Birth control pills

Public Attitudes about Birth Control

Fifty years ago, just five years after the FDA approved the first birth control pill, the Supreme Court struck down a Connecticut state law that prohibited the use of "any drug, medicinal article, or instrument for the purpose of preventing conception,” thereby making birth control legal nationwide for married couples. Public opinion was on the Court’s side in Griswold v. Connecticut, but public controversies over contraceptives have continued to this day. A history of public opinion about birth control, from the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research Archive: From popular movement to legality The first public opinion question about birth
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Confederate flag flying over the capital building in South Carolina

Public Opinion on the Confederate Flag and the Civil War

The Confederate flag is gone from the South Carolina statehouse. But public opinion on the meaning of the symbols of the Confederacy remains divided along racial and regional lines, part of a larger disagreement over the significance of the Civil War revealed in multiple polls over the last quarter-century. From the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research archives: A divisive symbol A 1991 poll of Southerners was the first to ask what the Confederate flag symbolized to the public. The vast majority of whites thought that the flag was a symbol of Southern pride, while a majority of blacks thought
President Lyndon Johnson signs the 1965 US Immigration Act

Huddled Masses: Public Opinion & the 1965 U.S. Immigration Act

The landmark U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, which shifted the criteria for admission of immigrants from a system of country quotas to the prioritization of family reunification and occupational skills, is now fifty years old. Public opinion polls from before, during, and after the 1965 debate reveal ongoing concerns about how the country chooses which immigrants become Americans and how different immigrant groups affect the nation. From the Roper Center for Public Opinion research archives: Attitudes about Immigration before 1965 Questions about concerns regarding the ethnic makeup of immigrants to the United States were asked from the very
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July 4th fireworks display

Yankee Doodle Polling: Public Opinion on Patriotism

This holiday weekend the American passion for patriotic display will reach its annual apex with fireworks, flags and "God Bless America." Public opinion polls confirm what foreign observers have often noted: Americans are a very patriotic people. But what does patriotism mean to the U.S. public, and how tightly is the ideal bound to its symbols? A review of public opinion on patriotism, from the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research archive: The resurgence of national pride that I called the new patriotism - Ronald Reagan Notably few questions were asked about patriotism in the early years of polling. The
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The United Nations

Seventy Years of U.S. Public Opinion on the United Nations

On June 26, 1945, delegates from fifty nations gathered in the auditorium of Veterans Memorial Hall in San Francisco to sign the new United Nations charter. The war-weary American people watched the development of this new international organization with significant hope and a touch of skepticism. Over the seven decades since the signing of the charter, how have the American people seen the U.N.? From the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research Archives: A Union of Nations: 1940s -1970 By the middle of WWII a majority of Americans approved of the U.S. joining a union of nations designed to protect
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Paradise Polled: Americans and the Afterlife

Since the genesis of modern polling, the American public has been asked about not only their opinions on the political and social issues of the day, but their beliefs about the biggest questions humanity faces. What are the most important things in life? What makes us happy? And that most unanswerable of questions: what happens after we die? A history of polling on the afterlife, from the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research archive: And death shall have no dominion Americans’ belief in an afterlife is very stable across the decades, showing little variability since 1944. It is perhaps not
Automation for the People

Automation for the People: The Public, Technology and Jobs

A 2012 research brief by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee at MIT renewed an old debate over the effect of new technologies on employment levels. They argued that, counter to the prevailing belief that new technologies and automation simply shift jobs into new sectors after a period of disruption, instead rapid improvements in technology over the past decades have left some workers completely behind, a trend that will continue to accelerate as computers capabilities expand. How does the public see "technological threats" to employment, and have their views changed since the days when robots first began replacing line workers in
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Digital literacy

Digital Literacy and Utilization: A Polling Data Overview

What can polling tell us about Americans' relationship with digital technology? (more…)
Many employees work while on vacation

In the Good Old Summertime—or Overtime?

As the summer begins, Americans plan to enjoy their summer vacations, a time for swimming, sunning, relaxing and - checking work emails?  What polling tells us about vacation in America (more…)
The middle class

The Meaning of Middle Class

On the campaign trail, Hillary Clinton has said, “We need to make the middle class mean something again.”  What does being middle class mean to Americans, and has the meaning changed? (more…)