Category Archives: Sociology

Charts of the day: Support for DAPL steadily falls


Two charts from a new report from the Pew Research Center reveal that public support for the Dakota Access Pipeline has fallen steadily and where the divisions lie.

First, a look at how support has fallen over time:

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And, second, a closer look at where the dividing lines are drawn, with supporters drawn heavily from the ranks of old, white, Republican men:

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More form the report:

Americans are divided over whether to build the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines – issues that returned to the forefront after President Donald Trump signed executive orders to move forward on their construction.

The Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines have become touchstones in the debate over energy and the environment. While parts of the larger Keystone pipeline have already been completed, the Dakota Access pipeline is in earlier stages of development.

About four-in-ten (42%) favor building the Keystone XL pipeline, while 48% are opposed, according to a national Pew Research Center survey conducted Feb. 7-12, 2017, among 1,503 U.S. adults. The pipeline, which would carry oil from Canada’s oil sands region through the Midwest to refineries on the Gulf Coast, had been blocked by the Obama administration over environmental concerns.

Support for Keystone XL has fallen since 2014, largely because of a sharp decline among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents. The share of the overall public favoring the pipeline has fallen 17 percentage points since 2014 (from 59% to 42%). Just 17% of Democrats favor building the pipeline, less than half the share that did so three years ago (44%).

Chart of the day: Generational media divides


For someone involved in journalism for half a century, the latest findings on American media habits prove especially disturbing.

From the Pew Research Center [click on the image to enlarge]:

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What’s particularly worrisome is that local newspapers are the conduits to give national and international news a local focus.

Throughout much of our time working for community papers, we would look at national developments and show how they impacted local individuals, organizations, and governments.

National level papers, by definition, deal largely in abstractions,  descrying broad patterns that point to trends, while local papers deal with particulars, revealing how those generalizations would impact folks you know.

The death of the nation’s community, either through closure, merger, or takeover by corporations interested more in profit that in furthering the goals of democracy, has severed much of journalism from its roots and left us with a population more susceptible to manipulations by politicians skilled in manipulating emotion to accomplish the ends of their financial sponsors.

Map of the day: Where the world’s poorest live


From DevelopmentEducation.ie, the five countries housing the largest share of the 1.2 billion of our brothers and sisters living in extreme poverty:

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Note: We darkened the map considerably because the type for China was a yellow so pale as to be illegible. And why is it that graphics designers have switched from primary colors to pale pastels? We’ve had to darken an increasing number of charts, graphs, and maps because of a typographical madness sacrificing legibility for fashion.

Chart of the day: World’s most congested cities


From the traffic analysis firm INRIX, confirmation that traffic in esnl‘s new ‘burb really is the world’s worst, with the average driver spending two-and-a-half work weeks mired in jams and slowdowns [click on the image to enlarge]:

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Charts of the day: Trump’s record-low ratings


Two new surveys reveal that Donald Trump has become the most disliked White House occupant in at least the last seven decades.

First, from Gallup, a look at the ratings of past presidents at the end of their first month in office:

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From the report:

President Donald Trump’s 40% job approval rating about one month into his presidency is 21 percentage points below the historical average rating for elected presidents in mid-February (61%). It is also 11 points below the lowest mid-February reading for any other president.

Bill Clinton held the previous low for a president near the end of his first month in office, at 51%. Ronald Reagan was the only other president with ratings at this point in his tenure below 60%. John F. Kennedy and Jimmy Carter enjoyed approval ratings above 70% at similar points in their presidencies.

Trump’s initial job approval rating was 45%, making him the first president to begin his term with less-than-majority approval. Since then, his approval has fallen by five percentage points.

Our second chart, from a new report from the Pew Research Center, breaks down just who likes Trump [older white male Republicans lead the list in case you didn’t guess already]:

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From the report:

In addition to a wide majority of the public being able to rate Trump’s early job performance, most say they approve or disapprove of him strongly. Overall, 46% say they disapprove of Trump strongly, while another 9% say they disapprove but not strongly.

And by about three-to-one, more of those who approve of his performance say they feel this way strongly (29% of total public) than not strongly (8% of total public).

Intense disapproval of Trump is a majority view among several demographic groups. Most blacks (63%), Hispanics (56%), postgraduates (61%), college graduates (54%), women (54%) and young adults ages 18-29 (55%) say they strongly disapprove of Trump’s job performance.

Trump’s ratings are less negative among whites (49% approve, 46% disapprove), men (45% approve, 48% disapprove) and those ages 65 and older (48% approve, 47% disapprove). Nonetheless, strong approval is no higher than strong disapproval among all of these groups. Whites without a college degree are one major demographic group for which most approve of Trump’s job performance (56%) and strong approval outweighs strong disapproval (46% vs. 32%).

Chart of the day: Religious feelings and U.S. politics


How favorably Americans rate different religious varies both across partisan lines and with in each party, with the greatest disparity being seen over the last three years in how favorably Democrats and Republicans see Evangelical Christians:

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More from the report:

On the heels of a contentious election year in which partisan politics increasingly divided Americans, a new Pew Research Center survey finds that when it comes to religion, Americans generally express more positive feelings toward various religious groups today than they did just a few years ago. Asked to rate a variety of groups on a “feeling thermometer” ranging from 0 to 100, U.S. adults give nearly all groups warmer ratings than they did in a June 2014 Pew Research Center survey.

While Americans still feel coolest toward Muslims and atheists, mean ratings for these two groups increased from a somewhat chilly 40 and 41 degrees, respectively, to more neutral ratings of 48 and 50. Jews and Catholics continue to be among the groups that receive the warmest ratings – even warmer than in 2014.

Evangelical Christians, rated relatively warmly at 61 degrees, are the only group for which the mean rating did not change since the question was last asked in 2014. Americans’ feelings toward Mormons and Hindus have shifted from relatively neutral places on the thermometer to somewhat warmer ratings of 54 and 58, respectively. Ratings of Buddhists rose from 53 to 60. And mainline Protestants, whom respondents were not asked to rate in 2014, receive a warm rating of 65 in the new survey.

The increase in mean ratings is broad based. Warmer feelings are expressed by people in all the major religious groups analyzed, as well as by both Democrats and Republicans, men and women, and younger and older adults.

Chart of the day: Europeans say no more Muslims


Or, more precisely, no more immigrants from countries where Muslims are in the majority.

The sad news in graphic form from a new report from Britain’s Royal Institute of International Affairs, better known as Chatham House:

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From the report:

[W]here do the public in European countries stand on the specific issue of Muslim immigration? There is evidence to suggest that both Trump and these radical right-wing parties reflect an underlying reservoir of public support.

Drawing on a unique, new Chatham House survey of more than 10,000 people from 10 European states, we can throw new light on what people think about migration from mainly Muslim countries. Our results are striking and sobering. They suggest that public opposition to any further migration from predominantly Muslim states is by no means confined to Trump’s electorate in the US but is fairly widespread.

In our survey, carried out before President Trump’s executive order was announced, respondents were given the following statement: ‘All further migration from mainly Muslim countries should be stopped’. They were then asked to what extent did they agree or disagree with this statement. Overall, across all 10 of the European countries an average of 55% agreed that all further migration from mainly Muslim countries should be stopped, 25% neither agreed nor disagreed and 20% disagreed.

Majorities in all but two of the ten states agreed, ranging from 71% in Poland, 65% in Austria, 53% in Germany and 51% in Italy to 47% in the United Kingdom and 41% in Spain. In no country did the percentage that disagreed surpass 32%.