The American public remains split by gender, race and age in how they view the 44th President as Barack Obama begins his sixth year in the White House and bones up for Tuesday’s State-of-the-Union speech, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.
As the Seattle PI, summarizes, “Overall, 51 percent of Americans have a favorable view of Obama, while 45 percent share an unfavorable opinion of Obama. Michelle Obama remains more popular than her husband with a 68-24 percent advantage to the “favorables.” But then the divisions begin.
“GENDER — Obama has a 54-41 percent favorable advantage among women, but is viewed unfavorably 49 percent of men. Just 47 percent of men have a thumbs-up view of the president.
“AGE — Obama is strongest among America’s young people, seem favorably by a 55-42 percent margin by those aged 18 to 29, with a 52-43 percent favorable margin among voters 30 to 49 years in age. By contrast, among those over 65, he gets a thumbs down from 52 percent while only 44 percent take a favorable view.
“RACE: Obama is seem favorably by 90 percent of African-Americans polled along with 62 percent of Hispanic Americans. Among whites, however, just 41 percent view him favorably, and 56 percent unfavorably.
“The 44th president gets lower marks on the job he is doing: Just 43 percent approve, with 59 percent disapproving. The poll gives little comfort to the Republican opposition. By a 54-35 percent margin, Americans view Republicans as the more extreme of the two political parties, according to Pew. A 52-27 percent margin see Democrats as the party more willing to work across the aisle and get things done. On which party is more concerned with the problems of “people like me,” Democrats enjoy a 52-32 percent advantage. Continue reading “The Obama divide”
Americans start the new year with a variety of national concerns on their minds.
Although none is dominant, the government, at 21%, leads the list of what Americans consider the most important problem facing the country.
Gallup reports that “the economy closely follows at 18%, and then unemployment/jobs and healthcare, each at 16%. No other issue is mentioned by as much as 10% of the public; however, the federal budget deficit or debt comes close, at 8%.
“Americans’ current telling of the top problems facing the country comes from a Jan. 5-8 Gallup poll. The rank order is similar to what Gallup found in December, although the percentage mentioning unemployment has risen four percentage points to 16%.
“Mentions of the government as the top problem remain higher than they were prior to the partial government shutdown in October. During the shutdown, the percentage naming the government as the top problem doubled to 33% from 16% in September.
“Compared with a year ago, mentions of government are up slightly. Mentions of healthcare, on the other hand, have quadrupled — from 4% in January 2013 to 16% today, likely related to highly visible problems with the rollout of the 2010 healthcare law. At the same time, references to the federal deficit or debt have declined from 20% to 8%, while mentions of the economy in general have dipped from 21% to 18%, and mentions of unemployment/jobs are the same, at 16%. Continue reading “Government tops Americans’ list of “problems””
Television is the main place Americans say they turn to for news about current events (55%), leading the Internet, at 21%. Nine percent say newspapers or other print publications are their main news source, followed by radio, at 6%, reports Gallup.
“These results are based on a Gallup poll of 2,048 national adults conducted June 20-24, in which Americans were asked to say, unaided, what they consider to be their main source of news about U.S. and global events.
“More than half the references to television are general, with 26% simply saying they watch television or TV news, 4% saying they watch local TV news, and 2% saying they watch the “evening news.” The two leading 24-hour cable news channels — Fox News and CNN — are named by 8% and 7%, respectively. However, no other specific channel — including MSNBC, PBS, BBC, and all of the U.S. broadcast networks that once dominated the news landscape — is mentioned by more than 1% of Americans.
“The vast majority of those citing the Internet — 18% of all Americans — either mention the Internet generally or say they get their news “online.” Two percent identify Facebook, Twitter, or social media as their source, while 1% mention a specific online news site. The New York Times and Wall Street Journal are each named by 1% of Americans — the only specific print publications to earn as much as 1% in the poll. As a measure of U.S. adults’ perception of their primary news source, the question provides insights into the importance of various types of media and news outlets as information sources to the public. It is not meant to indicate the total reach each news outlet has in the population, nor do the results necessarily correspond with television ratings data. Continue reading “Most still get news from television”
The public paid limited attention to last week’s congressional hearings on Benghazi, reports the Pew organization. “Fewer than half (44%) of Americans say they are following the hearings very or fairly closely, virtually unchanged from late January when Hillary Clinton testified. Last October, 61% said they were following the early stages of the investigation at least fairly closely.
“The national survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted May 9-12 among 1,000 adults, finds that Americans are deeply split over how both the administration and congressional Republicans are handling the situation. Four-in-ten (40%) say the Obama administration has generally been dishonest when it comes to providing information about the Benghazi attack, but 37% say they have been generally honest. And when it comes to the GOP-led investigation, 36% say Republicans have gone too far in the hearings, while 34% say they have handled them appropriately.
“Not surprisingly, these reactions divide cleanly along partisan lines. Among Republicans, 70% say the Obama administration has been dishonest and 65% say the hearings have been handled appropriately. Among Democrats, 60% say the hearings have gone too far, and 62% say the administration has been honest. Continue reading “Americans care little about Benghazi”
Psychological forces like motivated reasoning have long been associated with conspiracy thinking, but scientists are learning more every year, states today’s Salon.com, continuing: “For instance, a British study published last year found that people who believe one conspiracy theory are prone to believe many, even ones that are completely contradictory. “We’ve written before about the historical and social aspects of conspiracy theories, but wanted to learn more about the psychology of people who believe, for instance, that the Boston Marathon bombing was a government “false flag” operation. Professor Stephan Lewandowsky, a cognitive scientist at the University of Western Australia, published a paper late last month in the journal Psychological Science that has received widespread praise for looking at the thinking behind conspiracy theories about science and climate change. We asked him to explain the psychology of conspiracy theories. This conversation has been edited for brevity and clarity.
“There are number of factors, but probably one of the most important ones in this instance is that, paradoxically, it gives people a sense of control. People hate randomness, they dread the sort of random occurrences that can destroy their lives, so as a mechanism against that dread, it turns out that it’s much easier to believe in a conspiracy. Then you have someone to blame, it’s not just randomness. Continue reading “The appeal of conspiracy theories”
The U.S. is often described as a nation of immigrants. And it seems most Americans are finally remembering that basic fact.
At least two-thirds of Americans favor each of five specific measures designed to address immigration issues — ranging from 68% who would vote for increased government spending on security measures and enforcement at U.S. borders, to 85% who would vote for a requirement that employers verify the immigration status of all new hires, reports the Gallup Organization today.
“More than seven in 10 would vote for a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants now living in this country. Slightly more than seven in 10 favor a law that would track the departures of foreigners who have come into the country and one that would increase the number of visas for immigrants with science and technology skills. Continue reading “Massive support for immigration reform”
The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted Jan. 9-13 among 1,502 adults, finds that 53% think that the federal government threatens their own personal rights and freedoms while 43% disagree. According to Pew,
“In March 2010, opinions were divided over whether the government
represented a threat to personal freedom; 47% said it did while 50% disagreed. In surveys between 1995 and 2003, majorities rejected the idea that the government threatened people’s rights and freedoms.
“The growing view that the federal government threatens personal rights and freedoms has been led by conservative Republicans. Continue reading “Most think government threatens their rights”
Picking up on a theme popularized by Al Gore, President Obama recently criticized media journalism for
promoting an “assault on reason” and for contributing to a divided culture.
“The U.S. news media typically applies hackneyed or partisan templates to political issues, often distorting rather than informing the public debate,” reports GlobalResearch:
“President Barack Obama has become the latest politician to put his toe in the raging waters of the media debate, with some mild observations about the powerful role that media outlets play in reporting – and often distorting – political events.
In an interview with The New Republic, Obama stated the obvious: ‘One of the biggest factors is going to be how the media shapes debates Continue reading “Obama points to assault on reason”
Once again our friends at Gallup have confirmed that the U.S. population really can’t make up its mind. This time the popular polling organization reports that about equal numbers of people think that corporations and government are okay, with opinion dividing predictably along party lines. As Gallup states:
“Americans continue to be worried about the effects of big companies and big government, with 35% saying they are very or somewhat satisfied with the size and influence of major corporations, and 36% saying they are very or somewhat satisfied with the size and power of the federal government. Both of these levels of satisfaction are up slightly from the last two years, but significantly below satisfaction levels recorded in the early years of the last decade, when satisfaction with government was generally higher than satisfaction with major corporations.
“These findings are from Gallup’s Jan. 7-10, 2013, Mood of the Nation survey. Continue reading “Americans divided about corporations and government”
Biblical scholars have for some time noted that the good book doesn’t itself equate homosexuality with sin. Subsequent proselytizers have done that work.
Now it seems that even within stalwart anti-LGBT Christian groups, opinion seems to be shifting. As Huff Post reports today,
“Bad news for the Westboro Baptist Church and other right-wing groups: the percentage of Americans who sincerely believe that homosexuality is a sin has decreased significantly, a new poll has found.
“The Nashville-based LifeWay Research organization revealed that just 37 percent of Americans surveyed in November said they believed homosexual behavior was a sin, a seven point drop from the previous year’s survey. Interestingly, respondents who did not believe homosexuality was a sin increased by a mere two percent, while a greater number of those surveyed said they were now unsure of what they believe. Continue reading “Conservative Christian opinion shifting”
Public opinion polls became a huge focus in 2012, thanks in large part to the data-aggregating of Nate Silver. It should come as not surprise then that 2103 would start out with organizations like Gallup making headlines.Just released is Gallup’s most recent
survey of “optimism” about the coming year. Oddly, while many in the U.S. have no confidence that the economy will improve, a significant majority (69%) think that life will improve for themselves and their families. Only 27% expressed pessimism. As Gallup states:
“As is usually the case, Americans are much more positive when asked to reflect on their own personal situation than when asked about the broader situation across the country. Gallup previously reported on Americans’ negativity about the prospects for the U.S. economy and the international situation in 2013. Continue reading “Americans are oddly optimistic”
It’s no big secret that what people think has a lot to do with what they watch and read. While ideologies and other belief systems also underlie public opinion, there is no denying the role of “news” in shaping contemporary worldviews – sometimes in direct opposition to empirical data.
For example, while many parents now fear sending junior off to school each morning, the odds of a child being shot in Sandy Hook fashion stand at less than one in a million, as it has for decades. If anything, schools recently have been getting safer.
After reaching a high of 63 deaths in the 2006-2007 school year, the number of people killed in “school-associated” incidents dropped to 33 in 2009-2010 – the lowest in two decades, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Continue reading “What made the news”
Outside the United States, people favor Obama by a five-to-one margin in the upcoming American presidential election. A BBC World Service opinion poll has found sharply higher overseas approval ratings for US President Barack Obama than Republican challenger Mitt Romney.An average of 50% favored Mr Obama, with 9% for Mr Romney, in the survey of 21,797 people in 21 countries.Only Pakistan’s respondents said they would prefer to see Mr Romney win November’s election. France was the most strongly pro-Obama (72%). The survey was conducted by GlobeScan/PIPA between 3 July and 3 September.
There are lots of theories about how people get wrong-headed ideas or vote against their own interests. Now game designers are trying to do something about it. Fibber is a game about political deception and voter self-awareness. It’s a political “strip guessing” game where players try to determine whether the candidates for the American presidential election of 2012 are telling facts or fiction. The goal of the game is to raise self-awareness and personal fact checking in a world inundated with misleading political ads, social media, and personal bias. Fibber was created by Seek Change, an organization dedicated to using technology to advance self-empowerment and personal well-being. Continue reading “Fibber might change your mind”