The 2018 midterm elections affirmed that the deep geographic divides within the United States are here to stay. As they did in 2016, Americans living in rural areas overwhelmingly backed Republican candidates, fueled in part by the sense that the American economy is leaving them behind. The plight of rural America, and ideas for its economic revival, continues to animate policy discussions, including among Democrats concerned about their ability to appeal to blue-collar voters. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
Young adults in many Western European nations are substantially less likely than older people to say that being Christian, being native to their country, or having ancestry there is important to national belonging – that is, to being “truly British,” “truly French,” and so on.
But in Central and Eastern Europe, there often are no such divides between young adults and older people. Indeed, in many countries in this part of Europe, people of different ages are about equally likely to say that Christianity, birthplace and ancestry are important to national identity. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
The number of programs dedicated to countering violent extremism (CVE) has grown in recent years, yet a fundamental gap remains in the understanding of the effectiveness of such programs. This is particularly the case for CVE campaigns, which are increasingly conducted in the online space. The goal of this report is to help CVE campaign planners better evaluate the impact of online efforts. It reviews prior assessments of online CVE campaigns, provides recommendations for future assessments, and provides a case study of one particular CVE campaign — the Redirect Method. A limited evaluation of the Redirect Method process variables suggests that the implementers are able to use advertisements linking to counter-extremist videos to effectively expose individuals searching for violent jihadist or violent far-right content to content that offers alternative narratives. Users clicked on these ads at a rate on par with industry standards. However, as is the case with other CVE evaluations, this partial evaluation did not assess the impact of the video content on user attitudes or behavior. The potentially highly radical nature of the Redirect Method’s target audience makes evaluation of the campaign particularly complicated and therefore might necessitate the recruitment of former extremists to help gauge audience response. Alternatively, it might be advisable to analyze user comments to understand how a subsample of users respond to the content. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
Economic, religious and political divides shape where Americans find meaning – but family, career and friendship emerge as common themes
What makes life meaningful? Answering such a big question might be challenging for many people. Even among researchers, there is little consensus about the best way to measure what brings human beings satisfaction and fulfillment. Traditional survey questions – with a prespecified set of response options – may not capture important sources of meaning.
To tackle this topic, Pew Research Center conducted two separate surveys in late 2017. The first included an open-ended question asking Americans to describe in their own words what makes their lives feel meaningful, fulfilling or satisfying. This approach gives respondents an opportunity to describe the myriad things they find meaningful, from careers, faith and family, to hobbies, pets, travel, music and being outdoors.
The second survey included a set of closed-ended (also known as forced-choice) questions asking Americans to rate how much meaning and fulfillment they draw from each of 15 possible sources identified by the research team. It also included a question asking which of these sources gives respondents the most meaning and fulfillment. This approach offers a limited series of options but provides a measure of the relative importance Americans place on various sources of meaning in their lives. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
In the era of big data, private companies are accumulating information at an ever-increasing rate and are using the power of these data to derive greater and more detailed insights about all types of activity. Some companies are leveraging their data assets to improve public services and decision-making through the emerging field of data philanthropy. These companies responsibly share their data with researchers, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and the public to fill knowledge gaps and turn data into insights across a broad range of pressing and timely issues. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
On October 6, the Senate voted to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to be an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, following a contentious confirmation battle. Kavanaugh will replace Justice Anthony Kennedy, who retired in July after three decades on the court.
After the Senate’s deliberations over Kavanaugh, here’s a look at where the public stands on some of the major legal, political and social issues that could come before the justices in the years ahead, based on surveys conducted by Pew Research Center. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
When asked which president has done the best job in their lifetimes, more Americans name Barack Obama than any other president. More than four-in-ten (44%) say Obama is the best or second best president of their lifetimes, compared with about a third who mention Bill Clinton (33%) or Ronald Reagan (32%). [Note: contains copyrighted material].