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No Common Opinion on the Common Core

August 22, 2014 Comments off

Support for Common Core Slips, But Majority of Public Still In Favor
Source: Education Next

Key Findings

• Support for Common Core State Standards (CCSS) dropped from 65% in 2013 to 53% in 2014, with support among Republicans falling from 57% to 43%.

• The public’s support for common standards is stronger when the words “Common Core” are not mentioned, with 68% in support.

• The public, on average, gives 50% of teachers an A or a B, but it gives a D or an F to 22% of them.

• One-quarter of those living with school-age children have educated at least one of their children in a setting other than a traditional public school.

• Support for increasing local school spending has not returned to its pre-recession level among those told current spending levels. As compared to 50% in 2008, only 43% favor spending increases in 2014.

• The same is true for teacher salaries. Among those told current salaries in their state, only 38% favor salary increases in 2014, compared to 54% in 2008.

• Only 35% of the public favors class-size reduction when told its cost relative to raising teacher salaries or purchasing more books and technologies, compared to 46% not informed of relative costs.

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A survey of public opinion about connected vehicles in the U.S., the U.K., and Australia

August 22, 2014 Comments off

A survey of public opinion about connected vehicles in the U.S., the U.K., and Australia
Source: University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute

This survey examined public opinion regarding connected-vehicle technology across three major English-speaking countries—the U.S., the U.K., and Australia. The survey yielded useable responses from 1,596 persons over the age of 18. The main results were as follows:

  • The majority of respondents had not previously heard of connected-vehicle technology; however, most had a positive initial opinion of the technology.
  • The majority felt that the expected benefits presented in the survey are likely to occur.
  • Respondents generally expressed a high level of concern regarding the security and performance issues presented in the survey.
  • The majority of those surveyed stated that safety was the most important benefit of connected vehicles.
  • Most individuals said that it is important for personal communication devices to integrate with connected vehicles, as well as for such vehicles to have Internet connectivity.
  • The majority of respondents expressed a desire to have this technology in their vehicle.
  • Willingness to pay for connected-vehicle technology was very similar across the three countries.

The main implications of these results are that the general public in the three countries surveyed feel positive about connected vehicles, have optimistic expectations of the benefits (while still maintaining some concerns), and generally appear ready and willing to embrace connected-vehicle technology when it becomes available.

Forty-Five Percent of Americans Seek Out Organic Foods

August 18, 2014 Comments off

Forty-Five Percent of Americans Seek Out Organic Foods
Source: Gallup

A little less than half of Americans, 45%, actively try to include organic foods in their diets, while 15% actively avoid them. More than a third, 38%, say they “don’t think either way” about organic foods.

Attitudes toward Health Insurance and Their Persistence over Time, Adults, 2010-2011

August 13, 2014 Comments off

Attitudes toward Health Insurance and Their Persistence over Time, Adults, 2010-2011
Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

Highlights

  • In 2011, 12.1 percent of adults agreed with the statement “I’m healthy enough that I really don’t need health insurance,” and 24.3 percent of adults agreed with the statement “Health insurance is not worth the money it costs.”
  • There were no differences in the overall national estimates when comparing the 2011 attitudes towards the cost of health insurance with those observed in 2010; however, substantial shifts in preferences were noted for the same individuals over this time period.
  • Adults ages 18-64 who were uninsured for all of 2011 were nearly twice as likely as their privately insured counterparts, and two and one-half times as likely as those with public coverage to indicate they were healthy and did not need health insurance. These uninsured adults were also more likely to agree that health insurance was not worth its cost, relative to those with coverage.
  • Adults with consistent attitudes toward health insurance in both 2010 and 2011 had coverage and utilization behaviors in accordance with their expressed preferences. Those who consistently said they were healthy and did not need coverage were more than three times as likely not to have any medical expenditures in both years, relative to those who consistently disagreed with that classification.
  • In both years, adults under age 65 who consistently indicated that health insurance was not worth the cost were nearly three times as likely to be uninsured relative to those who consistently disagreed.

A Survey of Public Opinion About Autonomous and Self-Driving Vehicles In The U.S., The U.K., And Australia

August 7, 2014 Comments off

A Survey of Public Opinion About Autonomous and Self-Driving Vehicles In The U.S., The U.K., And Australia (PDF)
Source: University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (via The Atlantic)

This survey examined public opinion regarding self-driving-vehicle technology in three major English-speaking countries—the U.S., the U.K., and Australia. The survey yielded useable responses from 1,533 persons 18 years and older.

  • The main findings (applicable to each of the three countries) were as follows:
  • The majority of respondents had previously heard of autonomous or self-driving vehicles, had a positive initial opinion of the technology, and had high expectations about the benefits of the technology.
  • However, the majority of respondents expressed high levels of concern about riding in self-driving vehicles, security issues related to self-driving vehicles, and self-driving vehicle not performing as well as actual drivers.
  • Respondents also expressed high levels of concern about vehicles without driver controls; self-driving vehicles moving while unoccupied; and self-driving commercial vehicles, busses, and taxis.
  • The majority of respondents expressed a desire to have this technology in their vehicle. However, a majority was also unwilling to pay extra for the technology; those who were willing to pay offered similar amounts in each country.
  • Females expressed higher levels of concern with self-driving vehicles than did males. Similarly, females were more cautious about their expectations concerning benefits from using self-driving vehicles.

In comparison to the respondents in the U.K. and Australia, respondents in the U.S. expressed greater concern about riding in self-driving vehicles, data privacy, interacting with non-self-driving vehicles, self-driving vehicles not driving as well as human drivers in general, and riding in a self-driving vehicle with no driver controls available.

The main implications of these results are that motorists and the general public in the three countries surveyed, while expressing high levels of concern about riding in vehicles equipped with this technology, feel positive about self-driving vehicles, have optimistic expectations of the benefits, and generally desire self-driving-vehicle technology when it becomes available (though a majority is not willing to pay extra for such technology at this time).

See: Why Are Americans so Suspicious of Self-Driving Cars? (The Atlantic)

Shifting Views of Supreme Court’s Ideology among Liberals, Conservatives

August 1, 2014 Comments off

Shifting Views of Supreme Court’s Ideology among Liberals, Conservatives
Source: Pew Research Center for the People & the Press

Overall views of the U.S. Supreme Court – and its ideology – have changed only modestly since last measured in April before the court’s end-of-term decisions, including the Hobby Lobby ruling that limits the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive requirement.

But among liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans there have been sizable changes in opinions of the court; more liberals now view the Supreme Court as conservative – and fewer conservatives view it as liberal – than did so just a few months ago.

A Case against Child Labor Prohibitions

July 30, 2014 Comments off

A Case against Child Labor Prohibitions
Source: Cato Institute

In my recent book, Out of Poverty: Sweatshops in the Global Economy, I argue that much of what the anti-sweatshop movement agitates for would harm workers and that the process of economic development, in which sweatshops play an important role, is the best way to raise wages and improve working conditions. Child labor, although the most emotionally charged aspect of sweatshops, is not an exception to this analysis.

We should desire to see an end to child labor, but it has to come through a process that generates better opportunities for the children—not from legislative mandates that prevent children and their families from taking the best option available to them. Children work because their families are desperately poor, and the meager addition to the family income they can contribute is often necessary for survival. Banning child labor through trade regulations or governmental prohibitions often simply forces the children into less-desirable alternatives. When U.S. activists started pressuring Bangladesh into eliminating child labor, the results were disastrous.

Survey | Nearly 7-in-10 Americans See Unaccompanied Children at Border as Refugees, Not Illegal Immigrants

July 30, 2014 Comments off

Survey | Nearly 7-in-10 Americans See Unaccompanied Children at Border as Refugees, Not Illegal Immigrants
Source: Public Religion Research Institute

Roughly half (49%) of Americans report hearing a lot about the growing numbers of children arriving in the United States from Central America, while 31% report only hearing a little, and 20% report hearing nothing at all.

More than one-third (36%) of Americans view the number of children now coming from Central America as a crisis, while 43% see the situation as a serious problem but not a crisis. About 1-in-5 (19%) say the situation is a minor problem.

A majority (69%) of Americans say that children arriving from Central America should be treated as refugees and allowed to stay in the U.S. if authorities determine it is not safe for them to return to their home countries. In contrast, 27% say that children arriving from Central America should be treated as illegal immigrants and deported back to their home countries.

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.

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.

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