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Public Sees Religion’s Influence Waning; Growing Appetite for Religion in Politics

September 24, 2014 Comments off

Public Sees Religion’s Influence Waning; Growing Appetite for Religion in Politics
Source: Pew Research Religion & Public Life Project

Nearly three-quarters of the public (72%) now thinks religion is losing influence in American life, up 5 percentage points from 2010 to the highest level in Pew Research polling over the past decade. And most people who say religion’s influence is waning see this as a bad thing.

Perhaps as a consequence, a growing share of the American public wants religion to play a role in U.S. politics. The share of Americans who say churches and other houses of worship should express their views on social and political issues is up 6 points since the 2010 midterm elections (from 43% to 49%). The share who say there has been “too little” expression of religious faith and prayer from political leaders is up modestly over the same period (from 37% to 41%). And a growing minority of Americans (32%) think churches should endorse candidates for political office, though most continue to oppose such direct involvement by churches in electoral politics.

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New Report Reveals What Americans Want From Public Transit

September 22, 2014 Comments off

New Report Reveals What Americans Want From Public Transit
Source: TransitCenter

A first-of-its-kind study about attitudes toward transit use in the U.S. was released today by TransitCenter, a philanthropy committed to improving transit through innovation. The study – Who’s on Board: The 2014 Mobility Attitudes Survey – reveals that Americans from regions coast to coast think about and use public transit in remarkably similar ways. The report is the first to compare rider and non-rider attitudes by age, income, education, family status and ethnicity, and to examine both cities and suburban areas across various regions of the U.S.

The survey, the largest of its kind, sampled nearly 12,000 people from a selection of 46 metro areas across the country, including a mix of “transit progressive” cities (such as Miami, Denver, Seattle, and Minneapolis) and “transit deficient” cities (such as Tampa, Dallas, Fresno, and Detroit) revealing several surprising trends about today’s public transit commuters:

  • Riders of all ages and in all regions place the greatest value on factors like travel time, proximity, cost, and reliability above safety, frequency, and perks like Wi-Fi when choosing whether or not to take public transportation.
  • There is a high demand for quality public transportation nationwide, but such infrastructure is often missing in the places where people currently live; There is also a high, unmet demand for neighborhoods with a mix of housing, retail, and commercial space – 58 percent of survey respondents said their ideal neighborhood contained “a mix of houses, shops, and businesses,” but only 39 percent currently live in that type of neighborhood.
  • People with children are just as likely to use transit as people without children, when factors like place of residence and age are accounted for. Where transit is effective, families will – and already do – ride transit to meet their daily needs. Places that want to use transit to attract young people should take heart: Transit will not lose its appeal for young residents starting families.
  • Wealthy Americans want to ride public transportation too: In transit-rich “Traditional Cities” like New York City, Philadelphia, Washington, DC and Chicago, people with a $150,000 or greater salary are just as likely to ride public transportation as people with a $30,000 salary.
  • Even though they grew up using public transit more than today’s youth, America’s Baby Boomers are mostly reluctant to use public transit now. Americans under 30 are 2.3 times more likely to ride public transit than Americans age 30-60, and 7.2 times more likely than Americans over 60. Even after controlling for other factors, older people are less likely to ride transit than younger people.
  • “Traditional Cities” have the greatest share of transit users and commuters, followed by the West Coast cities, where 31% of people under 30 used public transit at least once a week.

Environmental Views from the Coast: Public Concern about Local to Global Marine Issues

September 19, 2014 Comments off

Environmental Views from the Coast: Public Concern about Local to Global Marine Issues
Source: Society & Natural Resources: An International Journal

Surveys conducted in 2009–2012 asked residents of eight U.S. coastal regions about ocean-related environmental problems. Analysis of these multiregion data tests how individual characteristics predict views on locally focused marine issues, and whether after controlling for individual characteristics there remain systematic place-to-place variations. We find two kinds of place effects: some related to broad attributes such as resource employment, and others explained by local society–environment relations. Apart from these place effects, the individual-level predictors of coastal environmental concerns resemble those seen elsewhere for non-coastal environmental concerns, including effects from age, gender, and education. Political party, however, proves to be the most consistent predictor across issues from local to global in scale. Significant education effects offer support for an information deficit model of coastal concerns, but the pervasive partisanship and education × party interactions suggest that ideology-linked processes of biased assimilation and elite cues filter how information is acquired.

Paper available free until Dec. 31, 2014.

Safe as Houses: Majorities of Americans See Home Ownership, Gold and Jewelry as Safe Investments

September 14, 2014 Comments off

Safe as Houses: Majorities of Americans See Home Ownership, Gold and Jewelry as Safe Investments (PDF)
Source: Harris Interactive

Despite periods of volatility in the real estate market over the past few years, over seven in ten Americans (72%) see owning a home as a safe investment. Majorities agree on this point across generations, albeit with considerable shifts from one generation to the next: nine in ten Matures (89%) see home ownership as a safe investment, compared to just over three-fourths of Baby Boomers (77%) and seven in ten Gen Xers (70%). Even among Millennials – for whom the subprime mortgage crisis of 2007-2008 and the ensuing financial crisis it helped kick off is likely a more formative experience – the majority still see home ownership as a safe investment (63%), albeit with a slimmer majority vote than any of their elder counterparts.

Majorities of Americans also see gold (65%) and jewelry (59%) as safe investments.

Doctors, Military Officers, Firefighters, and Scientists Seen as Among America’s Most Prestigious Occupations

September 11, 2014 Comments off

Doctors, Military Officers, Firefighters, and Scientists Seen as Among America’s Most Prestigious Occupations (PDF)
Source: Harris Interactive

When shown a list of occupations and asked how much prestige each job possesses, doctors top the Harris Poll’s list, with 88% of U.S. adults considering it to have either “a great deal of prestige” (45%) or to “have prestige” (44%).

After doctors, the rest of the top ten occupations seen as prestigious include military officers (78%), firefighters (76%), scientists (76%), nurses (70%), engineers (69%), police officers (66%), priests/ministers/clergy (62%), architects (62%), and athletes (60%).

Remotely Piloted Aircraft and War in the Public Relations Domain

September 11, 2014 Comments off

Remotely Piloted Aircraft and War in the Public Relations Domain (PDF)
Source: Air & Space Power Journal

Many of the RPA articles, opinions, and interviews produced over the last decade are either based on false premises (option a) or employ a logical fallacy of analogy (option c); therefore, many of their conclusions are invalid. This article does not attempt to show that most of the writing on RPAs over the last decade contains fallacies of some kind. Rather, it recognizes the ease with which sincere people can commit such errors as a result of the epistemic problem inherent in any discussion of RPA operations.

The argument, then, begins by asserting that such a problem exists and suggesting that it has three causes. First, enemy forces (here referring specifically to al-Qaeda and the Taliban) have an effective public relations (PR) campaign against RPAs. Second, the United States conducts an ineffective PR campaign in support of RPAs. Third, RPA operations are necessarily concealed by security classifications and national security precautions. The article expounds upon the significance of these causes and provides evidence for them—evidence that will demonstrate not only the three causes but also the reality of the epistemic problem. Its conclusion offers two ways that individuals can mitigate the dilemma and one means by which the US government can rectify it.

Employers: Celebrate Labor Day By Showing That You Value Your Workers

September 3, 2014 Comments off

Employers: Celebrate Labor Day By Showing That You Value Your Workers
Source: American Psychological Association

Labor Day is a celebration of American workers and the contributions they have made to the well-being of the country. As we mark Labor Day’s 120th year as a federal holiday, only about half of the U.S. workforce (51 percent) say they feel valued by their employer, more than a third (36 percent) haven’t received any form of recognition in the last year and just 47 percent say recognition is provided fairly. These were among the findings of a survey released today by the American Psychological Association’s Center for Organizational Excellence. The survey was conducted on APA’s behalf by Harris Poll on Aug. 13-15, 2014, among 882 adults who are employed either full time or part time.

Employee recognition efforts reward employees both individually and collectively for their contributions to the organization. Recognition can take various forms — formal and informal, monetary and nonmonetary. Although a majority of working Americans (81 percent) reported that their employer provides some type of recognition, less than half (46 percent) said their organization recognizes employees for individual job performance. Additionally, less than a third (29 percent) said that team or work-unit performance is recognized and even fewer reported that their employer provides recognition for company-wide results (21 percent), or engaging in specific behaviors, such as those consistent with the organization’s values (18 percent).

Hat tip: IWS Documented News Service

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