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Survey | More than One-in-Five Fans have a Ritual Before or During Sports Games

January 23, 2014 Comments off

More than One-in-Five Fans have a Ritual Before or During Sports Games
Source: Public Religion Research Institute

Just ahead of the 2014 Super Bowl, half of sports fans see some aspect of the supernatural at play in sports, meaning they either pray to God to help their team, have thought their team was cursed at some point in time, or believe that God plays a role in determining the outcome of sporting events.

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Survey | Americans Shift Preference for “Happy Holidays” over “Merry Christmas”

December 20, 2013 Comments off

Survey | Americans Shift Preference for “Happy Holidays” over “Merry Christmas”
Source: Public Religion Research Institute

  • Nearly half (49%) of Americans agree stores and businesses should greet their customers with “happy holidays” or “season’s greetings” instead of “merry Christmas” out of respect for people of different faiths. However, a substantial minority (43%) disagree. Support for saying “happy holidays” or “season’s greetings” is up slightly since December 2010, when 44% preferred that businesses use less religious greetings.
  • White evangelical Protestants are significantly more likely than other religious groups to say stores should use “merry Christmas” instead of “happy holidays,” with 62% saying they prefer that businesses use the explicitly religious greeting. White mainline Protestants and Catholics are more divided. Among white mainline Protestants, 46% say they prefer businesses to use “merry Christmas” but 43% disagree. Half (50%) of Catholics say they prefer stores use “happy holidays”, but a substantial minority (44%) disagree. Majorities of minority Protestants (55%) and the religiously unaffiliated (58%) say stores should use “happy holidays” rather than the more religious greeting.
  • The political divisions are stark. Roughly 6-in-10 (61%) Republicans favor using “merry Christmas” over “happy holidays,” while nearly as many (58%) Democrats say the opposite.
  • There is also a wide gulf of opinion between the youngest and oldest Americans. Nearly two-thirds (66%) of young adults (ages 18-29) support stores and businesses using a non-religious greeting, a view shared by fewer than 4-in-10 (39%) of America’s seniors (ages 65 and older).

Survey — What Americans (Still) Want From Immigration Reform

November 26, 2013 Comments off

Survey — What Americans (Still) Want From Immigration Reform
Source: Public Religion Research Institute

Throughout 2013, there has been consistent bipartisan and cross-religious support for creating a path to citizenship for immigrants living in the United States. Today, 63% of Americans favor providing a way for immigrants who are currently living in the United States illegally to become citizens provided they meet certain requirements, while 14% support allowing them to become permanent legal residents but not citizens, and roughly 1-in-5 (18%) favor a policy that would identify and deport all immigrants living in the United States illegally. This support for a path to citizenship has remained unchanged from earlier this year, when in both March and August 2013 an identical number (63%) supported a path to citizenship for immigrants currently living in the United States illegally.

2013 Hispanic Values Survey: How Shifting Religious Identities and Experiences are Influencing Hispanic Approaches to Politics

September 27, 2013 Comments off

2013 Hispanic Values Survey: How Shifting Religious Identities and Experiences are Influencing Hispanic Approaches to Politics
Source: Public Religion Research Institute
From press release:

Compared to the Democratic Party, Hispanics are twice as likely to volunteer negative associations about the Republican Party, are more than three times less likely to say the Republican Party cares about people like them, and are half as likely to say they feel closer to the Republican Party than they did in the past, a major new national survey of 1,563 Hispanics living in the United States finds.

Half of Hispanics identify as Democrats (50 percent), compared to 15 percent who identify as Republicans and roughly one-in-four (24 percent) who say they are politically independent, the new Hispanic Values Survey conducted by the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute finds. The survey’s release coincides with the celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month.

Do Americans Believe Capitalism & Government Are Working?

July 19, 2013 Comments off

Do Americans Believe Capitalism & Government Are Working?
Source: Brookings Institution and Public Religion Research Institute

The 2013 Economic Values Survey probed Americans’ views on capitalism, government, economic policy, and financial well-being. It found that Americans are concerned about the lack of jobs (26% cited this as the most important economic issue), the budget deficit (17%), and the rising cost of health care (18%) and education (9%). Overall, they are pessimistic about what the future holds. A majority (54%) believes that hard work and determination are no guarantee of success and, perhaps more alarming, a majority (52%) also believes their generation is better off financially than the next generation will be.

Despite these negative views of the economy and financial well-being, most Americans (54%) nonetheless believe that capitalism is working at least somewhat well. They don’t feel the same way about government, however. While more than 6-in-10 Americans agree that government should do more to reduce the gap between rich and poor, and that it is the responsibility of government to take care of those who cannot take care of themselves, roughly two-thirds say the federal government is broken.

Survey | Americans Divided Between Principle and Practice on Affirmative Action, Divided on DOMA

May 30, 2013 Comments off

Survey | Americans Divided Between Principle and Practice on Affirmative Action, Divided on DOMA

Source: Public Religion Research Institute

Americans strongly support the principles behind affirmative action policies aimed at helping racial and ethnic minorities. More than two-thirds (68%) of Americans favor programs which, in order to make up for past discrimination, make special efforts to help blacks and other minorities get ahead, while 24% are opposed.

  • There is a large partisan gap on this question. Eighty-five percent of Democrats and 62% of independents favor affirmative action programs, compared to only a slim majority (51%) of Republicans.
  • Majorities of all religious groups, including 8-in-10 (80%) minority Protestants, 71% of Catholics, 66% of religiously unaffiliated Americans, 65% of white mainline Protestants, and 60% of white evangelical Protestants, favor programs which make special efforts to help blacks and other minorities get ahead in order to make up for past discrimination.
  • There is significant support for affirmative action programs across racial lines: 88% of Hispanic Americans, 81% of black Americans, and 61% of white Americans are in favor.
  • Young adults (age 18-29) are more likely than seniors (age 65 and older) to support affirmative action programs (75% vs. 63%).

Despite this strong support for the general principle of affirmative action, few Americans support preferences based on race or ethnicity in college admissions. Fewer than 3-in-10 (29%) Americans believe that blacks and other minorities should receive preference in college admissions to make up for past inequalities, while 64% are opposed to such a policy.

Citizenship, Values and Cultural Concerns: What Americans Want From Immigration Reform

March 22, 2013 Comments off

Citizenship, Values and Cultural Concerns: What Americans Want From Immigration Reform
Source: Public Religion Research Institute and Brookings Institution

The following is a summary of the survey’s findings and highlights from the accompanying report:

  • More than 6-in-10 (63%) Americans agree that the immigration system should deal with immigrants who are currently living in the U.S. illegally by allowing them a way to become citizens, provided they meet certain requirements. Less than 1-in-5 (14%) say they should be permitted to become permanent legal residents but not citizens, while approximately 1-in-5 (21%) agree that they should be identified and deported.
  • More than 7-in-10 (71%) Democrats, nearly two-thirds (64%) of independents, and a majority (53%) of Republicans favor an earned path to citizenship
  • Majorities of all religious groups, including Hispanic Catholics (74%), Hispanic Protestants (71%), black Protestants (70%), Jewish Americans (67%), Mormons (63%), white Catholics (62%), white mainline Protestants (61%), and white evan­gelical Protestants (56%), agree that the immigration system should allow immi­grants currently living in the U.S. illegally to become citizens provided they meet certain requirements.
  • Americans rank immigration reform sixth out of seven issues, far behind economic issues, as the highest political priority for the president and Congress.
  • Nearly half (45%) of Americans say the Republican Party’s position on immigration has hurt the party in recent elections.
  • Americans are more likely to say they trust the Democratic Party, rather than the Republican Party, to do a better job handling the issues of immigration (39% vs. 29%) and illegal immigration (43% vs. 30%). However, nearly 1-in-4 (23%) Americans say they do not trust either party to handle the issue of immigration.
  • Views about immigrants’ impact on American society are strongly associated with political ideology. Conservatives (36%) and liberals (31%) are nearly equally as likely to say that immigrants are changing their own communities a lot. How­ever, conservatives (53%) are significantly more likely than liberals (38%) to say that immigrants are changing American society a lot.
  • Overall, Americans are more likely to have positive rather than negative views about immigrants. A majority (54%) of Americans believe that the growing number of newcomers from other countries helps strengthen American society, while a significant minor­ity (40%) say that newcomers threaten traditional American customs and values.

Figuring Faith | What Do American Catholics Want From the New Pope?

February 26, 2013 Comments off

Figuring Faith | What Do American Catholics Want From the New Pope?

Source: Public Religion Research Institute

In the coming weeks, debates over next pope will be not only about the person who will embody the office but about how the church will wrestle with shifting demographics and the relationship between tradition and modern culture. A look at these shifts and tensions among American Catholics provides a microcosm into the larger global dynamics at play.

First, the Catholic Church has been experiencing significant demographic and geographic transformations over the last century. In the American context, the demographic changes began relatively recently. In 1990, nearly 8-in-10 (78 percent) Catholics were white, while less than 1-in-5 (14 percent) were Hispanic. Today, less than two-thirds (63 percent) of Catholics are white, while nearly 3-in-10 (29 percent) Catholics are Hispanic. In other words, in the span of two decades, the ratio of white to Hispanic Catholics has dropped from 5-to-1 to 2-to-1. This shift has also had considerable impact on the Catholic political engagement, given the decidedly different profiles of white Catholics and Hispanic Catholics: in the 2012 election, 75 percent of Hispanic Catholics voted for Barack Obama, while 59 percent of white Catholics voted for Mitt Romney.

Survey | After Newtown, Increasing Number of Americans Say Better Mental Health Screenings Most Important Way to Prevent Future Mass Shootings

February 15, 2013 Comments off

Survey | After Newtown, Increasing Number of Americans Say Better Mental Health Screenings Most Important Way to Prevent Future Mass Shootings

Source: Public Religion Research Institute

From press release:

Americans are more likely to believe that improving mental health screening and support is the best way to prevent mass shootings, compared to enacting stricter gun laws, putting a greater emphasis on God and morality in school and society, having stricter security at public gatherings, or allowing more private citizens to carry guns, a new survey released today finds.

Three-in-ten (30 percent) Americans say that better mental health screening and support is the best way to prevent mass shootings from occurring in the United States, an eight-point increase from a survey conducted in August 2012 (22 percent). The first part of the January Religion and Politics Tracking Survey, conducted by Public Religion Research Institute, finds increased support for improving mental health services among both Democrats (24 percent in August vs. 31 percent today) and Republicans (17 percent in August vs. 27 percent today).

Over the past six months, which have included shootings in a Connecticut elementary school, a Colorado movie theater and a Wisconsin Sikh temple, the new survey also finds that support for stricter gun laws has increased by eight percentage points, from 52 percent in August 2012 to 60 percent today.

Beyond Guns and God: Understanding the Complexities of the White Working Class in America

October 31, 2012 Comments off

Beyond Guns and God: Understanding the Complexities of the White Working Class in America (PDF)

Source: Public Religion Research Institute

From press release:

Less than two months before Americans go to the polls to elect their president, a new national survey released today upends commonly held-beliefs about white working-class Americans. The report, “Beyond God and Guns: Understanding the Complexities of the White Working Class in America,” highlights the significant divides among white working-class Americans along the lines of region, religion, gender, and age.

“Both the right and the left operate with stereotypes about white working-class Americans,” noted Dr. Robert P. Jones, CEO of Public Religion Research Institute, which conducted the survey. “The left has argued that white working-class Americans vote entirely on the basis of religion and traditional values and ignore their own economic interests, while more recently the right has argued that their problems are rooted in a lack of religious engagement and a weak work ethic. Neither side is right.”

The survey dispels five commonly held myths about the white working class. Contrary to popular belief, white working-class Americans do not have a strong affinity with the Tea Party movement, nor are they politically animated by culture wars issues like same-sex marriage and abortion. Rather, white working-class Americans are no more likely than white college-educated Americans to say they consider themselves part of the Tea Party movement (13 percent vs. 10 percent). And only 1-in-20 white working-class Americans say that either abortion (3 percent) or same-sex marriage (2 percent) is the most important issue to their vote.

The survey also demonstrates that white working-class Americans have not abandoned traditional religiosity and a strong work ethic, and shows that white working-class Americans do not blindly vote against their economic interests. Similarly, white working-class Americans do not embrace unfettered free market capitalism, but rather display a strong strain of economic populism.

Survey | Diverse, Disillusioned, and Divided: Millennial Values and Voter Engagement in the 2012 Election

October 4, 2012 Comments off

Survey | Diverse, Disillusioned, and Divided: Millennial Values and Voter Engagement in the 2012 Election
Source: Public Religion Research Institute

From press release:

Young voters’ support for President Barack Obama has increased significantly since March, a new survey finds, widening to a 16-point advantage among younger Millennials (age 18-25) over Republican challenger Mitt Romney (55 percent vs. 39 percent).

The Millennial Values and Voter Engagement survey is the second installment of a two-wave study conducted this year by Public Religion Research Institute and Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs.

The new survey also finds that nearly two-thirds (66 percent) of younger Millennials say they are currently registered to vote, with half (50 percent) saying they are absolutely certain they will vote in the 2012 election.

Survey | Few Americans Use Social Media to Connect With Their Faith Communities

August 7, 2012 Comments off

Survey | Few Americans Use Social Media to Connect With Their Faith Communities

Source: Public Religion Research Institute

Overall, Americans report limited use of technology for religious purposes, both inside and outside of worship services.

  • Nearly half (45%) of Americans report using Facebook at least a few times a week, but few Americans incorporate technology into their practice of worship. Among Americans who attend religious services at least a few times a year, roughly 1-in-10 (11%) report posting status updates on their Facebook page or other social networking site about being in church. Ten percent of Americans report that they have used a cell phone to take pictures or record video during worship, and 7% say they have sent or read email during services.
  • Outside of religious services, most Americans are not relying on technology to connect to religious leaders and institutions or to generally practice their faith. Thirteen percent of Americans say they have downloaded a podcast of a sermon or listened to a sermon online. Fewer than 1-in-10 Americans report following a religious or spiritual leader on Twitter or Facebook (5%) or joining a religious or spiritual group on Facebook (6%).

Survey — A Generation in Transition: Religion, Values, and Politics among College-Age Millennials

April 23, 2012 Comments off
Source:  Public Religion Research Institute
Four years after younger voters headed to the polls in record numbers, helping to send then-Senator Barack Obama to the White House, a new national survey of more than 2,000 18-24 year old Millennials provides new insights about the challenges both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney face in reaching the newest group of young American voters.
Conducted jointly by Public Religion Research Institute and the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University, the new poll finds President Obama holds a 7-point lead over a generic Republican candidate, with nearly half (48 percent) of young Millennial voters saying they would prefer that Obama win the 2012 election, compared to 41 percent who say they would like to see a Republican win. However, only 34 percent of voters who would prefer a Republican candidate say Mitt Romney is their first choice to be the GOP nominee. Another challenge for both campaigns is that the PRRI/Berkley Center poll also finds that only 61 percent of college-age Millennials are currently registered to vote, and only 46 percent say they are absolutely certain they will vote in November.
“Both the Romney and Obama campaigns have their work cut out for them to reach college-age Millennial voters,” said Robert P. Jones, CEO of Public Religion Research Institute.  “Obama enjoys significant favorability and excitement advantages over Romney, but his support among younger voters today is substantially lower than among younger voters four years ago.  Romney’s largest challenge is that he inspires considerably less excitement than Obama or other Republican candidates.”
Among the issues Millennials believe are critically important, more than three-quarters (76 percent) cite jobs and unemployment, followed by the federal deficit (55 percent), and education (54 percent). Only 1-in-5 say social issues like abortion (22 percent) or same-sex marriage (22 percent) are critical.

Survey — Chosen for What? Jewish Values in 2012

April 5, 2012 Comments off

Survey — Chosen for What? Jewish Values in 2012
Source: Public Religion Research Institute
From press release:

Jewish values, particularly pursuing justice and a commitment to social equality, are important for informing political beliefs and behaviors, a new national survey of American Jews finds.

The new survey of 1,004 American Jews, conducted by Public Religion Research Institute and released at a National Press Club briefing, is the most comprehensive, representative national study of its kind conducted by a non-Jewish research organization. The new survey takes a broad look at how Jewish values, experiences and identity are shaping political beliefs and behavior and influencing social action in the Jewish community and beyond.

More than eight-in-ten American Jews say that pursuing justice (84%) and caring for the widow and the orphan (80%) are somewhat or very important values that inform their political beliefs and activities. More than seven-in-ten say that tikkun olam (72%) and welcoming the stranger (72%) are important values. A majority (55%) say that seeing every person as made in the image of God is an important influence on their political beliefs and activities. Strong majorities of American Jews also cite the experience of the Holocaust, having opportunities for economic success in America, and the immigrant experience as important in shaping their political beliefs and activities.

When asked which qualities are most important to their Jewish identity, nearly half (46%) of American Jews cite a commitment to social equality, twice as many as cite support for Israel (20%) or religious observance (17%). About one-in-ten volunteered that a sense of cultural heritage and tradition (6%) or a general set of values (3%) are most important to their Jewish identity.

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