Illinois Residents Least Trusting of Their State Government
Illinois residents trust their state government to handle their state’s problems far less than residents in any other state. Twenty-eight percent of Illinois residents trust their state government “a great deal” or “a fair amount.” In contrast, at least 75% of North Dakota, Wyoming, and Utah residents trust their state governments.
Enhancing the Value of Mail Follow Up: Discussion Forum Recap
Source: U.S. Postal Service, Office of Inspector General
Hard copy communications, and mail specifically, are not not the relic some claim them to be. Mail can still create a powerful connection with people of all ages. This is especially true when it is well designed and digitally interactive. Although senders pay for mail to be sent, catching recipients’ eyes determines the value of the communication. Without consumer interest in mailpieces like direct mail, catalogs, or bill reminders, the mail value chain breaks down.
The U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General (OIG) hosted a discussion forum with marketing, communications, and mail industry experts to discuss ways mail could be made more valuable to the recipient. The forum consisted of three parts. First, the OIG discussed the findings from its whitepaper that spurred the forum, Enhancing Mail for Digital Natives. Then, research highlighting the utility of mail and emotional connection to hard copy communications was illustrated through a number of European studies. Finally, there was a panel discussion among industry leaders about how mail can be made more effective in today’s omnichannel marketing campaigns.
The OIG’s past work shows that Digital Natives, aged 16-25, appreciate mail when it is personalized and has a useful connection to the digital realm. Digital Natives are gaining market power, and will soon outnumber baby boomers. As their influence grows, marketers’ ability to meet their expectations will become increasingly important.
The European research presented showed that hard-copy advertising creates a stronger emotional response than digital advertising. Another European study showed that the total cost of sending hard copy bill reminders through the mail was less than those sent via e-mail.
The panel discussed mail’s role in omnichannel campaign strategies, how personalizing can affect the success of a campaign, and demonstrated new technology like near field communication and augmented reality, which create a seamless integration between physical mail and a digital experience. There is strong interest among printers, marketers, and advertisers to incorporate this technology into traditional direct mail. Companies should take advantage of dropping prices of physical-digital technology and personalizing capabilities to create mailpieces that recipients truly value.
Shrinking Majority of Americans Support Death Penalty
Source: Pew Research Religion & Public Life Project
According to a 2013 Pew Research Center survey, 55% of U.S. adults say they favor the death penalty for persons convicted of murder. A significant minority (37%) oppose the practice.
While a majority of U.S. adults still support the death penalty, public opinion in favor of capital punishment has seen a modest decline since November 2011, the last time Pew Research asked the question. In 2011, fully six-in-ten U.S. adults (62%) favored the death penalty for murder convictions, and 31% opposed it.
EBRI’s 2014 Retirement Confidence Survey: Confidence Rebounds—for Those With Retirement Plans
Source: Employee Benefit Research Institute
The percentage of workers confident about having enough money for a comfortable retirement, at record lows between 2009 and 2013, increased in 2014. Eighteen percent are now very confident (up from 13 percent in 2013), while 37 percent are somewhat confident. Twenty-four percent are not at all confident (statistically unchanged from 28 percent in 2013).
Worldwide, Many See Belief in God as Essential to Morality
Source: Pew Global Attitudes Project
Many people around the world think it is necessary to believe in God to be a moral person, according to surveys in 40 countries by the Pew Research Center. However, this view is more common in poorer countries than in wealthier ones.
In 22 of the 40 countries surveyed, clear majorities say it is necessary to believe in God to be moral and have good values. This position is highly prevalent, if not universal, in Africa and the Middle East. At least three-quarters in all six countries surveyed in Africa say that faith in God is essential to morality. In the Middle East, roughly seven-in-ten or more agree in Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, the Palestinian territories, Tunisia and Lebanon. Across the two regions, only in Israel does a majority think it is not necessary to believe in God to be an upright person.
Many people in Asia and Latin America also link faith and morality. For example, Indonesians, Pakistanis, Filipinos and Malaysians almost unanimously think that belief in God is central to having good values. People in El Salvador, Brazil, Bolivia and Venezuela overwhelmingly agree. However, most Chinese take the opposite position – that it is not necessary to be a believer to be a moral person. And in Latin America, the Chileans and Argentines are divided.
U.S. Catholics View Pope Francis as a Change for the Better
Source: Pew Religion & Public Life Project
One year into his pontificate, Pope Francis remains immensely popular among American Catholics and is widely seen as a force for positive change within the Roman Catholic Church. More than eight-in-ten U.S. Catholics say they have a favorable view of the pontiff, including half who view him very favorably. The percentage of Catholics who view Francis “very favorably” now rivals the number who felt equally positive about Pope John Paul II in the 1980s and 1990s, though Francis’ overall favorability rating remains a few points shy of that of the long-serving Polish pope.
But despite the pope’s popularity and the widespread perception that he is a change for the better, it is less clear whether there has been a so-called “Francis effect,” a discernible change in the way American Catholics approach their faith. There has been no measurable rise in the percentage of Americans who identify as Catholic. Nor has there been a statistically significant change in how often Catholics say they go to Mass. And the survey finds no evidence that larger numbers of Catholics are either going to confession or volunteering in their churches or communities.
Racial Discrimination: How Far Have We Come?
Source: Harris Interactive
In the midst of Black History Month, it is perhaps an appropriate time to examine some of our nation’s historical racial divides and reflect on changes that we as a country have seen over time. As far back as 1969 and 1972, The Harris Poll measured perceptions among U.S. adults as to whether blacks were discriminated against in a variety of areas of American life. A new Harris Poll revisits the same line of inquiry and finds that, 45 years later, there have been some sizeable changes – along with a disparaging lack of change in some regards.
Measuring National Well-being – Governance, 2014
Source: Office for National Statistics
This article is published as part of the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Measuring National Well-being Programme. The programme aims to produce accepted and trusted measures of the well-being of the nation – how the UK as a whole is doing. This article explores in more detail aspects of governance considered important for understanding National Well-being. It considers information on forms of civic engagement, notably satisfaction with government and democracy, interest in politics and participation in politics.
AARP Attitudes of Aging Study
A two-part study commissioned by AARP the Magazine. Part one was comprised of a Research Day with two three hour sessions consisting of six simultaneous focus groups. The Research Day’s intent was to help direct the quantitative portion of the research by better understanding:
- How adults age 45+ feel about aging
- What defines age. Is it the way one looks or the way one feels
- The impact of the prejudices of aging (ageism)
- The influence of society’s opinions on their perception of aging
- The impact of life events on their perception of aging
- How social connectedness and technology impact their perceptions of aging
Part two was an online survey of 1800 respondents consisting of attitudinal questions to answer the question, ‘What aging attitudes drive the overall satisfaction with life’? Attitudinal questions centered around the following items that were uncovered in part one of the research:
- Psychological growth and loss
- Health and physical changes
- Discrimination and prejudices
- Physical appearance
- Traditional and online social networks
Citizen Satisfaction for Federal Government Falls as Users Encounter Difficulties With Government Websites
Citizen Satisfaction for Federal Government Falls as Users Encounter Difficulties With Government Websites
Source: American Customer Satisfaction Index
Americans are less satisfied with services provided by the U.S. federal government in 2013, according to a report released today by the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). ACSI results show that citizen satisfaction with federal government services drops 3.4% to 66.1 (on a scale of 0 to 100) as compared with the prior year. The decline, which erases two years of consecutive gains, occurs amid widespread downturns in satisfaction with federal government websites, including the widely publicized problems with the rollout of Healthcare.gov. The negative impact of the site’s launch reverberates at the department level, as Health and Human Services overall drops 4% to an ACSI benchmark of 66.
In aggregate, citizen satisfaction with federal websites is down 3% from an ACSI benchmark of 74 in 2012 to 72. Because of the large number of people that use the Internet for government services, the slip in e-government has a strong impact on overall citizen satisfaction with the federal government. Users find government sites to be more difficult to navigate, less reliable, and the information less useful than they did a year ago.
Attitudes about Aging: A Global Perspective
Source: Pew Global Attitudes Project
At a time when the global population of people ages 65 and older is expected to triple to 1.5 billion by mid-century, public opinion on whether the growing number of older people is a problem varies dramatically around the world, according to a Pew Research Center survey.
Concern peaks in East Asia, where nearly nine-in-ten Japanese, eight-in-ten South Koreans and seven-in-ten Chinese describe aging as a major problem for their country. Europeans also display a relatively high level of concern with aging, with more than half of the public in Germany and Spain saying that it is a major problem. Americans are among the least concerned, with only one-in-four expressing this opinion.
These attitudes track the pattern of aging itself around the world. In Japan and South Korea, the majorities of the populations are projected to be older than 50 by 2050. China is one of most rapidly aging countries in the world. Germany and Spain, along with their European neighbors, are already among the countries with the oldest populations today, and their populations will only get older in the future. The U.S. population is also expected to get older, but at a slower rate than in most other countries.
Deficit Reduction Declines as Policy Priority
Source: Pew Research Center for the People & the Press
For the first time since Barack Obama took office in 2009, deficit reduction has slipped as a policy priority among the public. Overall, 63% say reducing the budget deficit should be a top priority for Congress and the president this year, down from 72% a year ago. Most of the decline has come among Democrats: Only about half of Democrats – 49% – view deficit reduction as a top priority, down 18 points since last January.
Gender and Perceptions of Occupational Prestige
Source: Sage Open
Two studies compared perceptions of status for occupations based on the gender and race of the workers. In total, 387 college students participated in this research. Across studies, results indicated that participants did not differentially value occupations based on the gender or race of the workers in terms of prestige ratings or salary estimates. However, participants judged that occupations required more education when described as having predominantly male workers rather than female workers. In addition, the participants showed different levels of interest in the positions depending on the occupational gender. These results are compared with similar studies conducted 20 years ago, in which participants showed more overt forms of devaluing occupations associated with women.
InterPoll: Crowd-Sourced Internet Polls (Done Right)
Source: Microsoft Research
Crowd-sourcing is increasingly being used for providing answers to online polls and surveys. However, existing systems, while taking care of the mechanics of attracting crowd workers, poll building, and payment, provide little that would help the survey-maker or pollster to obtain statistically significant results devoid of even the obvious selection biases.
This paper proposes InterPoll, a platform for programming of crowd-sourced polls. Polls are expressed as embedded LINQ queries, whose results are provided to the developer. InterPoll supports reasoning about uncertainty, enabling t-tests, etc. on random variables obtained from the crowd. InterPoll performs query optimization, as well as bias correction and power analysis, among other features. Making InterPoll queries part of the surrounding program allows for optimizations that take advantage of the surrounding code context. The goal of InterPoll is to provide a system that can be reliably used for research into marketing, social and political science questions.
This paper highlights some of the existing challenges and how InterPoll is designed to address most of them. We outline some of the optimizations and give numerous motivating examples designed to illustrate our system design. Note that this paper is an outline of our vision—we deliberately focus on examples and motivation and leave a detailed technical treatment for future work.
Record-High 42% of Americans Identify as Independents
Forty-two percent of Americans, on average, identified as political independents in 2013, the highest Gallup has measured since it began conducting interviews by telephone 25 years ago. Meanwhile, Republican identification fell to 25%, the lowest over that time span. At 31%, Democratic identification is unchanged from the last four years but down from 36% in 2008.