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Democrats Have More Positive Image, But GOP Runs Even or Ahead on Key Issues

March 3, 2015 Comments off

Democrats Have More Positive Image, But GOP Runs Even or Ahead on Key Issues
Source: Pew Research Center

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.

EU — Quality of Transport

February 23, 2015 Comments off

Quality of Transport (PDF)
Source: Eurobarometer
From Summary (PDF):

Transport directly affects everyone in Europe. Whatever age we are and whatever activities we undertake, transportation and mobility play a fundamental role for our daily lives and for business. The estimated annual budget of the average EU household for transport is € 4 530. With a population of over 505 million this represents a significant investment.

The aim of the European Commission’s Directorate General for Mobility and Transport (DG MOVE) is to promote transport solutions that are efficient, safe, secure and environmentally friendly and to create the conditions for a competitive industry, generating growth and jobs. With this in mind, DG MOVE is actively working on a range of activities that concern all modes of transportation: policy making and the proposition of new laws, project funding and research as well as activities to increase citizen’s awareness. Furthermore, DG MOVE provides statistical insights to all interested parties: decision makers, industries, citizens and media – for example, the annual statistical pocketbook or the recent EU Transport Scoreboard.

DG MOVE commissioned this survey to gather information from European citizens, understand their habits, hear their opinions and analyse their perceptions of transport related matters. The survey focussed on:
+ The most frequently used modes of transport for daily trips and long journeys and the reasons these modes were chosen;
+ How to encourage people who use cars and motorbikes to use public transport ;
+ The perceptions of the quality of road, air, rail and sea transport over the last five years and the most serious problems affecting these modes of transport;
+ How to make the transport sector more appealing for job seekers.

EU — Public Perception of Security and Privacy: Results of the comprehensive analysis of PACT’s pan-European Survey

February 17, 2015 Comments off

Public Perception of Security and Privacy: Results of the comprehensive analysis of PACT’s pan-European Survey
Source: RAND Corporation

This study reports public preferences for security, surveillance and privacy across 27 European Member States measured using a stated preference survey. It focuses on three real life contexts: train/metro travel, internet use and storage of health records — each exploring different dimensions of privacy.

Over 26,000 responses were collected using internet and face-to-face surveys in autumn of 2013. The questionnaire included questions on respondent’s demographics, questions measuring trust in institutions, general distrust, and attitudes to risk taking. Depending on familiarity to travel by train/metro and internet, each respondent was presented with five stated preference questions from two out three of the above mentioned contexts. The stated preference experiments were designed to understand preferences relating to surveillance, amount of data collected, access to data, storage of data, and cost of security, surveillance and data handling. In the travel context experiment also collected preferences for presence and type of security personnel and physical security checks. Preferences in all three contexts were analysed using discrete choice modelling.

Clear differences in preferences for privacy, security and surveillance are found, depending on the context. The study finds that preferences for security and privacy are surprisingly consistent across the EU. Attitudes and demographic characteristics also influence preferences. This study which is one of the largest applications of discrete choice modelling in this domain, provides an important missing element on public perceptions to the debate on security and privacy.

Students’ intent to transfer could threaten broad-access institutions under proposed college ratings system — The American Freshman: National Norms of Fall 2014

February 13, 2015 Comments off

Students’ intent to transfer could threaten broad-access institutions under proposed college ratings system — The American Freshman: National Norms of Fall 2014
Source: Higher Education Research Institute (UCLA)

A college rating system proposed by the U.S. Department of Education could hurt many broad-access and minority-serving colleges and universities given that those institutions are enrolling more students who may ultimately graduate from a different college or university. According to UCLA’s annual CIRP Freshman Survey, more than one-quarter of incoming freshmen at such colleges plan to transfer to another institution.

The survey of incoming students at four-year colleges and universities throughout the U.S. is part of the Cooperative Institutional Research Program and is administered by the Higher Education Research Institute (HERI) at UCLA’s Graduate School of Education and Information Studies.

Students enrolling at the least selective campuses are the most likely to intend to transfer: Among the least selective institutions, 30.3 percent of students at public and 29.9 percent at private colleges and universities report there is either “some” or a “very good” chance they will transfer to another institution. By contrast, just 11.8 percent of students at the most selective public institutions and 17 percent of students at the most selective private institutions express a strong intention to transfer.

Student Perceptions and Practices Regarding Carrying Concealed Handguns on University Campuses

February 13, 2015 Comments off

Student Perceptions and Practices Regarding Carrying Concealed Handguns on University Campuses
Source: Journal of American College Health
Objective:
This multisite study assessed college student’s perceptions and practices regarding carrying concealed handguns on campus.

Participants:
Undergraduate students from 15 public midwestern universities were surveyed (N = 1,800).

Methods:
Faculty members distributed the questionnaire to students in general education classes or classes broadly representative of undergraduate students.

Results:
Useable questionnaires were returned by 1,649 students (92%). The majority (78%) of students was not supportive of concealed handguns on campuses, and 78% claimed that they would not obtain a permit to carry a handgun on campus, if it were legal. Those who perceived more disadvantages to carrying handguns on campus were females, who did not own firearms, did not have a firearm in the home growing up, and were not concerned with becoming a victim of crime.

Conclusions:
The majority of students was not supportive of concealed handguns on campus and claimed that they would not feel safer if students and faculty carried concealed handguns.

CRS — Poverty in the United States: 2013 (January 29, 2015)

February 10, 2015 Comments off

Poverty in the United States: 2013 (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

In 2013, 45.3 million people were counted as poor in the United States under the official poverty measure—a number statistically unchanged from the 46.5 million people estimated as poor in 2012. The poverty rate, or percent of the population considered poor under the official definition, was reported at 14.5% in 2013, a statistically significant drop from the estimated 15.0% in 2012. Poverty in the United States increased markedly over the 2007-2010 period, in tandem with the economic recession (officially marked as running from December 2007 to June 2009), and remained unchanged at a post-recession high for three years (15.1% in 2010, and 15.0% in both 2011 and 2012). The 2013 poverty rate of 14.5% remains above a 2006 pre-recession low of 12.3%, and well above an historic low rate of 11.3% attained in 2000 (a rate statistically tied with a previous low of 11.1% in 1973).

The incidence of poverty varies widely across the population according to age, education, labor force attachment, family living arrangements, and area of residence, among other factors. Under the official poverty definition, an average family of four was considered poor in 2013 if its pretax cash income for the year was below $23,834.

Most View the CDC Favorably; VA’s Image Slips

February 5, 2015 Comments off

Most View the CDC Favorably; VA’s Image Slips
Source: Pew Research Center

The public continues to express positive views of many agencies of the federal government, even though overall trust in government is near historic lows. Large majorities express favorable views of such government agencies as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), NASA and the Defense Department.

In fact, favorable opinions surpass unfavorable views for seven of eight government agencies tested – the IRS is the lone exception. In a survey last February, however, just 24% said they could trust the government in Washington always or most of time.

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