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Hamas Seen as More to Blame Than Israel for Current Violence

July 29, 2014 Comments off

Hamas Seen as More to Blame Than Israel for Current Violence
Source: Pew Research Center for the People & the Press

As fighting continues to rage in Gaza amid calls for a cease-fire, about twice as many Americans say Hamas (40%) as Israel (19%) is responsible for the current violence.

Just a quarter (25%) believe that Israel has gone too far in responding to the conflict; far more think Israel’s response has been about right (35%) or that it has not gone far enough (15%).

The new national survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted July 24-27 among 1,005 adults, finds substantial partisan divisions over which side is most responsible for the violence and Israel’s response to the conflict.

A majority of Republicans (60%) say Hamas is most responsible for the current violence. Democrats are divided: 29% say Hamas is more responsible, 26% Israel, while 18% volunteer that both sides are responsible.

There also are deep differences over Israel’s response to the conflict: Nearly half of Republicans (46%) say Israel’s response has been about right while another 19% say it has not gone far enough; just 16% think Israel’s response has been excessive. Among Democrats, as many say Israel has gone too far (35%) as say its response has been about right (31%); 9% say Israel has not gone far enough.

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What Makes a City Great?

July 23, 2014 Comments off

What Makes a City Great?
Source: Sasaki

Urbanites across the country agree on a few things: they want great food, they love waterfronts, and they value historical architecture. As planners and designers, our job is to understand what people want and balance these desires with the big picture—economic realities, cultural needs, environmental concerns, and design opportunities—ultimately helping to shape a more satisfying and sustainable urban experience.

Our new report, The State of the City Experience, outlines the results of a survey of 1,000 people who both live and work in one of six dynamic US cities—Boston, Chicago, New York, Austin, San Francisco, and Washington DC. We asked what they like and what they don’t like about their built environment in four key areas: architecture, activities, parks and open space, and transportation, and what their personal outlook is for staying in a city long-term. Our participants’ answers show that while we may be in the “century of the city,” there is still much work to be done to improve urban life through thoughtful planning and innovation.

For More Than a Decade, The NY Yankees Have Been America’s Favorite Baseball Team; New Instant Replay rule considered good for baseball

July 16, 2014 Comments off

For More Than a Decade, The NY Yankees Have Been America’s Favorite Baseball Team; New Instant Replay rule considered good for baseball (PDF)
Source: Harris Interactive

The mid-point of the baseball season is now upon us as Major League Baseball pauses to celebrate their all stars. Those not playing in the All Star Game get a few days off to rest before the race to the end of the summer and post-season play begins in earnest. This means it is also time to see who America’s Favorite Baseball Team is this year.

Among those who follow the sport, the New York Yankees again win the honor of being “America’s Favorite,” as they have each year since 2003. In the second spot on the list again are their long time arch-rivals, the Boston Red Sox. Moving up seven spots, from ten to three are the San Francisco Giants. Rounding out the top five are the Chicago Cubs at number four (rising 3 spots from last time) and, at number five, the Atlanta Braves, dropping two spots from number three last year.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll® of 2,241 adults, of whom 763 follow Major League Baseball, surveyed online between June 4 and 16, 2014.

Looking at the bottom half of the top ten favorite teams, tied for number six are the Los Angeles Dodgers (down from number 4 last year) and the Detroit Tigers (down from a tie for number 5), followed by the Milwaukee Brewers (#8, up from a 21st place tie), the Minnesota Twins (#9, up from a tie for #13) and in a tie for tenth, the Kansas City Royals (up from a tie for #19) and the St. Louis Cardinals (up from a tie for #11).

Who is going to win it all… and who don’t people want there
When it comes to the World Series, a repeat is not expected to be in the works as almost one in five baseball followers (17%) say the San Francisco Giants will win the Fall Classic this October, followed by the New York Yankees (13%), the Detroit Tigers (9%), the Oakland Athletics (8%), and the Los Angeles Dodgers (7%). Less than one in ten baseball followers (6%) say the Boston Red Sox will win again.

And, where there is the team people think will win, there is also the team fans don’t want to see in the World Series. Two in five baseball followers (40%) say the New York Yankees are the one team they least want to see make it to the World Series. At a distant second, 14% say this about the Boston Red Sox, while 6% say this about the Los Angeles Dodgers and 4% do not want to see the Chicago Cubs in the World Series.

How Americans Feel About Religious Groups

July 16, 2014 Comments off

How Americans Feel About Religious Groups
Source: Pew Research Religion & Public Life Project

Jews, Catholics and evangelical Christians are viewed warmly by the American public. When asked to rate each group on a “feeling thermometer” ranging from 0 to 100 – where 0 reflects the coldest, most negative possible rating and 100 the warmest, most positive rating – all three groups receive an average rating of 60 or higher (63 for Jews, 62 for Catholics and 61 for evangelical Christians). And 44% of the public rates all three groups in the warmest part of the scale (67 or higher).

Buddhists, Hindus and Mormons receive neutral ratings on average, ranging from 48 for Mormons to 53 for Buddhists. The public views atheists and Muslims more coldly; atheists receive an average rating of 41, and Muslims an average rating of 40. Fully 41% of the public rates Muslims in the coldest part of the thermometer (33 or below), and 40% rate atheists in the coldest part.

Global Opposition to U.S. Surveillance and Drones, but Limited Harm to America’s Image

July 16, 2014 Comments off

Global Opposition to U.S. Surveillance and Drones, but Limited Harm to America’s Image
Source: Pew Research Global Attitudes Project

Revelations about the scope of American electronic surveillance efforts have generated headlines around the world over the past year. And a new Pew Research Center survey finds widespread global opposition to U.S. eavesdropping and a decline in the view that the U.S. respects the personal freedoms of its people. But in most countries there is little evidence this opposition has severely harmed America’s overall image.

Using Ethical-Response Surveys to Identify Sources of Disapproval and Concern with Facebook’s Emotional Contagion Experiment and Other Controversial Studies

July 15, 2014 Comments off

Using Ethical-Response Surveys to Identify Sources of Disapproval and Concern with Facebook’s Emotional Contagion Experiment and Other Controversial Studies
Source: Microsoft Research

We surveyed 3570 workers on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk to gauge their ethical response to five scenarios describing scientific experiments—including one scenario describing Facebook’s emotional contagion experiment. We will post an update of this paper containing the results and analysis on or after 12:01AM Pacific on Monday July 14.

Global Internet Privacy Study Reveals Consumers’ Conflicting Views

July 14, 2014 Comments off

Global Internet Privacy Study Reveals Consumers’ Conflicting Views
Source: EMC Corporation

Highlights

  • Taps into privacy attitudes of 15,000 consumers from 15 countries
  • 91% of respondents value the benefit of “easier access to information and knowledge” that digital technology affords
  • Only 27% say they are willing to trade some privacy for greater convenience and ease online
  • Only 41% believe government is committed to protecting their privacy
  • 81% expect privacy to erode over the next five years; 59% say they have less privacy than a year ago

Public Support for Conserving Bird Species Runs Counter to Climate Change Impacts on Their Distributions

July 14, 2014 Comments off

Public Support for Conserving Bird Species Runs Counter to Climate Change Impacts on Their Distributions
Source: PLoS ONE

There is increasing evidence that global climate change will alter the spatiotemporal occurrences and abundances of many species at continental scales. This will have implications for efficient conservation of biodiversity. We investigate if the general public in Denmark are willing to pay for the preservation of birds potentially immigrating and establishing breeding populations due to climate change to the same extent that they are for native species populations currently breeding in Denmark, but potentially emigrating due to climate change. We find that Danish citizens are willing to pay much more for the conservation of birds currently native to Denmark, than for bird species moving into the country – even when they are informed about the potential range shifts associated with climate change. The only exception is when immigrating species populations are under pressure at European level. Furthermore, people believing climate change to be man-made and people more knowledgeable about birds tended to have higher WTP for conservation of native species, relative to other people, whereas their preferences for conserving immigrant species generally resembled those of other people. Conservation investments rely heavily on public funding and hence on public support. Our results suggest that cross-country coordination of conservation efforts under climate change will be challenging in terms of achieving an appropriate balance between cost-effectiveness in adaptation and the concerns of a general public who seem mostly worried about protecting currently-native species.

The Burden of Stress in America

July 8, 2014 Comments off

The Burden of Stress in America (PDF)
Source: NPR/Robert Wood Johnson Foundation/Harvard School of Public Health

The NPR/Robert Wood Johnson Foundation/Harvard School of Public Health Burden of Stress in America Survey was conducted from March 5 to April 8, 2014 with a sample of 2,505 respondents. The survey examines the role stress plays in different aspects of Americans’ lives, including the public’s personal experiences of stress in the past month and year, the perceived effects of their stress and causes of that stress, their methods of stress management and their general attitudes about effects of stress in people’s lives.

AARP — African American/Black Social Issues Study

July 8, 2014 Comments off

African American/Black Social Issues Study
Source: AARP

This study examined the importance of key social issues facing African-Americans/ Blacks who are age 50 or older. It also gauged their optimism in regard to these social issues.

Key findings from the study show:

  • Access to high quality health care and having a financially secure retirement are the most important issues facing age 50+ African-Americans/Blacks age 50 and older.
  • The respondents are more optimistic that the country is moving in the right direction in regard to access to high quality health care.
  • There is less optimism that the country is moving in the right direction in regard to having a financially secure retirement.
  • Respondents age 75 and older are more optimistic than those ages 50-64 that the country is moving in the right direction about having a financially secure retirement.

Contraction of Online Response to Major Events

June 26, 2014 Comments off

Contraction of Online Response to Major Events
Source: PLoS ONE

Quantifying regularities in behavioral dynamics is of crucial interest for understanding collective social events such as panics or political revolutions. With the widespread use of digital communication media it has become possible to study massive data streams of user-created content in which individuals express their sentiments, often towards a specific topic. Here we investigate messages from various online media created in response to major, collectively followed events such as sport tournaments, presidential elections, or a large snow storm. We relate content length and message rate, and find a systematic correlation during events which can be described by a power law relation—the higher the excitation, the shorter the messages. We show that on the one hand this effect can be observed in the behavior of most regular users, and on the other hand is accentuated by the engagement of additional user demographics who only post during phases of high collective activity. Further, we identify the distributions of content lengths as lognormals in line with statistical linguistics, and suggest a phenomenological law for the systematic dependence of the message rate to the lognormal mean parameter. Our measurements have practical implications for the design of micro-blogging and messaging services. In the case of the existing service Twitter, we show that the imposed limit of 140 characters per message currently leads to a substantial fraction of possibly dissatisfying to compose tweets that need to be truncated by their users.

PRRI — Fact Sheet | Gay and Lesbian Issues

June 23, 2014 Comments off

Fact Sheet | Gay and Lesbian Issues
Source: Public Religion Research Institute

All the information you need about public opinion on gay marriage, DOMA, gay adoption, ENDA, and more.

Public Faith in Congress Falls Again, Hits Historic Low

June 23, 2014 Comments off

Public Faith in Congress Falls Again, Hits Historic Low
Source: Gallup

Americans’ confidence in Congress has sunk to a new low. Seven percent of Americans say they have “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in Congress as an American institution, down from the previous low of 10% in 2013. This confidence is starkly different from the 42% in 1973, the first year Gallup began asking the question.

Few Consumers Trust Companies to Keep Online Info Safe

June 20, 2014 Comments off

Few Consumers Trust Companies to Keep Online Info Safe
Source: Gallup

Recent incidents such as Target’s security breach, the Heartbleed bug, and eBay’s systems hack have called attention to how much consumers trust the businesses they patronize to keep their personal information safe. That trust currently appears to be hard to come by. Just 21% of Americans have “a lot of trust” in the businesses or companies they regularly interact with to keep their personal information secure.

Political Polarization in the American Public

June 13, 2014 Comments off

Political Polarization in the American Public
Source: Pew Research Center for the People & the Press

Republicans and Democrats are more divided along ideological lines – and partisan antipathy is deeper and more extensive – than at any point in the last two decades. These trends manifest themselves in myriad ways, both in politics and in everyday life. And a new survey of 10,000 adults nationwide finds that these divisions are greatest among those who are the most engaged and active in the political process.

On Eve of World Cup, Brazil Well-Regarded in Much of the World

June 11, 2014 Comments off

On Eve of World Cup, Brazil Well-Regarded in Much of the World
Source: Pew Research Global Attitudes Project

As Brazil prepares to host its second World Cup, at least half of those surveyed in 24 of 37 countries have a favorable view of the South American nation. Views of Brazil are particularly positive in Latin America and Asia, although in many countries a fair share of people offer no opinion. Brazil gets especially high ratings among young people in many nations around the world. However, Brazil receives low marks in some major Middle Eastern nations.

These are the findings of a new survey by the Pew Research Center conducted in 37 countries among 41,408 respondents from March 17 to May 23, 2014. In total, a median of 54% across the 37 countries have a favorable view of Brazil. Meanwhile, 76% of Brazilians say their country should be more respected around the world than it currently is.

Survey | What Americans Want From Immigration Reform in 2014

June 10, 2014 Comments off

Survey | What Americans Want From Immigration Reform in 2014
Source: Public Religion Research Institute
From press release:

With immigration reform legislation stalled in Congress and the 2014 midterm elections rapidly approaching, more than six-in-ten Americans continue to support a path to citizenship, a new survey finds. When asked how the immigration system should deal with immigrants currently living in the country illegally, 62 percent of Americans favor allowing them a way to become citizens provided they meet certain requirements, 17 percent favor allowing them to become permanent legal residents but not citizens, and 19 percent favor identifying and deporting them. Support for a path to citizenship is nearly identical to one year ago (March 2013) when 63 percent of Americans supported this policy.

Three in Four in U.S. Still See the Bible as Word of God; But 21%, near the 40-year high, consider it fables and history

June 7, 2014 Comments off

Three in Four in U.S. Still See the Bible as Word of God; But 21%, near the 40-year high, consider it fables and history
Source: Gallup

Twenty-eight percent of Americans believe the Bible is the actual word of God and that it should be taken literally. This is somewhat below the 38% to 40% seen in the late 1970s, and near the all-time low of 27% reached in 2001 and 2009. But about half of Americans continue to say the Bible is the inspired word of God, not to be taken literally — meaning a combined 75% believe the Bible is in some way connected to God. About one in five Americans view the Bible in purely secular terms — as ancient fables, legends, history, and precepts written by man — which is up from 13% in 1976.

Brazilian Discontent Ahead of World Cup

June 6, 2014 Comments off

Brazilian Discontent Ahead of World Cup
Source: Pew Research Global Attitudes Project

The national mood in Brazil is grim, following a year in which more than a million people have taken to the streets of major cities across the country to protest corruption, rising inflation and a lack of government investment in public services such as education, health care and public transportation, among other things. A new survey by the Pew Research Center finds that 72% of Brazilians are dissatisfied with the way things are going in their country, up from 55% just weeks before the demonstrations began in June 2013.

Opinions about the national economy have changed even more dramatically over this one-year period. Two-thirds now say Brazil’s once-booming economy is in bad shape, while just 32% say the economy is good. In 2013, the balance of opinion was reversed: a 59%-majority thought the country was in good shape economically, while 41% said the economy was bad. Economic ratings had been consistently positive since 2010, when Pew Research first conducted a nationally-representative survey of Brazil.

Brazilians are also concerned about the impact that hosting the World Cup, which begins June 12, will have on their country. About six-in-ten (61%) think hosting the event is a bad thing for Brazil because it takes money away from schools, health care and other public services — a common theme in the protests that have swept the country since June 2013. Just 34% think the World Cup, which Brazil will host for the first time since 1950 and which could attract more than 3.5 million people to the nation’s twelve host cities, will create more jobs and help the economy.

Flying under the radar: A study of public attitudes towards unmanned aerial vehicles (drones)

June 4, 2014 Comments off

Flying under the radar: A study of public attitudes towards unmanned aerial vehicles
Source: Research & Politics

Unmanned aerial vehicles, also known as drones, have become a central feature of American foreign policy, with over 400 strikes in Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen in the last decade. Despite criticisms that have arisen about ethics and legality of this policy, polls have registered high levels of public support for drone strikes. This article shows that the standard formulation of poll questions takes as a given the government’s controversial claims about combatant status and source of legal authorization. I conduct a survey experiment that evaluates how varying the terms of the debate –in particular whether the strikes are compatible with international humanitarian law (IHL) and have legal authorization – affects public support for the drone policy. Treatments that incorporated contested assumptions about IHL meaningfully decreased public support while the public was less moved by questions about domestic or international legal authorization.

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