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Young Americans and the Midterm Election

July 1, 2018

The next generation of potential voters can turn their political pessimism into action in the 2018 midterms, according to the latest wave of the MTV/AP-NORC Youth Political Pulse Survey.Young people age 15 to 34 express widespread pessimism toward the political system and discourse in the United States today. Fifty-seven percent say they are doubtful that people of different political views can come together and work out their differences, and less than 1 in 5 hold out hope that these political divisions will heal over the next five years. Just 1 in 10 have felt positive or excited about the state of the country in the past month, and about 7 in 10 say American politics are dysfunctional.

"My" Media Versus "The" Media: Trust in News Depends on Which News Media You Mean

June 18, 2018

For years, studies have shown Americans' trust in the news media is steadily declining. In recent months, the rise of so-called fake news and the rhetoric of President Donald Trump about journalists being "the enemy of the people" have made the question of trust in a free press an even more prominent issue facing the country. At the same time, data show that over the past decade, people have been consuming more news than ever. How are we to explain the apparent paradox? New research released today by the Media Insight Project, a collaboration of the American Press Institute and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, suggests public attitudes about the news media are more complex and nuanced than many traditional studies indicate, with attitudes varying markedly depending on what media people are asked about.

Democratic Representation: Americans’ Frustration with Whose Voices are Represented in Congress

February 23, 2018

With Americans' disapproval of Congress reaching record levels in recent years, the strength of the country's legislative system and America's faith in its outcomes have come into question. This study reveals a new explanation for Americans' dissatisfaction with their elected representatives by showing that people's approval of Congress is tied to their beliefs about how lawmakers are making decisions. The study—conducted by researchers from Stanford University and the University of California, Santa Barbara, in collaboration with The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research—shows that negative attitudes toward Congress relate to the gap between who people think members of Congress should pay attention to when voting on a law and who people think they do pay attention to when voting. The phenomenon cuts across partisan lines, and these perceptions of the decision-making process affect both Democrats' and Republicans' approval of Congress.

Partisanship and the Media: How Personal Politics Affect Where People Go, What They Trust, and Whether They Pay

December 27, 2017

New research shows that although Americans are in many ways divided in their attitudes toward the media, Republicans and Democrats are in many ways strikingly alike in their behavior toward the news. They are equally likely to pay for news, to get news from social media, to seek it out actively rather than passively, and to get news multiple times a day, according to two recent studies by the Media Insight Project, a collaboration of the American Press Institute and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Republicans and Democrats are also about equally likely to cite a local news source when asked about the news media they use most often and are equally likely to follow news about their towns and neighborhoods. In general, it is independents who stand out from partisans of either stripe, particularly for being less likely to follow news closely or engage in other ways with the news. But putting behavior aside, there are striking and potentially challenging differences among people of different party identifications when it comes to attitudes toward the news. There are also differences in the specific sources Democrats versus Republicans rely on for their information once you move beyond local news. In general, Republicans and independents are less satisfied than Democrats—even with the news sources for which they pay and that they use most often. Democrats, for instance, are more likely than Republicans or independents to say both the sources they use for free and the sources they pay for are reliable. Democrats are also more likely than Republicans or independents to say their paid source is a good value. These partisan differences also exist among just newspaper subscribers. Democrats who subscribe to newspapers are more likely than Republican subscribers to say their newspaper is reliable and to believe it is a good value.

Paying for News: Why People Subscribe and What it Says about the Future of Journalism

May 2, 2017

The Media Insight Project, a collaboration of the American Press Institute and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, has undertaken what we believe is one of the largest efforts ever to understand who subscribes to news, what motivates them, and how creators of journalism can engage more deeply with consumers so more people will subscribe.This, the first report in that series, is based on in-depth formative interviews with news consumers in three cities and a nationally representative survey, informed by those interviews, of 2,199 American adults conducted between February 16 and March 20, 2017.

Views on the American Election Process and Perceptions of Voter Fraud

September 30, 2016

Many Americans have reservations about the integrity of the voting system in this country. Recent computer hacks at major federal agencies, large corporations, and the Democratic National Committee have generated discussion about possible attempts to interfere with the 2016 election results.  In the latest poll conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, most Americans think there is at least some fraud in elections, and 8 in 10 approve of laws that require voters to show photo identification, legislation with a stated aim of preventing such voter fraud. Those who say election fraud takes place are particularly likely to favor such laws. Along with these misgivings, only about 4 in 10 Americans have a high degree of confidence that the votes in the 2016 presidential election will be counted correctly. However, most people think new technology introduced in the wake of the controversial 2000 presidential election has made vote counts more accurate.  The nationwide poll of 1,022 adults was part of the AmeriSpeak® Omnibus, a monthly multi-client survey using NORC at the University of Chicago's probability-based panel. Interviews were conducted between September 15 and 18, 2016, online and using landlines and cell phones.

Americans Want an Issues-based Campaign, but Don't Always Agree on Which Issues Matter Most

September 23, 2016

As the 2016 presidential campaign heads into the final stretch, Americans remain just as frustrated and angry about the election as in May when the primaries were drawing to a close. In the latest national poll conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, the public says their issues and concerns are not being addressed by the campaigns, and there is too much focus on personal aspects of the candidates and not enough on their qualifications.The issues that matter most to the public overall are health care, Social Security, education, and terrorism, although Republicans care more about terrorism while Democrats are more concerned with health care.Regardless of party affiliation, Americans consider the economy and education to be of great importance to them personally. But partisan divisions are found in the level of importance assigned to many other issues asked about in the survey.For example, three-quarters of Democrats say the environment and climate change are extremely or very important to them personally. Only about 4 in 10 Republicans agree. And on the other side of the aisle, more than 8 in 10 Republicans consider the national debt to be extremely or very important, along with just 6 in 10 Democrats.While disappointed in the focus of the 2016 election, this campaign is drawing the public's attention. Two-thirds of Americans say the election interests them in general, and 6 in 10 have paid a good deal of attention to the campaign so far. In comparison, four years ago, less than half of voters surveyed by The New York Times and CBS News said they were paying a lot of attention to the presidential campaign between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. But interest was at similar levels in September during Obama's first presidential campaign against John McCain. At the time, a New York Times/CBS News poll found 63 percent said they were paying a lot of attention to the campaign.The nationwide poll of 1,022 adults was part of the AmeriSpeak® Omnibus, a monthly multi-client survey using NORC at the University of Chicago's probability-based panel. Interviews were conducted between September 15 and 18, 2016, online and using landlines and cell phones.Three Things You Should Know about The AP-NORC Poll on important issues to Americans: Among All American Adults...Most Americans say the presidential campaign is focusing too much on the candidates' personal characteristics and not enough on their qualifications or the issues that matter most.The issues that matter most to the public overall are health care, Social Security, education, and terrorism, although partisan differences exist in the levels of importance.While most Americans are disappointed in the focus of the campaign, they are interested and paying attention to news about the 2016 presidential election.

Americans Evaluate the Balance between Security and Civil Liberties

December 21, 2015

In the aftermath of recent high-profile attacks on Western targets by Islamic extremists, fear of terrorism has grown while the public remains divided on whether the struggle against terrorism is worth the loss of some rights. In the latest Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll, 54 percent of Americans say it can be necessary for the government to sacrifice freedoms to fight terrorism; 45 percent disagree. About half of Americans think it is acceptable to allow warrantless government analysis of internet activities and communications—even of American citizens—in order to keep an eye out for suspicious activity. About 3 in 10 are against this type of government investigation. Following the attacks in Paris and California, the level of concern about being personally affected by terrorism is relatively high compared to prior polls. Twenty percent of Americans have a great deal of concern that they or a family member could be a victim of a terrorist attack, up from 10 percent in an AP-NORC telephone poll taken in 2013. The public is just as uneasy about attacks by Islamic extremists as they are about home-grown terrorism. In recent months, there have been calls by some politicians to monitor mosques and bar Syrians and other Muslims from entering the United States. While a large majority of Americans agree that freedom of religion is important, some people do differentiate among groups. Eight in 10 say it is important that Christians freely practice their religion; about 6 in 10 say the same about Muslims. The nationwide poll was conducted December 10-13, 2015, using the AmeriSpeak Panel, the probability-based panel of NORC at the University of Chicago. Online and telephone interviews using landlines and cell phones were conducted with 1,042 adults.

Americans' Views on Money in Politics

December 7, 2015

Most Americans say campaign contributions directly influence politicians, yet there is little encouragement from the public to change the current system. The latest Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll finds tepid backing for limits on campaign fund raising and spending, and strong attitudes against using the tax payers' money to fund campaigns.

Law Enforcement and Violence: The Divide Between Black and White Americans

August 1, 2015

This document summarizes the findings of the AP-NORC Center's survey regarding race and policing. Some of the key findings include:  1) Black Americans are nearly four times as likely as whites to describe violence against civilians by police officers as an extremely or very serious problem.2) More than 80 percent of blacks say police are too quick to use deadly force and they are more likely to use it against a black person. Two-thirds of whites label police use of deadly force as necessary and 58 percent say race is not a factor in decisions to use force.3) There is support among both blacks and whites for many changes in policies and procedures that could be effective in reducing tensions between law enforcement and minorities and limiting police violence against civilians. For example, 71 percent say body cameras on police would be an effective deterrent to violence against civilians and 52 percent think community policing programs would help reduce tensions in minority communities.

Crime And Law Enforcement In America: Racial And Ethnic Differences In Attitudes Toward The Criminal Justice System

April 1, 2015

An analysis of the 2014 General Social Survey (GSS) reveals a complex relationship between the American public and the criminal justice system. Over the past 20 years, there has been a gradual decline in the percentage of Americans who believe there are instances in which police use of force against citizens is justified. However, when asked about specific law and order scenarios, the trend is less clear, with acceptance for the use of force increasing in some cases and decreasing in others. Other attitudes, such as support for capital punishment, have remained relatively stable in recent years. Even controlling for other demographic, socioeconomic, and political factors—like age, gender, income, education, and political party—the data show vast differences between the attitudes of whites and blacks when it comes to how the police and the courts should interact with citizens, as well as spending on law enforcement. 

Parents' Attitudes on the Quality of Education in the United States

August 13, 2013

Between America's long-standing national objective of improving the strength of the public school system to prepare students for college and careers and the focus of the Obama administration on education as a pathway to economic security for the middle class and improving the economy, education issues and policy are in the spotlight. A central focus of the policy discussion is the measurement of quality and the utilization of quality data to improve student outcomes. This quality-focused policy agenda covers a range of high-profile issues, from standardized testing to teacher evaluation to early childhood education, and involves a range of stakeholders. While regular survey research is conducted with a variety of stakeholders, including teachers, very few nationally representative surveys of parents have been conducted recently. Often cited as a key determinant of student outcomes, parents represent an important perspective that policymakers need to understand in the design, articulation, and implementation of quality-focused education initiatives. This study provides a comprehensive description of parents' perspectives on education in America today, with a specific focus on understanding what quality education and teaching means to parents and how it should be measured and rewarded. With funding from the Joyce Foundation, the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research conducted a national survey of 1,025 parents or guardians of children who completed a grade between kindergarten and 12th during the 2012-2013 school year.