Most Americans view public libraries as important parts of their communities, with a majority reporting that libraries have the resources they need and play at least some role in helping them decide what information they can trust. When asked to think about the things that libraries could do in the future, notable numbers of Americans respond in a way that can be boiled down to one phrase: “Yes, please.” Public libraries, many Americans say, should offer programs to teach people digital skills (80% think libraries should definitely do this) and help patrons learn how to use new creative technologies like 3-D printers (50%). At the same time, 57% of Americans say libraries should definitely offer more comfortable places for reading, working and relaxing. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
Supporters of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump disagree on a range of policy issues, from terrorism to free trade. Yet they also have more fundamental differences over long-term changes in the country and the next generation’s future prospects. The survey finds that Trump supporters overwhelmingly believe that life in America is worse than it was 50 years ago “for people like them.” Most Clinton supporters take the opposite view: 59% say life for people like them has gotten better over the past half-century, while 19% think it has gotten worse and 18% see little change. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
As the calendar turned from spring to summer and the political season transitioned from the primaries to the general election campaign, many American churchgoers were hearing at least some discussion of social and political issues from the pulpits at their houses of worship, the survey finds. Religious liberty and homosexuality were chief among the issues they were hearing about, with four-in-ten saying they heard from clergy on each of these topics during the spring and early summer. Roughly three-in-ten say their clergy talked about abortion, similar to the share who heard about immigration. And one-in-five churchgoers reported hearing about the environment and economic inequality. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
Almost a decade after the global financial crisis rattled national economies, many in the world feel their respective countries’ economies remain weak. The survey reveals a bleak picture in parts of Europe, with more than eight-in-ten in Greece, France and Spain describing their country’s economic situation as bad. This gloom is not shared by all in the European Union, however, most Swedes, Germans and Dutch say their economy is doing well. And in China, India and Australia, views are mostly positive. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
The Zika virus has become a concern to many Americans, and its emergence fits into a broader pattern of public concern that the number of infectious disease threats to people’s health has grown in the past generation. Some 51% of adults say there are more infectious disease threats today than there were 20 years ago. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
The public views America’s role in the world with considerable apprehension and concern. In fact, most Americans say it would be better if the U.S. just dealt with its own problems and let other countries deal with their own problems as best they can. With the United States facing an array of global threats, public support for increased defense spending has climbed to its highest level since a month after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, when 50% favored more defense spending. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
As strife in the Middle East continues to make headlines, from the militant group ISIS to Syrian refugees, the Muslim world is sharply divided on what the relationship should be between the tenets of Islam and the laws of governments. Across 10 countries with significant Muslim populations surveyed in 2015, there is a striking difference in the extent to which people think the Quran should influence their nation’s laws. [Note: contains copyrighted material].