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…)
First Ladies

Then and Now: First Ladies

There are few roles in American politics that are as visible and yet as nebulous as that of First Lady. Attempts to define and measure that role go back to the dawn of modern polling, with Gallup finding in December 1938 that two of every three Americans approved of “the way Mrs. Roosevelt has conducted herself as 'First Lady'.” Eleanor Roosevelt’s extremely active role in policy and publicity was a first for the President’s spouse, of course [or at least since Dolly Madison, but accurate polling data on her is not easily obtainable]. Her primary efforts were in the area
Nuclear power plant

Energy Solution or Accident Waiting to Happen? The Public and Nuclear Power

The meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi revitalized the public debate over the value and safety of nuclear energy. Do Americans see a nuclear plant as a devastating accident waiting to happen – or the solution to climate change? (more…)
Public attitudes about Mental Health

Public Attitudes about Mental Health

Mental health care in the U.S. underwent significant changes over the past decade. New regulations mandated increases in mental health coverage, while state budget cuts for mental health services have resulted in the largest total cuts to such spending since the 1970s. But what does the public think? (more…)