Tag Archives: Pew Research Center

Where do you stand?

In our polling last month, most people seemed pretty firm about which presidential candidate they planned to vote for. But is their allegiance based on party, on politics, on positions or something else?

Pew Research Center has a 12-question survey that might help you determine the answer to that. It’s fun, easy and you can see where you fit with others who have taken it. You may surprise yourself.

Happy days aren’t here again quite yet

Are you more optimistic about the direction of the country than you were last month? A Reuters/Ipsos poll shows that many Americans are, even as most people think the country is still going the wrong way. “The telephone poll, conducted September 7-10, showed 39 percent of Americans believed the country was moving in the right direction, while a still-high 55 percent believed it was on the wrong track.

“The numbers represented a sizable change from August, when 31 percent of those surveyed thought the country was going in the right direction and 64 percent on the wrong track.”

In a separate poll, Pew Research Center reports that Democrats are feeling a bit better about the economy. Republicans? Eh, not so much. “Just 15% of Democrats say recent economic news is mostly bad, down from 31% a month ago and among the lowest percentages over the last four years. Six-in-ten Republicans (60%) say news about the economy is mostly bad, as do 36% of independents. Opinions among Republicans and independents are largely unchanged from a month ago.”

A convention bounce? Pleased with the direction of the stock market? Ignoring the soft employment numbers? Who knows?

— John Robinson

Where the money is

“Nearly six-in-ten survey respondents (58%) also say the rich pay too little in taxes, while 26% say they pay their fair share, and just 8% say they pay too much. Even among those who describe themselves as upper or upper-middle class1, 52% say upper-income Americans don’t pay enough in taxes.”

That’s from a Pew Research Center poll in August. The Elon University Poll conducted in August has a similar result. North Carolina likely voters were asked, “Do you support or oppose extending [the Bush] tax cuts for people making over $250,000?” Fifty-two percent said they opposed the extension; 37% supported it. And this result is from a group that supports Gov. Romney over President Obama, 47%-43%.

— John Robinson

The candidates in a word

What one word would you use to describe President Obama? Gov. Romney? Vice President Biden? Rep. Paul Ryan?

The Pew Research Center asked and created a fascinating one-word look at four leaders.

For Obama the top reference was “good/good man.” The first negative — failed — came in fourth.

For Romney, it was “honest.” His first negative — liar — came in ninth. (The survey on questions about Ryan and Romney were conducted a week earlier than that of Obama and Biden.)

“About four-in-ten (43%) of those who offered a one-word description used a positive term to describe their impression of Obama, while an identical percentage used a negative word….A Pew Research Center/Washington Post survey last week found that more people use negative than positive words to describe Mitt Romney: 42% of the words were clearly negative while 28% were positive.”

For Biden, it was “good.” His first negative — idiot” — comes quickly. It is the second most mentioned description. “Of those offering a word to describe Biden, 38% use negative terms, while 23% give positive words.”

For Ryan, it was “conservative.” His first negative — “idiot” — comes in 10th. “Of those offering a word, 37% describe Ryan in clearly positive terms, using such words as intelligent, good, energetic , honest and smart. Another 35% of the words used are clearly negative in tone, such as idiot, extreme, phony and scary.” Because the timing of the survey, it doesn’t reflect any good or bad will as a result of the fact-checking questions about Ryan’s convention speech. 

— John Robinson

Friday’s trending topics

Presidential prospects — Mark Blumenthal at Huffington Post examines polls in battleground states and determines that “the results show Obama running slightly better now than at a comparable points in the 2008 election.” (North Carolina isn’t mentioned.) And he notes that it’s a looooong time until November.

Digital teens — Do you know how to Skype, iChat or Googletalk? According to the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project, 37% of Internet users age 12-17 do.


Wednesday’s trending topics

Supremes — A Pew Research Center survey “finds the Supreme Court’s popularity is at a 25-year low, though still much higher than that of Congress. The Pew Research Center says 52 percent of Americans have a favorable opinion of the court, the lowest rating since the group started asking Americans their view of the high court in 1987.”

Apocalypse — Maybe the Mayans were right! According to an Ipsos poll, one in seven people worldwide believe the world will end during their lifetime, and 10 percent think it will happen this year. Worse than that, the highest percentage who believe in the end of the world? America and Turkey, at 22%. (They must not go to the movies because from “Armageddon” to “2012,” the Earth is always saved.)

OK, not everything is serious.

Sports — Republicans and Democrats can pretty much disagree about anything. Take sports, for example. A Washington Post-ABC News poll reports that two-thirds of Americans like baseball, followed by basketball at 58%, hockey, 49%, and NASCAR, 48%.

But then, maybe because it’s the Washington Post, you get down to politics. Democrats like the NBA much more than Republicans. Republicans are more inclined toward NASCAR. Independents split the difference on each sport.

What? They didn’t ask about fishing or bowling? More here.

— John Robinson


N.C.: We don’t need to change gun laws

North Carolina is a moderate state, despite efforts by conservatives and liberals to paint it otherwise.

Exhibit One: North Carolinians do not want state gun control laws loosened, according to the results of the latest Elon University Poll. In fact, 44% of respondents the current laws to remain unchanged, and 33% want stricter laws. Fifteen percent want less strict laws.

The relevance? The GOP-controlled General Assembly is expected to introduce legislation this month that permits people with concealed-carry permits to carry firearms into restaurants. On that issue, 56% of respondents in the Elon Poll do NOT want guns in restaurants or parks. (The General Assembly passed legislation last year to permit concealed-carry permit owners to carry firearms in parks.)

But they aren’t anti-gun by any means. Two-thirds of respondents think that gun owners should be able to keep guns locked in their cars while at work, which was also passed last year.

Nationally, according to the Pew Research Center last week, “49% of Americans say it is more important to protect the rights of Americans to own guns, while 45% say it is more important to control gun ownership.”

— John Robinson

North Carolina marriage amendment update

Now that Mitt Romney is the presumptive Republican nominee, it appears that the hottest issue to be decided in the North Carolina primary next month is the marriage amendment. Elected boards are taking positions, rallies are being held, yard signs are popping up, and leaders are stating opposition or support.

The latest Elon University Poll results show that 61% of North Carolinians say they oppose an amendment that would prevent any same sex marriages, domestic partnerships or civil unions. The poll is of North Carolina residents, not likely voters. Other polls of likely voters indicate more support for the amendment itself.

Andrew Kohut, president of the Pew Research Center, explains how the nation’s opinion of same-sex marriage has shifted in the past few years. Majorities of the millennial generation, who were a very small share of the electorate in 2004 when the gay marriage issue rallied the conservative base, have grown in number and have consistently favored. But also, many older Americans have changed their minds. Since 2004, support for gay marriage has increased from 30 percent to 40 percent among baby boomers, and even among seniors (from 18 percent to 32 percent). (On balance, though, most members of this generation remain opposed, at 56 percent.)

The biggest question may well be which side will show up on May 8. The lack of competitive GOP presidential or gubernatorial contests will dampen conservative turnout. On the Democratic side, the presidential ticket is decided, of course, but the gubernatorial nominee isn’t. But that race hasn’t generated much excitement yet. 

Opposition to the amendment is visible on the streets and in letters to the editor columns. Support seems to be centered in churches, but has been much quieter.

— John Robinson

A political IQ test

Think you know your politics? Do you know what party Abe Lincoln belonged to? Or the party more supportive of drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge?

If you’re a follower of this blog you’ll probably get all 13 questions correct on the Pew Research Center news IQ test. Only 8% of the public has gotten 100% right so far. See how good you are!

— John Robinson