jueves, 17 de octubre de 2019

In U.S., Decline of Christianity Continues at Rapid Pace


An update on America's changing religious landscape



The religious landscape of the United States continues to change at a rapid clip. In Pew Research Center telephone surveys conducted in 2018 and 2019, 65% of American adults describe themselves as Christians when asked about their religion, down 12 percentage points over the past decade. Meanwhile, the religiously unaffiliated share of the population, consisting of people who describe their religious identity as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular,” now stands at 26%, up from 17% in 2009.

Both Protestantism and Catholicism are experiencing losses of population share. Currently, 43% of U.S. adults identify with Protestantism, down from 51% in 2009. And one-in-five adults (20%) are Catholic, down from 23% in 2009. Meanwhile, all subsets of the religiously unaffiliated population – a group also known as religious “nones” – have seen their numbers swell. Self-described atheists now account for 4% of U.S. adults, up modestly but significantly from 2% in 2009; agnostics make up 5% of U.S. adults, up from 3% a decade ago; and 17% of Americans now describe their religion as “nothing in particular,” up from 12% in 2009. Members of non-Christian religions also have grown modestly as a share of the adult population.



These are among the key findings of a new analysis of trends in the religious composition and churchgoing habits of the American public, based on recent Pew Research Center random-digit-dial (RDD) political polling on the telephone.1 The data shows that the trend toward religious disaffiliation documented in the Center’s 2007 and 2014 Religious Landscape Studies, and before that in major national studies like the General Social Survey (GSS), has continued apace.

Pew Research Center’s 2007 and 2014 Religious Landscape Studies were huge national RDD surveys, each of which included interviews with more than 35,000 respondents who were asked dozens of detailed questions about their religious identities, beliefs and practices. The Center has not yet conducted a third such study, and when the Landscape Study is repeated, it is likely to use new methods that may prevent it from being directly comparable to the previous studies; growing challenges to conducting national surveys by telephone have led the Center to rely increasingly on self-administered surveys conducted online.2

But while no new Religious Landscape Study is available or in the immediate offing, the Center has collected five additional years of data (since the 2014 Landscape Study) from RDD political polls (see detailed tables). The samples from these political polls are not as large as the Landscape Studies (even when all of the political polls conducted in a year are combined), but together, 88 surveys from 2009 to 2019 included interviews with 168,890 Americans.

These surveys do not include nearly as many questions about religion as the Landscape Studies do. However, as part of the demographic battery of questions that ask respondents about their age, race, educational attainment and other background characteristics, each of these political polls also include one basic question about religious identity – “What is your present religion, if any? Are you Protestant, Roman Catholic, Mormon, Orthodox such as Greek or Russian Orthodox, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, atheist, agnostic, something else, or nothing in particular?”

Additionally, most of these political polls include a question about religious attendance – “Aside from weddings and funerals, how often do you attend religious services? More than once a week, once a week, once or twice a month, a few times a year, seldom, or never?” Taken together, these two questions (one about religious identity, the other about religious attendance) can help shed light on religious trends in the U.S.

The data shows that just like rates of religious affiliation, rates of religious attendance are declining.3 Over the last decade, the share of Americans who say they attend religious services at least once or twice a month dropped by 7 percentage points, while the share who say they attend religious services less often (if at all) has risen by the same degree. In 2009, regular worship attenders (those who attend religious services at least once or twice a month) outnumbered those who attend services only occasionally or not at all by a 52%-to-47% margin. Today those figures are reversed; more Americans now say they attend religious services a few times a year or less (54%) than say they attend at least monthly (45%).

The changes underway in the American religious landscape are broad-based. The Christian share of the population is down and religious “nones” have grown across multiple demographic groups: white people, black people and Hispanics; men and women; in all regions of the country; and among college graduates and those with lower levels of educational attainment. Religious “nones” are growing faster among Democrats than Republicans, though their ranks are swelling in both partisan coalitions. And although the religiously unaffiliated are on the rise among younger people and most groups of older adults, their growth is most pronounced among young adults.

Furthermore, the data shows a wide gap between older Americans (Baby Boomers and members of the Silent Generation) and Millennials in their levels of religious affiliation and attendance. More than eight-in-ten members of the Silent Generation (those born between 1928 and 1945) describe themselves as Christians (84%), as do three-quarters of Baby Boomers (76%). In stark contrast, only half of Millennials (49%) describe themselves as Christians; four-in-ten are religious “nones,” and one-in-ten Millennials identify with non-Christian faiths.

Only about one-in-three Millennials say they attend religious services at least once or twice a month. Roughly two-thirds of Millennials (64%) attend worship services a few times a year or less often, including about four-in-ten who say they seldom or never go. Indeed, there are as many Millennials who say they “never” attend religious services (22%) as there are who say they go at least once a week (22%).



While the trends are clear – the U.S. is steadily becoming less Christian and less religiously observant as the share of adults who are not religious grows – self-described Christians report that they attend religious services at about the same rate today as in 2009. Today, 62% of Christians say they attend religious services at least once or twice a month, which is identical to the share who said the same in 2009. In other words, the nation’s overall rate of religious attendance is declining not because Christians are attending church less often, but rather because there are now fewer Christians as a share of the population.

Other key takeaways from the new analysis include:
The data suggests that Christians are declining not just as a share of the U.S. adult population, but also in absolute numbers. In 2009, there were approximately 233 million adults in the U.S., according to the Census Bureau. Pew Research Center’s RDD surveys conducted at the time indicated that 77% of them were Christian, which means that by this measure, there were approximately 178 million Christian adults in the U.S. in 2009. Taking the margin of error of the surveys into account, the number of adult Christians in the U.S. as of 2009 could have been as low as 176 million or as high as 181 million.

Today, there are roughly 23 million more adults in the U.S. than there were in 2009 (256 million as of July 1, 2019, according to the Census Bureau). About two-thirds of them (65%) identify as Christians, according to 2018 and 2019 Pew Research Center RDD estimates. This means that there are now roughly 167 million Christian adults in the U.S. (with a lower bound of 164 million and an upper bound of 169 million, given the survey’s margin of error).

Meanwhile, the number of religiously unaffiliated adults in the U.S. grew by almost 30 million over this period.
The share of Americans who describe themselves as Mormons has held steady at 2% over the past decade.4 Meanwhile, the share of U.S. adults who identify with non-Christian faiths has ticked up slightly, from 5% in 2009 to 7% today. This includes a steady 2% of Americans who are Jewish, along with 1% who are Muslim, 1% who are Buddhist, 1% who are Hindu, and 3% who identify with other faiths (including, for example, people who say they abide by their own personal religious beliefs and people who describe themselves as “spiritual”)5
The rising share of Americans who say they attend religious services no more than a few times a year (if at all) has been driven by a substantial jump in the proportion who say they “never” go to church. Today, 17% of Americans say they never attend religious services, up from 11% a decade ago. Similarly, the decline in regular churchgoing is attributable mainly to the shrinking share of Americans who say they attend religious services at least once a week, which was 37% in 2009 and now stands at 31%.
The trends documented in Pew Research Center surveys closely resemble those found in the long-running General Social Survey (GSS), a project of the independent research organization NORC at the University of Chicago, with principal funding from the National Science Foundation. In GSS surveys conducted in the early 2000s (2000 to 2004), 80% of U.S. adults identified as Christians, including 54% who described themselves as Protestants and 25% who were Catholic. By the late 2010s, 71% of GSS respondents described themselves as Christians (48% Protestant, 23% Catholic). Over the same period, the GSS found that religious “nones” grew from 14% of the U.S. adult population to 22%.

The point estimates from the GSS and Pew Research Center surveys (that is, the share of adults who identify as Protestant or Catholic or as religious “nones”) are not directly comparable; the two studies ask different questions and employ different modes of survey administration. But the fact that the direction of the trend is similar in both studies strongly suggests that both are picking up on real and significant change underway in the U.S. religious landscape.
Similarly, the GSS finds that a declining share of U.S. adults say they attend religious services regularly. In the most recent GSS studies, 43% of respondents say they attend religious services at least monthly, down from 47% in the early 2000s and 50% in the early 1990s. Meanwhile, the share of U.S. adults who say they “never” attend religious services now stands at 27%, up from 18% in the early 2000s and roughly double the share who said this in the early 1990s (14%).
Catholics no longer constitute a majority of the U.S. Hispanic population. In Pew Research Center RDD surveys conducted in 2018 and 2019, 47% of Hispanics describe themselves as Catholic, down from 57% a decade ago. Meanwhile, the share of Hispanics who say they are religiously unaffiliated is now 23%, up from 15% in 2009.

These findings about the religious composition of Hispanics closely resemble those from Pew Research Center’s National Surveys of Latinos (NSL) – a nationally representative survey of U.S. Latino adults fielded almost every year. (See the detailed tables for complete trends in the religious composition of Hispanics based on both Pew Research Center political surveys and the NSL.)
Among white adults, the share of people who say they attend religious services a few times a year or less now exceeds the share who attend monthly or more (57% vs. 42%); a decade ago, the white population was evenly divided between those who went to church at least monthly and those who did not. Regular churchgoers still outnumber those who infrequently or never go to religious services among black Americans (58% vs. 41%), though the share of people who say they attend religious services a few times a year or less often has risen over the last decade among black Americans, just as it has among the population as a whole. U.S. Hispanics are now about evenly divided between those who say they attend religious services at least once or twice a month (51%) and those who say they attend a few times a year or less (49%).
There is still a gender gap in American religion. Women are less likely than men to describe themselves as religious “nones” (23% vs. 30%), and more likely than men to say they attend religious services at least once or twice a month (50% vs. 40%). But women, like men, have grown noticeably less religious over the last decade. The share of “nones” among women has risen by 10 percentage points since 2009 – similar to the increase among men. And the share of women who identify as Christian has fallen by 11 points (from 80% to 69%) over that same period.
Christians have declined and “nones” have grown as a share of the adult population in all four major U.S. regions. Catholic losses have been most pronounced in the Northeast, where 36% identified as Catholic in 2009, compared with 27% today. Among Protestants, declines were larger in the South, where Protestants now account for 53% of the adult population, down from 64% in 2009.
Religious “nones” now make up fully one-third of Democrats. And about six-in-ten people who identify with or lean toward the Democratic Party say they attend religious services no more than a few times a year. The ranks of religious “nones” and infrequent churchgoers also are growing within the Republican Party, though they make up smaller shares of Republicans than Democrats.
The religious profile of white Democrats is very different from the religious profile of racial and ethnic minorities within the Democratic Party. Today, fewer than half of white Democrats describe themselves as Christians, and just three-in-ten say they regularly attend religious services. More than four-in-ten white Democrats are religious “nones,” and fully seven-in-ten white Democrats say they attend religious services no more than a few times a year. Black and Hispanic Democrats are far more likely than white Democrats to describe themselves as Christians and to say they attend religious services regularly, though all three groups are becoming less Christian.Although 2009 surveys did not include enough black Republicans to analyze separately, the most recent surveys show smaller religious differences by race and ethnicity among Republicans than Democrats.
Pew Research Center’s telephone political polls do not typically include the detailed questions that are needed to determine whether Protestants identify with denominations in the evangelical, mainline or historically black Protestant tradition. However, the political polls upon which this analysis is based do ask Protestants whether they think of themselves as “born-again or evangelical” Christians. The data shows that both Protestants who describe themselves as born-again or evangelical Christians and Protestants who are not born-again or evangelical have declined as a share of the overall U.S. adult population, reflecting the country’s broader shift away from Christianity as a whole. However, looking only at Americans who identify as Protestants – rather than at the public as a whole – the share of all Protestants who are born-again or evangelical is at least as high today as it was in 2009.
The share of U.S. adults who are white born-again or evangelical Protestants now stands at 16%, down from 19% a decade ago. The shrinking white evangelical share of the population reflects both demographic changes that have occurred in the United States (where white people constitute a declining share of the population) and broader religious changes in American society (where the share of all adults who identify with Christianity has declined). However, looking only at white Protestants – rather than at the public as a whole – the share of white Protestants who describe themselves as born-again or evangelical Christians is at least as high as it was a decade ago.

In U.S., Decline of Christianity Continues at Rapid Pace

An update on America's changing religious landscape



The religious landscape of the United States continues to change at a rapid clip. In Pew Research Center telephone surveys conducted in 2018 and 2019, 65% of American adults describe themselves as Christians when asked about their religion, down 12 percentage points over the past decade. Meanwhile, the religiously unaffiliated share of the population, consisting of people who describe their religious identity as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular,” now stands at 26%, up from 17% in 2009.

Both Protestantism and Catholicism are experiencing losses of population share. Currently, 43% of U.S. adults identify with Protestantism, down from 51% in 2009. And one-in-five adults (20%) are Catholic, down from 23% in 2009. Meanwhile, all subsets of the religiously unaffiliated population – a group also known as religious “nones” – have seen their numbers swell. Self-described atheists now account for 4% of U.S. adults, up modestly but significantly from 2% in 2009; agnostics make up 5% of U.S. adults, up from 3% a decade ago; and 17% of Americans now describe their religion as “nothing in particular,” up from 12% in 2009. Members of non-Christian religions also have grown modestly as a share of the adult population.



These are among the key findings of a new analysis of trends in the religious composition and churchgoing habits of the American public, based on recent Pew Research Center random-digit-dial (RDD) political polling on the telephone.1 The data shows that the trend toward religious disaffiliation documented in the Center’s 2007 and 2014 Religious Landscape Studies, and before that in major national studies like the General Social Survey (GSS), has continued apace.

Pew Research Center’s 2007 and 2014 Religious Landscape Studies were huge national RDD surveys, each of which included interviews with more than 35,000 respondents who were asked dozens of detailed questions about their religious identities, beliefs and practices. The Center has not yet conducted a third such study, and when the Landscape Study is repeated, it is likely to use new methods that may prevent it from being directly comparable to the previous studies; growing challenges to conducting national surveys by telephone have led the Center to rely increasingly on self-administered surveys conducted online.2

But while no new Religious Landscape Study is available or in the immediate offing, the Center has collected five additional years of data (since the 2014 Landscape Study) from RDD political polls (see detailed tables). The samples from these political polls are not as large as the Landscape Studies (even when all of the political polls conducted in a year are combined), but together, 88 surveys from 2009 to 2019 included interviews with 168,890 Americans.

These surveys do not include nearly as many questions about religion as the Landscape Studies do. However, as part of the demographic battery of questions that ask respondents about their age, race, educational attainment and other background characteristics, each of these political polls also include one basic question about religious identity – “What is your present religion, if any? Are you Protestant, Roman Catholic, Mormon, Orthodox such as Greek or Russian Orthodox, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, atheist, agnostic, something else, or nothing in particular?”

Additionally, most of these political polls include a question about religious attendance – “Aside from weddings and funerals, how often do you attend religious services? More than once a week, once a week, once or twice a month, a few times a year, seldom, or never?” Taken together, these two questions (one about religious identity, the other about religious attendance) can help shed light on religious trends in the U.S.

The data shows that just like rates of religious affiliation, rates of religious attendance are declining.3 Over the last decade, the share of Americans who say they attend religious services at least once or twice a month dropped by 7 percentage points, while the share who say they attend religious services less often (if at all) has risen by the same degree. In 2009, regular worship attenders (those who attend religious services at least once or twice a month) outnumbered those who attend services only occasionally or not at all by a 52%-to-47% margin. Today those figures are reversed; more Americans now say they attend religious services a few times a year or less (54%) than say they attend at least monthly (45%).

The changes underway in the American religious landscape are broad-based. The Christian share of the population is down and religious “nones” have grown across multiple demographic groups: white people, black people and Hispanics; men and women; in all regions of the country; and among college graduates and those with lower levels of educational attainment. Religious “nones” are growing faster among Democrats than Republicans, though their ranks are swelling in both partisan coalitions. And although the religiously unaffiliated are on the rise among younger people and most groups of older adults, their growth is most pronounced among young adults.

Furthermore, the data shows a wide gap between older Americans (Baby Boomers and members of the Silent Generation) and Millennials in their levels of religious affiliation and attendance. More than eight-in-ten members of the Silent Generation (those born between 1928 and 1945) describe themselves as Christians (84%), as do three-quarters of Baby Boomers (76%). In stark contrast, only half of Millennials (49%) describe themselves as Christians; four-in-ten are religious “nones,” and one-in-ten Millennials identify with non-Christian faiths.

Only about one-in-three Millennials say they attend religious services at least once or twice a month. Roughly two-thirds of Millennials (64%) attend worship services a few times a year or less often, including about four-in-ten who say they seldom or never go. Indeed, there are as many Millennials who say they “never” attend religious services (22%) as there are who say they go at least once a week (22%).



While the trends are clear – the U.S. is steadily becoming less Christian and less religiously observant as the share of adults who are not religious grows – self-described Christians report that they attend religious services at about the same rate today as in 2009. Today, 62% of Christians say they attend religious services at least once or twice a month, which is identical to the share who said the same in 2009. In other words, the nation’s overall rate of religious attendance is declining not because Christians are attending church less often, but rather because there are now fewer Christians as a share of the population.

Other key takeaways from the new analysis include:
The data suggests that Christians are declining not just as a share of the U.S. adult population, but also in absolute numbers. In 2009, there were approximately 233 million adults in the U.S., according to the Census Bureau. Pew Research Center’s RDD surveys conducted at the time indicated that 77% of them were Christian, which means that by this measure, there were approximately 178 million Christian adults in the U.S. in 2009. Taking the margin of error of the surveys into account, the number of adult Christians in the U.S. as of 2009 could have been as low as 176 million or as high as 181 million.

Today, there are roughly 23 million more adults in the U.S. than there were in 2009 (256 million as of July 1, 2019, according to the Census Bureau). About two-thirds of them (65%) identify as Christians, according to 2018 and 2019 Pew Research Center RDD estimates. This means that there are now roughly 167 million Christian adults in the U.S. (with a lower bound of 164 million and an upper bound of 169 million, given the survey’s margin of error).

Meanwhile, the number of religiously unaffiliated adults in the U.S. grew by almost 30 million over this period.
The share of Americans who describe themselves as Mormons has held steady at 2% over the past decade.4 Meanwhile, the share of U.S. adults who identify with non-Christian faiths has ticked up slightly, from 5% in 2009 to 7% today. This includes a steady 2% of Americans who are Jewish, along with 1% who are Muslim, 1% who are Buddhist, 1% who are Hindu, and 3% who identify with other faiths (including, for example, people who say they abide by their own personal religious beliefs and people who describe themselves as “spiritual”)5
The rising share of Americans who say they attend religious services no more than a few times a year (if at all) has been driven by a substantial jump in the proportion who say they “never” go to church. Today, 17% of Americans say they never attend religious services, up from 11% a decade ago. Similarly, the decline in regular churchgoing is attributable mainly to the shrinking share of Americans who say they attend religious services at least once a week, which was 37% in 2009 and now stands at 31%.
The trends documented in Pew Research Center surveys closely resemble those found in the long-running General Social Survey (GSS), a project of the independent research organization NORC at the University of Chicago, with principal funding from the National Science Foundation. In GSS surveys conducted in the early 2000s (2000 to 2004), 80% of U.S. adults identified as Christians, including 54% who described themselves as Protestants and 25% who were Catholic. By the late 2010s, 71% of GSS respondents described themselves as Christians (48% Protestant, 23% Catholic). Over the same period, the GSS found that religious “nones” grew from 14% of the U.S. adult population to 22%.

The point estimates from the GSS and Pew Research Center surveys (that is, the share of adults who identify as Protestant or Catholic or as religious “nones”) are not directly comparable; the two studies ask different questions and employ different modes of survey administration. But the fact that the direction of the trend is similar in both studies strongly suggests that both are picking up on real and significant change underway in the U.S. religious landscape.
Similarly, the GSS finds that a declining share of U.S. adults say they attend religious services regularly. In the most recent GSS studies, 43% of respondents say they attend religious services at least monthly, down from 47% in the early 2000s and 50% in the early 1990s. Meanwhile, the share of U.S. adults who say they “never” attend religious services now stands at 27%, up from 18% in the early 2000s and roughly double the share who said this in the early 1990s (14%).
Catholics no longer constitute a majority of the U.S. Hispanic population. In Pew Research Center RDD surveys conducted in 2018 and 2019, 47% of Hispanics describe themselves as Catholic, down from 57% a decade ago. Meanwhile, the share of Hispanics who say they are religiously unaffiliated is now 23%, up from 15% in 2009.

These findings about the religious composition of Hispanics closely resemble those from Pew Research Center’s National Surveys of Latinos (NSL) – a nationally representative survey of U.S. Latino adults fielded almost every year. (See the detailed tables for complete trends in the religious composition of Hispanics based on both Pew Research Center political surveys and the NSL.)
Among white adults, the share of people who say they attend religious services a few times a year or less now exceeds the share who attend monthly or more (57% vs. 42%); a decade ago, the white population was evenly divided between those who went to church at least monthly and those who did not. Regular churchgoers still outnumber those who infrequently or never go to religious services among black Americans (58% vs. 41%), though the share of people who say they attend religious services a few times a year or less often has risen over the last decade among black Americans, just as it has among the population as a whole. U.S. Hispanics are now about evenly divided between those who say they attend religious services at least once or twice a month (51%) and those who say they attend a few times a year or less (49%).
There is still a gender gap in American religion. Women are less likely than men to describe themselves as religious “nones” (23% vs. 30%), and more likely than men to say they attend religious services at least once or twice a month (50% vs. 40%). But women, like men, have grown noticeably less religious over the last decade. The share of “nones” among women has risen by 10 percentage points since 2009 – similar to the increase among men. And the share of women who identify as Christian has fallen by 11 points (from 80% to 69%) over that same period.
Christians have declined and “nones” have grown as a share of the adult population in all four major U.S. regions. Catholic losses have been most pronounced in the Northeast, where 36% identified as Catholic in 2009, compared with 27% today. Among Protestants, declines were larger in the South, where Protestants now account for 53% of the adult population, down from 64% in 2009.
Religious “nones” now make up fully one-third of Democrats. And about six-in-ten people who identify with or lean toward the Democratic Party say they attend religious services no more than a few times a year. The ranks of religious “nones” and infrequent churchgoers also are growing within the Republican Party, though they make up smaller shares of Republicans than Democrats.
The religious profile of white Democrats is very different from the religious profile of racial and ethnic minorities within the Democratic Party. Today, fewer than half of white Democrats describe themselves as Christians, and just three-in-ten say they regularly attend religious services. More than four-in-ten white Democrats are religious “nones,” and fully seven-in-ten white Democrats say they attend religious services no more than a few times a year. Black and Hispanic Democrats are far more likely than white Democrats to describe themselves as Christians and to say they attend religious services regularly, though all three groups are becoming less Christian.Although 2009 surveys did not include enough black Republicans to analyze separately, the most recent surveys show smaller religious differences by race and ethnicity among Republicans than Democrats.
Pew Research Center’s telephone political polls do not typically include the detailed questions that are needed to determine whether Protestants identify with denominations in the evangelical, mainline or historically black Protestant tradition. However, the political polls upon which this analysis is based do ask Protestants whether they think of themselves as “born-again or evangelical” Christians. The data shows that both Protestants who describe themselves as born-again or evangelical Christians and Protestants who are not born-again or evangelical have declined as a share of the overall U.S. adult population, reflecting the country’s broader shift away from Christianity as a whole. However, looking only at Americans who identify as Protestants – rather than at the public as a whole – the share of all Protestants who are born-again or evangelical is at least as high today as it was in 2009.
The share of U.S. adults who are white born-again or evangelical Protestants now stands at 16%, down from 19% a decade ago. The shrinking white evangelical share of the population reflects both demographic changes that have occurred in the United States (where white people constitute a declining share of the population) and broader religious changes in American society (where the share of all adults who identify with Christianity has declined). However, looking only at white Protestants – rather than at the public as a whole – the share of white Protestants who describe themselves as born-again or evangelical Christians is at least as high as it was a decade ago.

lunes, 7 de octubre de 2019

In Their Own Words: Behind Americans’ Views of ‘Socialism’ and ‘Capitalism’


Socialism’s critics say it weakens work ethic; those with positive views say it fosters equality

For many Americans, “socialism” is a word that evokes a weakened work ethic, stifled innovation and excessive reliance on the government. For others, it represents a fairer, more generous society.

Critics of socialism point to Venezuela as an example of a country where it has failed. People with positive views of socialism cite different countries, such as Finland and Denmark, as places where it has succeeded.

Earlier this year, Pew Research Center found that 55% of Americans had a negative impression of “socialism,” while 42% expressed a positive view. About two-thirds (65%) said they had a positive view of “capitalism,” and a third viewed it negatively.

But what’s behind these opinions? To find out, we asked people to describe – in their own words – why they had positive or negative impressions of socialism and capitalism.

Some who view socialism negatively portray it as a serious threat to capitalism in the U.S., while others who view it positively say the opposite – that it builds upon and improves capitalism. And some who have a positive view of socialism express an explicit preference for a system that blends socialism and capitalism.

The survey found that Republicans, in particular, viewed socialism and capitalism in zero-sum terms. A large majority of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (68%) had both a positive impression of capitalism and a negative view of socialism. However, Democrats and Democratic leaners were more likely to view both terms positively; a plurality (38%) had a positive impression of both socialism and capitalism.

While many of the open-ended impressions are revealing, a sizable share of people either did not share their views or articulated their reasons in simple terms, stating that socialism or capitalism is “good” or “bad,” or that one is better than the other. A quarter of those with a negative opinion of socialism – and 31% with a positive view – declined to offer a reason for their opinion.

But others mentioned history, the experiences of other nations, personal experiences or their own understandings of the terms in explaining the reasons behind their opinions of socialism and capitalism.
Socialism’s critics say it weakens work ethic; some point to Venezuela

Among the majority of Americans who have a negative impression of socialism, no single reason stands out. About one-in-five (19%) say that socialism undercuts people’s initiative and work ethic, making people too reliant on the government for support. As a 53-year-old man put it: “I believe in individual freedoms and choice. Socialism kills incentives for people to innovate and climb the ladder of success.”

About as many critics of socialism (18%) refer to how socialism has failed historically or in other countries, such as Venezuela or Russia. A comparable share of those with negative impressions of socialism (17%) say it is not consistent with democracy in the United States or is simply not right for the U.S.
Many with positive views of socialism say it fosters equality

About four-in-ten Americans (42%) have positive views of socialism. Among this group, the most frequently cited reason is that it will result in fairer, more generous society (31% say this). This includes 10% who specifically express a belief that it is important for the government to take care of its citizens or for fellow citizens to care for each other.

A smaller share of Americans who have a positive view of socialism say it would build upon and improve capitalism (20%). Some in this group say the U.S. already has socialism, in the form of government programs. Others specifically say they prefer a blend of socialism and capitalism. “A blend can ensure a thriving productive society for all,” said a 42-year-old woman.

Just 2% of those who have a positive view of socialism explicitly mention the phrase “democratic socialism” as the reason.

While some who express a negative view of socialism link it with countries like Venezuela, some of those with a positive view point to different countries – such as Denmark or Finland – as models. Among those with a positive impression, 6% say it has been a historical or comparative success, with most of these people citing how it has worked in European countries.
‘Capitalism’ viewed positively by about two-thirds of Americans

Among the 65% with a positive view of capitalism, many give reasons that contrast with criticisms of socialism. For example, while many who hold a negative view of socialism say it undermines initiative and makes people too dependent on government, nearly a quarter of those with a positive view of capitalism say it promotes individual opportunity (24% say this).

And while those with a positive view of socialism say it could bring increased equality, a common theme among critics of capitalism is that it has led to unequal distribution of wealth in this country.

Nearly a quarter of Americans who have a positive view of capitalism (24%) say they hold their views because the system provides opportunity for individual financial growth. A similar share (22%) expresses general positivity towards capitalism, saying that the system works.

One-in-five adults with positive views of capitalism associate the system with the foundation of America: They mention that capitalism has advanced America’s economic strength, that America was established under the idea of capitalism, or that capitalism is essential to maintaining freedom in the country.

Another 14% say that although they view capitalism positively overall, the system is not perfect. This includes 5% who say capitalism has caused economic inequality and corruption and 4% who express a desire to see more regulation or a mixed system with socialism.

“Capitalism is the worst way to set up a society, except for all the other ways,” said a 44-year-old man. “Free markets allow for more innovative solutions and for more people to succeed.”

When those who hold negative views of capitalism are asked why they hold this view, about a quarter (23%) say that capitalism creates an unfair economic structure, mentioning that the system only benefits a small number of people or that wealth in this country is distributed poorly.

A similar share (20%) says that capitalism has an exploitative and corrupt nature, often hurting either people or the environment.

A smaller share of Americans who have negative views of capitalism (8%) mention that corporations and wealthy people undermine the democratic process by having too much power in political matters. And 4% of those with a negative view say that capitalism can work, but to do so it needs better oversight and regulation.

sábado, 5 de octubre de 2019

Can Canada Ward Off a far-right waves Surge?



So far, it’s been immune to the far-right waves that swept Europe and America. Maxime Bernier is trying to change that.

 On a hot day in early September, Maxime Bernier stood in line at a Booster Juice waiting for a smoothie. Bernier, who is 56 years old, looks tall in person. He has graying brown hair that flops to the right across his forehead, in an aging prep-school kind of way. In the student union building, at Ontario’s Western University, he didn’t look out of place. He might have been a business professor. He might have been someone’s dad. He didn’t, in other words, look much like what he is: Canada’s patient zero for the kind of right-wing populism—shouty, nativist and outside the mainstream—that has remade politics all over the Western world.

Bernier was on campus that day drumming up support for his upstart populist movement, the People’s Party of Canada, ahead of Canada’s federal election, scheduled for October 21. Bernier, the party’s founder, leader and only member of Parliament, was a senior Cabinet minister in Stephen Harper’s Conservative government in the 2000s. He came within a hair of leading that party in 2017, before breaking away last year following months of public friction with the party brass over a very Canadian mix of issues, including dairy quotas and multiculturalism.

Since founding the People’s Party, Bernier has been denounced as xenophobic, racist, egomaniacal and doomed. His chief strategist has deliberately positioned him in line with the anti-immigrant and climate-skeptic European new right. At an event over the summer, Bernier vowed to “build a fence” on Canada’s southern border to keep out migrants. Unlike every other federal leader, he downplayed recently revealed photos and videos of Justin Trudeau in black- and brownface, calling the Canadian prime minister a hypocrite but not a racist. Online, Bernier has crafted a Twitter voice that apes, in two languages, the scream-’till-someone-pays-attention style of early Donald Trump. A week before the Western University event, he had launched a Twitter attack on the teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg, calling her, among other things, “mentally unstable.”

But in person, Bernier is much less incendiary. In the sunny quad, he fidgeted as students streamed past, mostly ignoring him and his tiny crew. A young woman wearing a hijab approached with a pamphlet. Bernier’s team visibly tensed. Within seconds, it was clear the woman had little idea Bernier was anyone other than a generic politician. She asked him about higher education grants. He answered with something about federal jurisdiction. They spoke for a few seconds, and then she walked away. Bernier’s team relaxed. “Where are our juices?” one of them asked.

For years, as anti-establishment and anti-outsider politicians have grown in prominence across Europe and in the United States, Canada has been held up as the Great Exception—the one country that’s immune, somehow, to that populist wave. Trudeau, young and progressive, was elected prime minister three months before Trump won the New Hampshire primary. Unblemished at the time by scandal or compromise, Trudeau seemed to stand for everything Trump did not. He played into a sense, around the world, that Canada is somehow different—that, owing to a mix of cultural attitudes, immigration patterns and electoral realities, anti-outsider politics just can’t thrive here.

It would be easy enough, watching Bernier campaign and looking at his numbers, to assume that still holds true. Most polls have his People’s Party tracking below 3 percent of the national vote. His “star” candidates include the reclusive widow of a former mayor most famous for smoking crack on tape (twice) and a Conservative castoff who made headlines last year for tweeting about (and at) his “hottest” middle school teacher. The party’s best-case scenario this campaign might be winning a single seat.

But interviews with pollsters, party insiders and experts on populism suggest that’s only half the story. Bernier remains a marginal figure on the national stage, yet his top-line numbers obscure a change afoot in Canadian political attitudes. Over the past decade, Canadians have become increasingly polarized on immigration. And while immigration itself has not yet been a ballot issue in a federal election, polls and studies show that attitudes toward immigrants have become a key indicator in this country of where any individual voter leans.
PUBLICIDAD

That dramatic development might not make a huge difference in this election. But if the European pattern holds true, it could presage a major shift to come in the way politics are done in this country.

“This populist right phenomenon is in Canada, too,” says Eric Kaufmann, a Canadian political scientist and author of White Shift: Populism, Immigration and the Future of White Majority. “It’s just that it hasn’t got control of a major party yet.”


***

To understand why that shift would matter, you first have to understand why it hasn’t already happened. And to understand that, you need to dig a bit into the nitty-gritty of Canadian politics.

If you ask Canadian political scientists or strategists why this country has never had a Trump, they’ll usually laugh and say, “We have. His name was Rob Ford.”

Ford—the populist, right-wing mayor of Toronto for a single, chaotic term—was Trump before Trump: loud, crude, unqualified and uninterested in any existing political norms. Also like Trump, Ford was dismissed by political elites and much of the media as a joke for most of his career. And he was, in many ways, a joke—a serial liar who couldn’t keep his foot out of his mouth, who had little to no grasp of policy nuance, who was able, nonetheless, to forge an unshakable bond with his mass of politically alienated supporters.

Ford, who died in 2016, was no one-off. Not even in his own family. His widow, Renata, is now running for the People’s Party. His brother, Doug, is the premier of Ontario, Canada’s largest province.

The Fords have never been anti-immigrant to the same degree as Trump is; it isn’t the core of their political brand. But nativist sentiment did play a significant, underreported role in Doug Ford’s election in 2018. One studyof that campaign found that having a negative opinion of immigrants and refugees was more likely than any other factor studied, including the economy and the environment, to predict a Ford vote. During that campaign, Ontario Proud, a third-party advertising group, flooded Facebook with messages that attacked a sanctuary city pledge made by the rival New Democratic Party, a tactic NDP strategists said hurt them badly in several key electoral districts.

European-style nativist politics also have been thriving for years in Quebec, where political norms on immigration, multiculturalism and diversity are much closer to those in Europe than they are to English Canada. The governing party in the province, Coalition Avenir Quebec, “is essentially a populist right party where it matters on this issue of immigration and Islam,” says Kaufmann. In June, the CAQ government passed a law banning civil servants, including teachers and university employees, from wearing “religious” garments, like headscarves and turbans, while at work.

If nativist populism is thriving in Quebec and is viable in Ontario, why has it never been a significant factor in a national campaign? One reason is that it’s difficult for fringe parties to break through under Canada’s “first-past-the-post” electoral system. Unlike in many European parliaments, which assign multiple seats proportionally based on each party’s share of the vote, Canada elects MPs individually in each district. That makes it hard for parties with broad national support but no regional base to get a toehold in Parliament.

Another big factor is that it’s just very hard to win federal elections in Canada without support from first- and second-generation immigrants, who, combined, made up almost 40 percent of the Canadian population as of 2011. Jason Kenney, a Conservative former Cabinet minister who is now premier of Alberta, built his career on outreach to immigrant communities, earning the nickname “minister of curry in a hurry” for his relentless organizing in immigrant communities, particularly in the vote-rich suburbs of Toronto. This strategy helped to deliver Harper three consecutive elections between 2006 and 2011. “If you look at Stephen Harper’s approach to building a winning coalition, it would have gone nowhere without immigrant communities and new Canadian communities,” says Andrew MacDougall, Harper’s former director of communications.

Kaufmann also believes there “is a more intact, stronger kind of political correctness” in Canada than in the United States or Europe. He points to a recent controversy in British Columbia. In September, the Vancouver Sun, a traditionally conservative paper, published an opinion article by a university lecturer that called for Canada to reconsider its commitment to diversity. The reaction online was swift and severe. The Sun pulled the column from its website. The paper’s editor issued a public apology. Sunreporters openly rebelled on Twitter and in the newsroom. The column was sloppy and unabashedly nativist. But Kaufmann believes a similar article would not have made a ripple in Denmark or Sweden, or even the United Kingdom.

There are other factors, too. Thanks to geography, history and a complicated points system for selecting immigrants, Canada has long been able to be more selective about which newcomers it takes in than has the United States or Europe. “Because we don’t have a large, open border and because we’re protected by seas on all three sides of our country … we’ve been able to cherry-pick,” says pollster Frank Graves, president of Ekos Research Associates in Ottawa. If reelected, the Trudeau government plans to admit 350,000 new immigrants to Canada annually by 2021, up from about 260,000 in 2014, the last full year of the Harper administration. That represents a significant per capita increase, but it hasn’t been a particularly controversial one: For decades and across governments in Canada, there has been a cross-party consensus that immigration, on the whole, is a good thing.

Perhaps the biggest difference, right now, between Canada and Europe on populism is that the former has not experienced anything like the influx of refugees that entered Europe beginning in 2015. A significant body of scholarship now points to that influx as the main reason for the spike in populist, nativist attitudes on the continent in recent years. Canada did see a significant—for this country—increase in the number of asylum-seekers coming over the border from the United States beginning in 2016; thousands of migrants, many of them Haitians facing the end of temporary protected status in America, crossed over a single ditch in upstate New York into rural Quebec in the summer of 2017 alone. (It is there that Bernier has vowed to “build a fence” to block the crossing, at Roxham Road.) But the numbers of people coming over never went beyond a bare fraction of the millions who sought refuge in Germany, Sweden and the rest of the Europe.

Even so, there are signs the Canadian consensus on immigration is beginning to shift. Graves has been tracking attitudes toward immigrants and minorities for decades. To him, the great undertold story in Canadian politics right now is how much the base of the Conservative Party has moved on these issues over the past several years. In 2013, according to his data, 47 percent of self-identified Conservative voters thought too many immigrants were “visible minorities,” a term used in Canada to refer to non-aboriginal, non-white people. In 2019, that number had spiked to 69 percent. Liberal voters have gone the opposite direction, from 34 to 15 percent.

Graves says that the number of people expressing anti-visible minority sentiments hasn’t actually increased. Instead, he believes those voters, who were once spread out among the parties, have begun to coalesce on a single end of the spectrum—the right. “Immigration,” he says, “has become the new fault line.”


***

If that’s true, why can’t Bernier, Canada’s unabashed champion of cutting immigration and fighting multiculturalism, crack 3 percent in the polls?

Many who have followed Bernier’s political career find his recent populist turn something of a mystery—and few are baffled by his failure so far to connect with voters. Bernier made his name in political circles in Canada as a free-market, consumer-issues capitalist. He was first elected in his home region of Beauce, outside Quebec City, in 2006 and served as industry minister under Harper for 18 months. Conservatives who worked with Bernier at that time mostly describe him as distant but affable. “He didn’t have a strong ideology or philosophy,” one senior Harper-era staffer told me. “He certainly didn’t raise any issues around immigration or climate change or environmental policy.”

After leaving Harper’s Cabinet following a scandal (he had left confidential documents at his girlfriend’s house), Bernier became a minor iconoclast in Conservative circles, speaking out on issues that were popular with the party’s libertarian wing, like telecom monopolies and deregulation. The real firebrand persona, however, didn’t emerge until the 2017 Conservative Party leadership race, after Bernier lost to Andrew Scheer.

Bernier wasn’t the nativist candidate in that race. That was former Cabinet Minister Kellie Leitch. In fact, when she proposed a “values test” for Canadian immigrants, Bernier accused her of being a “karaoke” Donald Trump. Bernier, meanwhile, staked out a position on the libertarian right of the party and established himself as one of few candidates willing to go outside what one senior Conservative called “the Harper box.” He went into the leadership convention, in May, with a sizable lead in almost every poll. One close associate from the campaign said his team was already in transition mode, so sure were they of victory. For hours that day it seemed like that confidence was well placed. Only on the 13th and final ballot did Scheer pull ahead and win, by less than a percent.

To this day, there are those around Bernier who believe he was unfairly denied the leadership, that there were irregularities surrounding the vote and that the party brain trust, dominated by Harper loyalists, never wanted him to win. His relationship with the party soon deteriorated, before exploding for good in the summer of 2018, when Bernier unleashed a series of tweets attacking “extreme multiculturalism” and “cultural Balkanism” in Canada. Scheer publicly distanced himself from that message. He told his former rival by phone that Bernier didn’t speak for the party. Less than a month later, Bernier resigned from the Conservatives and launched his own party.

The People’s Party today remains a work in progress. In many ways, it’s not much more than Bernier, a Twitter account and the biggest slice of the radical fringe this country has ever seen. Still, Bernier’s chief strategist, Martin Masse, believes his candidate is speaking to a suite of issues that many Canadians care about but no other party will address, just like populist parties are in Europe. “There is, in all of these countries, a profound disconnect between a part of the population that doesn’t see its concerns reflected in what the elites are talking about or what is acceptable speech or what can be raised in debates,” he says.

At least so far, that message isn’t resonating widely. One Conservative pollster put Bernier’s ceiling in this election at about 11 percent of the popular vote. He’s nowhere near that now. His best chance to win any seat is his own, in Beauce, but even that is far from guaranteed. (His second-best hope is probably Renata Ford.) Bernier could play spoiler for the Conservatives in several ridings, where even 3 percent of the vote could be enough to swing a seat. But that wouldn’t make the People’s Party a factor in Parliament.

Nick Kouvalis, who ran Rob Ford’s first mayoral campaign and helped manage Leitch’s, believes Bernier’s struggles are a matter of his sincerity. “Maxime Bernier is not Canada’s Trump, because Maxime Bernier doesn’t believe a thing that he says,” Kouvalis says. “It’s inauthentic.” (Michael Diamond, a rival conservative strategist, told me he thinks the online personality Bernier developed during the 2017 leadership race was largely the creation of his chief digital strategist, Emrys Graefe, who is now in the private sector and did not respond to an interview request. Masse told me he co-writes Bernier’s tweets today but wouldn’t comment on the specifics of the process.)

Kaufmann thinks the bigger problem for Bernier is that, for a populist, he has his policy mix wrong. Outside immigration and culture, Bernier is a classic small-government, low-tax conservative—not someone trying to appeal to the working class by promising restrictive trade. (One close associate described him as being closer to Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan than to Trump.)

But the main reason cited for Bernier’s trapped-in-amber polling numbers, one that came up again and again in interviews for this story, is Trudeau. Beating Trudeau—“kind of the poster child for globalist elitism,” in Graves’ words—is a priority for many voters who might otherwise lean toward Bernier. And the only way to do that in this election is to vote for Scheer, the Conservative candidate, who is polling close to the prime minister.

That’s why Kaufmann thinks the next election, not this one, will be the true test of populist support in this country. “That’s when I would expect the People’s Party to make a bigger impact,” he says. “Not this cycle, because Trudeau helps the Conservatives keep that vote.”


***

Two weeks after the London event, Bernier walked, from one interview to another, across a hotel lobby in Hamilton, Ontario, an old steel town just outside Toronto. He wore a light gray suit over a blue checkered shirt. He was in town for an event with Dave Rubin, a conservative American YouTube host. Hours later, outside the event, Bernier’s supporters would clash with protesters, leading to four arrests. But in the hotel lobby, with TV cameras all around, Bernier gave off an air that was less raving insurgent than corporate casual.

It had been, as it tends to be for Bernier, a mixed couple of weeks. On September 16, the commission organizing the English-language leadership debate reversed a previous decision barring Bernier from the stage. The debate promised Bernier and his party the biggest national platform they’d ever had. Then, on September 23, the network Global News reported that three of the founding members of Bernier’s movement, part of a group of about 400 that signed the paperwork creating the party, had close ties to extreme far-right organizations, including Canadian offshoots of the German group Pegida and the Finnish Soldiers of Odin. “We’ve lost track of the number of [the People’s Party’s] most vocal supporters who have the most odious views in Canada,” Evan Balgord, executive director of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network, told Global News.

Leaning forward in the kind of circular half-chair that seems to exist only in hotel lobbies, Bernier said it wasn’t fair to judge his party based on a handful of fringe members. Asked why people who were attracted to those kinds of extreme ideas were also drawn to him, Bernier replied, “You must ask them. I said regularly that these people are not welcome in our party. They do not share our values.”

Bernier’s platform calls for a massive reduction in immigration to Canada, down to between 150,000 and 200,000 new immigrants per year. He also wants the government to cut off all funding for official multiculturalism, to leave the United Nations Global Compact for Migration and to prioritize refugees who, among other things, “reject political Islam.” Bernier’s party also wants to impose a cultural values test on prospective immigrants, the same idea Bernier himself once laughed off the stage.

“We don’t want to have ghettos,” Bernier said in Hamilton. “There are some cities that you cannot speak English and French in this country, and you can be able to do your day-to-day life.” He cited Richmond, British Columbia, an oceanside suburb of Vancouver, where more than half the population is ethnically Chinese. But the city is also wealthy, safe and well educated. If it’s a ghetto, it’s probably the nicest ghetto in the world.

Bernier says his goal this election is to win enough seats to hold the balance of power in Parliament if no one party gains enough support to govern on its own. It’s an unlikely, but not impossible idea. More plausible, for now, is that he will win enough support to start tugging the Conservatives to the right on immigration and refugees. Of course, there’s another possibility: Bernier could lose his own seat, and every other seat, too. He could carry on shouting, after the election, outside Parliament, to an ever-shrinking fringe.

It would be easy enough to assume that’s what’s going to happen, to dismiss Bernier and his supporters as a joke, or to ignore them entirely. But that’s the thing about populists: They always seem like a joke right up until the moment they’re not. “There’s a tendency in countries, before it actually expresses itself politically in a Brexit or a Donald Trump, for a lot of the institutional elite to not see it,” Graves says. “It’s a blind spot.”

Most Americans are wary of industry-funded research


A majority of Americans are skeptical of the impact that industry funding has on scientific research and on the recommendations made by practitioners, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey. The public is somewhat more positive – though still ambivalent – about the effects of government funding on research and practitioner recommendations.

Most U.S. adults (58%) say they trust scientific research findings less if they hear that the research was funded by an industry group. About a third (32%) say industry funding makes no difference in whether they trust research, while only 10% say they trust industry-funded research findings more.

The pattern is similar when it comes to trusting science practitioners’ recommendations. Around six-in-ten Americans (62%) say they trust practitioner recommendations less when they hear the practitioner received financial incentives from an industry group. Around a quarter (27%) say such incentives make no difference; 10% say they trust practitioner recommendations more under these circumstances.



When it comes to the effects of government funding on science research and practitioner recommendations, the public is divided. About half of Americans (48%) say knowing that research received federal government funding makes no difference in whether they trust its findings. About a quarter (28%) say it makes them trust the findings less, and 23% say it makes them trust the findings more.

Similarly, 48% of U.S. adults say knowing that a science practitioner’s recommendation received financial incentives from the government makes no difference in their trust. Around four-in-ten (37%) say such incentives make them trust the recommendation less, while 14% say it makes them trust the recommendation more.

Americans are much more positive about the effects of two other factors included in the survey – open data and independent review – on the trustworthiness of research. A majority of adults (57%) say they trust research findings more when they hear the data is openly available to public, and about half (52%) say the same about research that has been reviewed by an independent committee. The pattern is similar when it comes to the trustworthiness of practitioner recommendations: A majority (68%) trusts recommendations more when the practitioner gets a second opinion, and 43% trust recommendations more if they’re based on an independent committee review.

Public skepticism about industry funding is consistent with past Pew Research Center findings. For example, a 2016 survey found Americans trusted scientists more than food industry leaders to provide full and accurate information about the health effects of eating genetically modified foods. The same survey also found that about a quarter or more of adults thought medical scientists’ research on the effects of GM foods (30%), childhood vaccines (27%) and climate change (26%) was influenced most of the time by the researchers’ desires to help the industries they work for.

Industry-funded research has been controversial in recent decades. For instance, research funded by the tobacco industry in the 1950s sought to discredit emerging science that suggested cigarette smoking caused lung disease. More recently, some scientists have been critical of industry-funded research in food science, arguing it has understated the potentially harmful effects of some food additives.

Science knowledge is strongly related to people’s views of how industry funding affects the reliability of research findings. Those with higher levels of science knowledge are less trusting of research that has received funding from industry groups than are people with medium or low knowledge levels (80% with high science knowledge trust this research less vs. 55% and 30%, respectively).

Men are slightly more likely than women to distrust industry-funded research (61% vs. 54%, respectively), as are white Americans (65%) compared with black (41%) or Hispanic (49%) Americans. People ages 50 and older are more likely than younger adults to distrust industry-funded research findings.

Modest differences emerge between partisans. Democrats and independents who lean Democratic are more likely to distrust industry-funded research than Republicans and Republican leaners (62% vs. 53%, respectively). This difference is largely driven by the opinions of liberal Democrats, who are the most wary of industry-funded research: Nearly three-quarters (73%) say they trust research less if they know it was funded by an industry group. This compares with 52% of moderate and conservative Democrats, 55% of conservative Republicans and half of moderate and liberal Republicans.