phone interviews.

Pew Poll: More View Netanyahu Favorably Than Unfavorably; Many Unaware of Israeli Leader    Friday, February 27, 2015
The public has a more positive than negative view of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ahead of his address to a joint session of Congress next week. About four-in-ten (38%) have a favorable opinion of the Israeli leader, compared with 27% who hold an unfavorable view. Roughly a third (35%) express no opinion of Netanyahu, including 23% who say they have never heard of him. Netanyahu will address Congress on March 3 at the invitation of House Speaker John Boehner and congressional Republicans. Netanyahu is better known – and viewed much more favorably – among Republicans than among Democrats or independents. More than twice as many Republicans view Netanyahu favorably (53%) as unfavorably (21%); 26% have no opinion. By contrast, Democrats hold mixed views of Netanyahu (28% favorable vs. 35% unfavorable); 37% have no opinion. Independents’ opinions of Netanyahu mirror those of the overall public (38% favorable, 26% unfavorable, 36% no opinion). The results are based on data collected from telephone interviews conducted February 18-22, 2015 by Princeton Survey Research Associates International among a national sample of 1,504 adults age 18 or older, including 978 cell phone interviews.

Pew Poll: Democrats Have More Positive Image, But GOP Runs Even or Ahead on Key Issues    Thursday, February 26, 2015
This week’s political battles over immigration, funding for the Department of Homeland Security and the Keystone XL pipeline have been waged by opposing parties that possess starkly different strengths and weaknesses. Majorities say the Democratic Party is open and tolerant, cares about the middle class and is not “too extreme.” By contrast, most Americans see the GOP lacking in tolerance and empathy for the middle class, and half view it as too extreme. Nonetheless, the Republicans more than hold their own with the Democrats in views of which party can better handle major issues. The Republican Party runs even on the economy and immigration and holds double-digit leads over the Democrats on terrorism, foreign policy and taxes. President Obama’s job approval has ticked up in recent months, to 48% currently, and his rating dwarfs the 26% approval measure for the leaders of the new Republican Congress. Yet the public is divided over whether Obama or Republican congressional leaders should take the lead in solving the nation’s problems: 40% say Obama while 38% say GOP leaders. That is virtually unchanged from a few days after the midterm elections in November. The results are based on data collected from telephone interviews conducted February 18-22, 2015 by Princeton Survey Research Associates International among a national sample of 1,504 adults age 18 or older, including 978 cell phone interviews.

Pew Poll: Growing Support for Campaign Against ISIS – and Possible Use of U.S. Ground Troops    Tuesday, February 24, 2015
The public has grown more supportive of the U.S. fight against ISIS, as about twice as many approve (63%) as disapprove (30%) of the military campaign against the Islamic militant group in Iraq and Syria. Last October, 57% approved and 33% disapproved. The possibility of sending U.S. ground troops to the region is more divisive, although the idea draws more support than it did four months ago. Currently, about as many favor (47%) as oppose (49%) sending U.S. ground troops to fight Islamic militants in Iraq and Syria; in October, 39% favored the idea and 55% opposed it. The new national survey by the Pew Research Center also finds a shift over the past year in public attitudes about the best approach for dealing with global terrorism. In the new survey, 47% say “using overwhelming military force is the best way to defeat terrorism around the world.” About as many (46%) say that “relying too much on military force to defeat terrorism creates hatred that leads to more terrorism.” The results are based on data collected from telephone interviews conducted February 18-22, 2015 by Princeton Survey Research Associates International among a national sample of 1,504 adults age 18 or older, including 978 cell phone interviews.

Bankrate: Credit card debt still a big concern    Monday, February 23, 2015
It's been six years since the recession ended, and a big chunk of consumers still can't bail themselves out of credit card debt. Nearly one-quarter of Americans (24 percent) owe more money on their credit cards than they have in emergency savings, according to a survey that accompanied Bankrate's February Financial Security Index. This proclivity is problematic. Credit cards charge higher interest rates than savings accounts pay, which makes it harder for those Americans to climb out of debt. "From a purely financial standpoint, it makes more sense to pay down that high interest rate" before you start to save, says Kelley Long, member of the American Institute of CPAs. But "not having an emergency fallback fund is just a first-class ticket to getting further into debt," Long says. Its absence increases the odds that you'll need to open new loans to cover unexpected expenses, such as car repairs, or if you lose your job. The results are based on data collected from telephone interviews conducted February 5-8, 2015 by Princeton Survey Research Associates International among a national sample of 1,003 adults age 18 or older, including 502 cell phone interviews.

Pew Poll: Increased Public Support for the U.S. Arming Ukraine    Monday, February 23, 2015
As fighting continues in eastern Ukraine between government forces and Russian-backed rebels, the public has become more supportive of sending arms to the Ukrainian government and increasing sanctions on Russia. More still oppose (53%) than favor (41%) the U.S. sending arms and military supplies to the Ukrainian government, but support for arming Ukraine is up 11 points since April 2014, when opposition outweighed support by about two-to-one (30% favored, 62% opposed). At the same time, there is increased support for additional economic and diplomatic sanctions against Russia. Six-in-ten (60%) favor the U.S. increasing sanctions on Russia, while 34% are opposed. Support for tougher sanctions against Russia has risen seven points from last April. The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center finds the public is split over whether the U.S. should provide training to Ukrainian troops: 49% say they would favor this, while 46% are opposed. The results are based on data collected from telephone interviews conducted February 18-22, 2015 by Princeton Survey Research Associates International among a national sample of 1,504 adults age 18 or older, including 978 cell phone interviews.

Bankrate: Americans racked by retirement fears    Wednesday, February 18, 2015
Our nation is nervous about retirement. More than a quarter of Americans, 28 percent, say that the specter of high medical expenses in old age worries them the most, according to a new survey by Bankrate.com. The thought of running out of savings also gives people the jitters, with 23 percent of Americans identifying that as their biggest retirement worry, Bankrate's survey found. You can reasonably budget for living expenses, but longevity and health care costs are wild cards. Fretting about medical expenses in old age may be justified. A couple who retired in 2014 will need $220,000 to cover health care costs in retirement, according to a recent estimate from Fidelity Investments. Among people over age 50, one-third are anxious about expensive illnesses or injuries. Just over a quarter of people ages 30 to 49 years old are worried, as well. The results are based on data collected from telephone interviews conducted January 22-25, 2015 by Princeton Survey Research Associates International among a national sample of 1,003 adults age 18 or older, including 501 cell phone interviews.

Pew Global: Discontent with Politics Common in Many Emerging and Developing Nations    Thursday, February 12, 2015
People in emerging and developing countries around the world are on balance unhappy with the way their political systems are working. A recent Pew Research Center survey finds that, across 31 emerging and developing nations, a median of 52% are dissatisfied with their political system, while 44% are satisfied. Discontent is particularly widespread in the Middle East and Latin America, where about six-in-ten say their system is not working well. The opposite is true, however, in Asia – a median of 60% are either very or somewhat satisfied with their political system. Political satisfaction is closely tied to views about national economic conditions. Countries where people say the economy is doing poorly are more likely to be unhappy with their current political system. And most people believe that the wealthy have too much influence on politics, while the poor have too little influence.  Results for the survey are based on 38,620 face-to-face interviews conducted in 34 countries under the direction of Princeton Survey Research Associates International from March 17 to June 5, 2014.

Pew Poll: Views of Job News Turn Much More Positive Over Past Year    Tuesday, February 10, 2015
For the first time since the end of the recession in 2009, a greater share of the public is hearing mostly good news (28%) than bad news (22%) about the job situation. Nearly half (47%) say they are hearing a mix of good and bad news. This marks a stark change from a year ago, when just 12% said they were hearing mostly good news about jobs, while more than three times as many (42%) had negative perceptions; 44% described the news as mixed. Positive impressions about job news continue to tick up as the Labor Department reported the greatest three-month increase in new jobs since 1997. However, January’s unemployment rate of 5.7% sits at the same point as in October. A new survey by the Pew Research Center shows that views of news about the overall economy also have become more positive, although a majority (62%) continues to describe the news as mixed. For the first time since the Pew Research Center began tracking this question in December 2008, about as many are hearing mostly good news (18%) as bad news (17%) about the economy. In previous surveys, negative views had consistently surpassed positive impressions. The results are based on data collected from telephone interviews conducted February 5-8, 2015 by Princeton Survey Research Associates International among a national sample of 1,003 adults age 18 or older, including 502 cell phone interviews.

Reason Rupe: 78 Percent of Americans Say Voters Should Get to Vote on Govt Employee Benefit Increases    Tuesday, February 10, 2015
The latest Reason-Rupe poll finds that nearly 8 in 10 Americans think that the public should be allowed to vote on increases to public employees pensions and benefits. Support is largely non-partisan with 73 percent of Democrats, 81 percent of independents, and 80 percent of Republicans favoring such votes. Solid majorities of both public (61%) and private (82%) sector workers also favor allowing the public to vote on such increases. Nevertheless, as one might expect, public employees themselves are more opposed to such a proposal. Indeed government workers are more than twice as likely as private sector workers to oppose allowing the public vote on public pension increases (37 to 16 percent). The results are based on data collected from telephone interviews conducted January 29 - February 2, 2015 by Princeton Survey Research Associates International among a national sample of 1,003 adults age 18 or older, including 501 cell phone interviews.

Pew Poll: 83% Say Measles Vaccine Is Safe for Healthy Children    Monday, February 09, 2015
An 83% majority of the public says vaccines for diseases such as measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) are safe for healthy children, while about one-in-ten (9%) think such vaccines are not safe. An additional 7% volunteer that they don’t know. Majorities across virtually every demographic and partisan group view the vaccines as safe. However, there are some differences in attitudes, with less educated people and younger adults more likely to say they are not safe. The new national survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted Feb. 5-8 among 1,003 adults, finds Republicans (89%) and Democrats (87%) generally agree that such vaccines are safe for children who are healthy. Roughly nine-in-ten college graduates (92%) see vaccines for MMR as safe for healthy children. This view is somewhat less widespread among those with some college experience (85%) or a high school degree or less (77%). The results are based on data collected from telephone interviews conducted February 5-8, 2015 by Princeton Survey Research Associates International among a national sample of 1,003 adults age 18 or older, including 502 cell phone interviews.

Vocal Valentines: Half of American Couples Clash Over Clutter, SpareFoot Survey Say    Friday, February 06, 2015
Nothing kills romance like smelly socks tossed on the floor, dirty dishes piled in the sink and piles of unpaid bills. A new SpareFoot survey found that almost half (48 percent) of American couples who are married or are living with a partner argue over clutter. Seven percent of couples engage in clutter spats every day. The survey shows one-third of cohabiting couples (33 percent) argue about clutter either monthly, weekly or daily. And over half of couples (52 percent) said that when they clash over clutter, both sides get accused of harboring too much stuff. The most common source of clutter conflict? Overflowing closets. Over half (51 percent) of couples who quarrel over clutter say the disagreements caused them to get rid of clothing. Arguments also spurred couples to purge excess belongings, including furniture (29 percent), electronics (28 percent) and books (25 percent). The results are based on data collected from telephone interviews conducted January 22-25, 2015 by Princeton Survey Research Associates International among a national sample of 1,003 adults age 18 or older, including 502 cell phone interviews.

Pew Journalism: Investigative Journalists and Digital Security    Thursday, February 05, 2015
About two-thirds of investigative journalists surveyed (64%) believe that the U.S. government has probably collected data about their phone calls, emails or online communications, and eight-in-ten believe that being a journalist increases the likelihood that their data will be collected. Those who report on national security, foreign affairs or the federal government are particularly likely to believe the government has already collected data about their electronic communications (71% say this is the case), according to a new survey of members of Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) – a nonprofit member organization for journalists – by the Pew Research Center in association with Columbia University’s Tow Center for Digital Journalism. Thus far, concerns about surveillance and hacking have mostly fallen short of keeping many journalists from pursuing a story or a source; Just 14% say that in the past 12 months, such concerns have kept them from pursuing a story or reaching out to a particular source, or have led them to consider leaving investigative journalism altogether. The results are based on data collected from online surveys conducted December 3-28, 2014 by Princeton Survey Research Associates International among a representative sample of 671 journalists who are members of Investigative Reporters and Editors, Inc. (IRE).

Pew Internet, Science, & Tech: Public and Scientists’ Views on Science and Society    Thursday, January 29, 2015
Scientific innovations are deeply embedded in national life — in the economy, in core policy choices about how people care for themselves and use the resources around them, and in the topmost reaches of Americans’ imaginations. New Pew Research Center surveys of citizens and a representative sample of scientists connected to the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) show powerful crosscurrents that both recognize the achievements of scientists and expose stark fissures between scientists and citizens on a range of science, engineering and technology issues. This report highlights these major findings. The general public results are based on data collected from telephone interviews conducted August 15-25, 2014 by Princeton Survey Research Associates International among a national sample of 2,002 adults age 18 or older, including 1,201 cell phone interviews. The scientist results are based on data collected from online surveys conducted September 13 - October 13, 2014 by Princeton Survey Research Associates International among a random sample of 3,748 U.S.-based members of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Kaiser Health Tracking Poll: January 2015    Wednesday, January 28, 2015
With the Supreme Court set to hear the King v. Burwell case in March, the latest Kaiser Health Tracking Poll finds that a majority of the public says they have heard nothing at all about the case. In an initial reaction to what Congress or states using the federal marketplace should do if the Supreme Court rules that financial help to buy health insurance is only available to people in states with state-run marketplaces, nearly two-thirds of the public says Congress should pass a law making subsidies available to eligible people in all states, and a majority of the public in states using healthcare.gov would want their state to create its own marketplace. As Congress considers legislation to change the employer requirement under the law, more of the public says they oppose changing the full-time worker definition under the ACA from 30 to 40 hours a week than say they support it and about a third remain unsure, but opinion can be swayed after hearing some of the other side’s argument. With less than a month left in this year’s open enrollment period, most uninsured are unaware of the deadline to enroll and a substantial share remains unaware of the financial assistance available to help eligible people buy insurance. The results are based on data collected from telephone interviews conducted January 15-21, 2015 by Princeton Survey Research Associates International among a national sample of 1,503 adults age 18 or older, including 752 cell phone interviews.

Pew Journalism: After Charlie Hebdo, Balancing Press Freedom and Respect for Religion    Wednesday, January 28, 2015
About three-in-four Americans (76%) have heard at least a little about the attack on the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, according to a new poll by the Pew Research Center, conducted January 22-25 among 1,003 adults. Of these, a majority (60%) says that it was okay for Charlie Hebdo to have published cartoons that depict the Prophet Muhammad, but nearly three-in-ten (28%) do not support the magazine’s decision to publish this material – saying it was not okay. The reasons Americans give for their views on the subject highlight an ongoing tension in the U.S. between the values of free expression and religious tolerance. When asked to explain their position on whether or not it was okay to publish these cartoons, a majority of those who heard about the attack and say it was okay to publish cite freedom of speech and of the press (70%). The results are based on data collected from telephone interviews conducted January 22-25, 2015 by Princeton Survey Research Associates International among a national sample of 1,003 adults age 18 or older, including 502 cell phone interviews.

Pew Poll: Obama in a Word: ‘Good,’ ‘Incompetent’    Tuesday, January 20, 2015
As public perceptions of Barack Obama have changed over the course of his presidency, so too have the words used to describe him. The national survey by the Pew Research Center finds that the words good (35 mentions) and incompetent (33 mentions) are used most frequently to describe Obama. Those words also were used most often in June 2013, the last time this question was asked. This report shows the actual number of respondents mentioning each word; they are not percentages. However, some new words have emerged in the descriptions of Obama: Among the roughly half of respondents asked the question (N=746), dictator is mentioned by 12, while eight describe Obama as impressive. Neither word had been used in nine prior surveys asking for one-word descriptions of Obama since he became president. And a perennial critique of Obama – socialist – is not as prominent on the list of descriptions as in the past; in the new survey, five respondents describe Obama as a socialist. In April 2009, when Obama was generally described in positive terms (and his job approval was much higher than it is today), socialist stood out among the negatives. The results are based on data collected from telephone interviews conducted January 7-11, 2015 by Princeton Survey Research Associates International among a national sample of 1,504 adults age 18 or older, including 976 cell phone interviews.

Pew Poll: Most Support Stronger U.S. Ties With Cuba    Friday, January 16, 2015
Fully 63% of Americans approve of the Obama administration’s decision last month to re-establish diplomatic ties with Cuba after more than 50 years. And there is equally broad support for going further and ending the decades-long U.S. trade embargo against Cuba (66% favor this). Yet there is broad public skepticism that a thaw in U.S.-Cuba relations will lead to greater democracy in Cuba. Only about a third (32%) say they think Cuba will become more democratic over the next several years, while 60% say it will be about the same as it is now. The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center finds strong support among Democrats and independents for the restoration of diplomatic ties with Cuba, and for ending the embargo. About three-quarters of Democrats (74%), along with 67% of independents support the re-establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, with similar levels of support for ending the trade embargo, “which would allow U.S. companies to do business in Cuba and Cuban companies to do business in the U.S.” The results are based on data collected from telephone interviews conducted January 7-11, 2015 by Princeton Survey Research Associates International among a national sample of 1,504 adults age 18 or older, including 976 cell phone interviews.

Commonwealth: The Rise in Health Care Coverage and Affordability Since Health Reform Took Effect    Thursday, January 15, 2015
New results from the Commonwealth Fund Biennial Health Insurance Survey, 2014, indicate that the Affordable Care Act's subsidized insurance options and consumer protections reduced the number of uninsured working-age adults from an estimated 37 million people, or 20 percent of the population, in 2010 to 29 million, or 16 percent, by the second half of 2014. Conducted from July to December 2014, for the first time since it began in 2001, the survey finds declines in the number of people who report cost-related access problems and medical-related financial difficulties. The number of adults who did not get needed health care because of cost declined from 80 million people, or 43 percent, in 2012 to 66 million, or 36 percent, in 2014. The number of adults who reported problems paying their medical bills declined from an estimated 75 million people in 2012 to 64 million people in 2014. The results are based on data collected from telephone  interviews conducted July 22 - December 14, 2014 by Princeton  Survey Research Associates International among a national sample of 6,027 adults age 19 or older, including 3,025 cell phone interviews.

Pew Poll: Public’s Policy Priorities Reflect Changing Conditions at Home and Abroad    Thursday, January 15, 2015
As views of the economy improve and terrorist threats persist, the public’s policy priorities have changed: For the first time in five years, as many Americans cite defending the U.S. against terrorism (76%) as a top policy priority  as say that about strengthening the nation’s economy (75%). Since Barack Obama began his second term in January 2013, the economy has declined 11 points as a top priority, and improving the job situation has fallen 12 points (from 79% to 67%). There has been little change over the past two years in the number saying that defending against terrorism should be a top priority; in fact, this has consistently been among the public’s leading policy goals since 2002. But it has moved to the top of the priorities list as the economy and jobs have fallen. The Pew Research Center’s annual policy priorities survey also finds that the goal of strengthening the military has increased in importance. Currently, 52% say strengthening the military should be a top policy priority for the president and Congress this year, up from 41% in January 2013. The results are based on data collected from telephone interviews conducted January 7-11, 2015 by Princeton Survey Research Associates International among a national sample of 1,504 adults age 18 or older, including 976 cell phone interviews.

Pew Poll: Obama Job Rating Ticks Higher, Views of Nation’s Economy Turn More Positive    Wednesday, January 14, 2015
President Obama enters the seventh year of his presidency in a familiar position when compared with his recent predecessors. His 47% job approval rating places him squarely between George W. Bush (33%) and Bill Clinton (63%) at similar points in their second terms. Obama’s rating is comparable to Ronald Reagan’s in January 1987 (49%), when Reagan was embroiled in the Iran-Contra affair. The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center finds that Obama’s job approval has risen five points since December (42%). The president’s job rating changed very little over the course of 2014. Obama is being helped by a steady improvement in public views of the nation’s economy. Currently, 27% say the economic conditions are excellent or good, up from 16% a year ago. Perhaps more important, almost twice as many expect the economy to be better than worse a year from now (31% vs. 17%). For the first time in five years, more Americans say Obama’s economic policies have made conditions better (38%) than worse (28%); 30% say they have not had much of an effect. And Obama engenders more confidence on the economy than do the leaders of the new Republican majority in Congress. The results are based on data collected from telephone interviews conducted January 7-11, 2015 by Princeton Survey Research Associates International among a national sample of 1,504 adults age 18 or older, including 976 cell phone interviews.

Pew Poll: Terrorism Worries Little Changed; Most Give Government Good Marks for Reducing Threat    Monday, January 12, 2015
In the aftermath of deadly terrorist attacks in Paris — and months after the start of U.S. airstrikes against ISIS — there has been little change in the public’s worries about an imminent terrorist attack in the United States. One-in-four (25%) are very worried about a domestic terrorist attack happening “soon,” while about four-in-ten (39%) are somewhat worried; 36% are not too worried or not at all worried. That balance of opinion has not significantly changed since last July. The long-term trend on terrorism concerns has been fairly stable, except on a few occasions, since the fall of 2001. In addition, the public gives high ratings to the U.S. government’s anti-terrorism efforts. About seven-in-ten say the government is doing very well (22%) or fairly well (50%) in reducing the threat of terrorism. This is a substantial shift from early September 2014, when 56% positively rated the government’s job in this area, but in line with opinions dating back more than a decade. The results are based on data collected from telephone interviews conducted January 7-11, 2015 by Princeton Survey Research Associates International among a national sample of 1,504 adults age 18 or older, including 976 cell phone interviews.


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