sábado, 23 de junio de 2018

Gen Xers and younger generation are the clear majority this November

Rubén Weinsteiner

Voters in Provo, Utah, cast their ballots in the 2016 presidential election.

Generation X, Millennials and the post-Millennial generation make up a clear majority of voting-eligible adults in the United States, but if past midterm election turnout patterns hold true, they are unlikely to cast the majority of votes this November. Not only are younger adults less likely to participate in midterm elections, but Millennials and Gen Xers have a track record of low turnout in midterms compared with older generations when they were the same age.

As of April 2018 (the most recent data available), 59% of adults who are eligible to vote are Gen Xers, Millennials or “post-Millennials.” In the 2014 midterm election, which had a historically low turnout, these younger generations accounted for 53% of eligible voters but cast just 36 million votes – 21 million fewer than the Boomer, Silent and Greatest generations, who are ages 54 and older in 2018.

Since 2014, the number of voting-eligible Gen Xers, Millennials and post-Millennials has increased by 18 million. Some of this increase stems from Gen Xers and Millennials who have naturalized and become U.S. citizens. But the bulk of it is due to the addition of 15 million adult post-Millennials (18 to 21 years old) who are now voting age.

Meanwhile, the electoral potential of Baby Boomers and older generations has declined since the last midterm. Driven mainly by deaths, there are now 10 million fewer eligible voters among the Boomer and older generations than there were in 2014.

The generational makeup of the electorate matters because, as Pew Research Center surveys have shown, generational differences in political preferences are now as wide as they have been in decades. For example, among registered voters, 59% of Millennials affiliate with the Democratic Party or lean Democratic. About half of Boomers (48%) and 43% of the Silent Generation identify as or lean Democratic.

Whether Gen X and younger generations will be the majority of voters in the November midterms will depend on how many of those who are eligible actually turn out to vote. In the 2016 presidential election, Gen X and younger generations were a majority of voters. But turnout in midterm elections tends to be significantly lower than in presidential elections, particularly among younger adults.

In the 2014 midterm election, only 39% of Gen Xers who were eligible turned out to vote, as did a significantly smaller share of eligible Millennials (22%). It’s important to note, however, that the 2014 election is not representative of all midterms, as only 42% of all eligible voters reported voting – the lowest turnout in a midterm election since consistent data have been available.

It’s difficult to predict who will turn out to vote in the upcoming 2018 midterm. A reasonable scenario might be that eligible voters would turn out as they have, on average, in past midterm elections. Gen Xers and Millennials have consistently underperformed in terms of voter turnout in midterm elections, compared with Boomers when they were the same age. Millennials have had the opportunity to vote in four midterm elections (2002, 2006, 2010 and 2014). Among Millennials who were between the ages of 18 and 24 during these elections, 20% turned out to vote, on average. By comparison, 26% of Boomers in that same age range turned out to vote in midterm elections between 1978 and 1986.

Turnout in midterm elections has been somewhat higher for older Millennials than for younger ones. Still, the gap between older Millennials and similarly aged Boomers is considerable. Among Millennials who were ages 25 to 29 at the time, 26% turned out on average for midterm elections between 2006 and 2014. That compares with 36% of eligible Boomers in that age range, on average, who voted in midterms between 1978 and 1992.

These generational comparisons over time are rough at best, however, as each midterm election has its own unique set of issues and national conditions which undoubtedly influence overall turnout.

What do these patterns tell us about potential turnout in the 2018 midterm elections?

If past turnout patterns hold – and taking into account that each generation has aged four years since 2014 – the data suggest that Gen Xers, Millennials and post-Millennials would not be a majority of voters in 2018. More specifically, extending the historical trends forward, one would expect roughly 47 million of the votes cast in 2018 would come from these three younger generations (up from 36 million in 2014), compared with 55 million votes cast by Boomer and older voters.

The analytical catch: There are, of course, no guarantees the past will repeat itself. If the younger generations were to turn out to vote at the rates Boomers did when they were younger, post-Millennials, Millennials and Gen Xers would account for the majority of votes.

Turnout depends on myriad factors, including voter engagement, and therefore these calculations are not projections of the generational turnout this November. Rather, this analysis demonstrates, based on past midterm voting behavior, how the changing generational composition of the electorate could impact voting dynamics going forward.

Methodology note: The estimated 2018 vote counts are derived by applying each generation’s average turnout rate to the electorate as of April 2018 and factoring in the assumption that the oldest of each generation will turn out as the youngest members of the next generation (for example, if Millennials ages 34 to 37 turn out to vote in the same proportion as Gen Xers ages 34 to 37 turned out to vote).
Rubén Weinsteiner

jueves, 21 de junio de 2018

Distinguishing Between Factual and Opinion Statements in the News

The politically aware, digitally savvy and those more trusting of the news media fare better; Republicans and Democrats both influenced by political appeal of statements
By Amy Mitchell, Jeffrey Gottfried, Michael Barthel and Nami Sumida

In today’s fast-paced and complex information environment, news consumers must make rapid-fire judgments about how to internalize news-related statements – statements that often come in snippets and through pathways that provide little context. A new Pew Research Center survey of 5,035 U.S. adults examines a basic step in that process: whether members of the public can recognize news as factual – something that’s capable of being proved or disproved by objective evidence – or as an opinion that reflects the beliefs and values of whoever expressed it.

The findings from the survey, conducted between Feb. 22 and March 8, 2018, reveal that even this basic task presents a challenge. The main portion of the study, which measured the public’s ability to distinguish between five factual statements and five opinion statements, found that a majority of Americans correctly identified at least three of the five statements in each set. But this result is only a little better than random guesses. Far fewer Americans got all five correct, and roughly a quarter got most or all wrong. Even more revealing is that certain Americans do far better at parsing through this content than others. Those with high political awareness, those who are very digitally savvy and those who place high levels of trust in the news media are better able than others to accurately identify news-related statements as factual or opinion.

For example, 36% of Americans with high levels of political awareness (those who are knowledgeable about politics and regularly get political news) correctly identified all five factual news statements, compared with about half as many (17%) of those with low political awareness. Similarly, 44% of the very digitally savvy (those who are highly confident in using digital devices and regularly use the internet) identified all five opinion statements correctly versus 21% of those who are not as technologically savvy. And though political awareness and digital savviness are related to education in predictable ways, these relationships persist even when accounting for an individual’s education level.

Trust in those who do the reporting also matters in how that statement is interpreted. Almost four-in-ten Americans who have a lot of trust in the information from national news organizations (39%) correctly identified all five factual statements, compared with 18% of those who have not much or no trust. However, one other trait related to news habits – the public’s level of interest in news – does not show much difference.

In addition to political awareness, party identification plays a role in how Americans differentiate between factual and opinion news statements. Both Republicans and Democrats show a propensity to be influenced by which side of the aisle a statement appeals to most. For example, members of each political party were more likely to label both factual and opinion statements as factual when they appealed more to their political side.

At this point, then, the U.S. is not completely detached from what is factual and what is not. But with the vast majority of Americans getting at least some news online, gaps across population groups in the ability to sort news correctly raise caution. Amid the massive array of content that flows through the digital space hourly, the brief dips into and out of news and the country’s heightened political divisiveness, the ability and motivation to quickly sort news correctly is all the more critical.

The differentiation between factual and opinion statements used in this study – the capacity to be proved or disproved by objective evidence – is commonly used by others as well, but may vary somewhat from how “facts” are sometimes discussed in debates – as statements that are true.1 While Americans’ sense of what is true and false is important, this study was not intended as a knowledge quiz of news content. Instead, this study was intended to explore whether the public sees distinctions between news that is based upon objective evidence and news that is not.

To accomplish this, respondents were shown a series of news-related statements in the main portion of the study: five factual statements, five opinions and two statements that don’t fit clearly into either the factual or opinion buckets – termed here as “borderline” statements. Respondents were asked to determine if each was a factual statement (whether accurate or not) or an opinion statement (whether agreed with or not). For more information on how statements were selected for the study, see below.

How the study asked Americans to classify factual versus opinion-based news statements

In the survey, respondents read a series of news statements and were asked to put each statement in one of two categories:
A factual statement, regardless of whether it was accurate or inaccurate. In other words, they were to choose this classification if they thought that the statement could be proved or disproved based on objective evidence.
An opinion statement, regardless of whether they agreed with the statement or not. In other words, they were to choose this classification if they thought that it was based on the values and beliefs of the journalist or the source making the statement, and could not definitively be proved or disproved based on objective evidence.

In the initial set, five statements were factual, five were opinion and two were in an ambiguous space between factual and opinion – referred to here as “borderline” statements. (All of the factual statements were accurate.) The statements were written and classified in consultation with experts both inside and outside Pew Research Center. The goal was to include an equal number of statements that would more likely appeal to the political right or to the political left, with an overall balance across statements. All of the statements related to policy issues and current events. The individual statements are listed in an expandable box at the end of this section, and the complete methodology, including further information on statement selection, classification, and political appeal, can be found here.
Republicans and Democrats are more likely to think news statements are factual when they appeal to their side – even if they are opinions

It’s important to explore what role political identification plays in how Americans decipher factual news statements from opinion news statements. To analyze this, the study aimed to include an equal number of statements that played to the sensitivities of each side, maintaining an overall ideological balance across statements.2

Overall, Republicans and Democrats were more likely to classify both factual and opinion statements as factual when they appealed most to their side. Consider, for example, the factual statement “President Barack Obama was born in the United States” – one that may be perceived as more congenial to the political left and less so to the political right. Nearly nine-in-ten Democrats (89%) correctly identified it as a factual statement, compared with 63% of Republicans. On the other hand, almost four-in-ten Democrats (37%) incorrectly classified the left-appealing opinion statement “Increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour is essential for the health of the U.S. economy” as factual, compared with about half as many Republicans (17%).3
News brand labels in this study had a modest impact on separating factual statements from opinion

In a separate part of the study, respondents were shown eight different statements. But this time, most saw statements attributed to one of three specific news outlets: one with a left-leaning audience (The New York Times), one with a right-leaning audience (Fox News Channel) and one with a more mixed audience (USA Today).4

Overall, attributing the statements to news outlets had a limited impact on statement classification, except for one case: Republicans were modestly more likely than Democrats to accurately classify the three factual statements in this second set when they were attributed to Fox News – and correspondingly, Democrats were modestly less likely than Republicans to do so. Republicans correctly classified them 77% of the time when attributed to Fox News, 8 percentage points higher than Democrats, who did so 69% of the time.5 Members of the two parties were as likely as each other to correctly classify the factual statements when no source was attributed or when USA Today or The New York Times was attributed. Labeling statements with a news outlet had no impact on how Republicans or Democrats classified the opinion statements. And, overall, the same general findings about differences based on political awareness, digital savviness and trust also held true for this second set of statements.
When Americans call a statement factual they overwhelmingly also think it is accurate; they tend to disagree with factual statements they incorrectly label as opinions

The study probed one step further for the initial set of 12 statements. If respondents identified a statement as factual, they were then asked if they thought it was accurate or inaccurate. If they identified a statement to be an opinion, they were asked whether they agreed or disagreed with it.

When Americans see a news statement as factual, they overwhelmingly also believe it to be accurate. This is true for both statements they correctly and incorrectly identified as factual, though small portions of the public did call statements both factual and inaccurate.

When Americans incorrectly classified factual statements as opinions, they most often disagreed with the statement. When correctly classifying opinions as such, however, Americans expressed more of a mix of agreeing and disagreeing with the statement.
About the study
Statement selection

This is Pew Research Center’s first step in understanding how people parse through information as factual or opinion. Creating the mix of statements was a multistep and rigorous process that incorporated a wide variety of viewpoints. First, researchers sifted through a number of different sources to create an initial pool of statements. The factual statements were drawn from sources including news organizations, government agencies, research organizations and fact-checking entities, and were verified by the research team as accurate. The opinion statements were adapted largely from public opinion survey questions. A final list of statements was created in consultation with Pew Research Center subject matter experts and an external board of advisers.

The goals were to:
Pull together statements that range across a variety of policy areas and current events
Strive for statements that were clearly factual and clearly opinion in nature (as well as some that combined both factual and opinion elements, referred to here as “borderline”)
Include an equal number of statements that appealed to the right and left, maintaining an overall ideological balance

In the primary set of statements, respondents saw five factual, five opinion and two borderline statements. Factual statements that lend support to views held by more people on one side of the ideological spectrum (and fewer of those on the other side) were classified as appealing to the narrative of that side. Opinion statements were classified as appealing to one side if in recent surveys they were supported more by one political party than the other. Two of the statements (one factual and one opinion) were “neutral” and intended to appeal equally to the left and right.
How Pew Research Center asked respondents to categorize news statements as factual or opinion

As noted previously, respondents were first asked to classify each news statement as a factual statement or an opinion statement. Extensive testing of the question wording was conducted to ensure that respondents would not treat this task as asking if they agree with the statement or as a knowledge quiz. This is why, for instance, the question does not merely ask whether the statement is a factual or an opinion statement and instead includes explanatory language as follows: “Regardless of how knowledgeable you are about the topic, would you consider this statement to be a factual statement (whether you think it is accurate or not) OR an opinion statement (whether you agree with it or not)?” For more details on the testing of different question wordings, see Appendix A.

After classifying each statement as factual or opinion, respondents were then asked one of two follow-up questions. If they classified a statement as factual, they were then asked if they thought the statement was accurate or inaccurate. If they classified it as an opinion, they were asked if they agreed or disagreed with the statement.

For example, fact-checking organizations have used this differentiation of a statement’s capacity to be proved or disproved as a way to determine whether a claim can be fact-checked and schools have used this approach to teach students to differentiate facts from opinions.
A statement was considered to appeal to the left or the right based on whether it lent support to political views held by more on one side of the ideological spectrum than the other. Various sources were used to determine the appeal of each statement, including news stories, statements by elected officials, and recent polling.
The findings in this study do not necessarily imply that one party is better able to correctly classify news statements as factual or opinion-based. Even though there were some differences between the parties (for instance, 78% of Democrats compared with 68% of Republicans who correctly classified at least three of five factual statements), the more meaningful finding is the tendency among both to be influenced by the possible political appeal of statements.
The classification of these three outlets’ audiences is based on previously reported survey data, the same data that was used to classify audiences for a recent study about coverage of the Trump administration. For more detail on the classification of the three news outlets, as well as the selection and analysis of this second set of statements, see the Methodology. At the end of the survey, respondents who saw news statements attributed to the news outlets were told, “Please note that the statements that you were shown in this survey were part of an experiment and did not actually appear in news articles of the news organizations.”
This analysis grouped together all of the times the 5,035 respondents saw a statement attributed to each of the outlets or no outlet at all. The results, then, are given as the “percent of the time” that respondents classified statements a given way when attributed to each outlet. For more details on what “percent of the time” means, see the Methodology.

miércoles, 20 de junio de 2018

Poll: If You’re Over 50 in Florida, Chances Are You Like Trump


In 2016, a majority of voters were 50 and older. This decisive voting bloc will be key to determining the balance of power in Washington this November.

In 2018, Florida hosts a contentious Senate election as well as many key House races. We polled voters aged 50 and older in Florida about their lives, President Trump and Congress to get a sense of how they might vote.

Here’s what we learned.
50+ voters approve of Trump

Approve 52%

No Opinion 4%

Disapprove 44%

Younger generations disapprove of Trump
Do you approve or disapprove of the job Donald Trump is doing as President?
Strongly approve
Somewhat approve
Don't Know / No Opinion
Somewhat disapprove
Strongly disapprove
All Registered Voters
Gen Z: Age 18-21

Millennials: Age 22-37

Gen X: Age 38-53

Boomers: Age 54-72

50+ voters prefer Republicans in the midterms

Democrat 36%

No Opinion 23%

Republican 41%

Younger generations prefer Democrats
If the election for U.S. Congress in your district was held today, which one of the following candidates are you most likely to vote for?
Democratic candidate
Don't Know / No Opinion
Republican candidate
All Registered Voters
Gen Z: Age 18-21

Millennials: Age 22-37

Gen X: Age 38-53

Boomers: Age 54-72

50+ women less approving of health care policy than men
Do you approve or disapprove of the way President Trump is handling health care?
Strongly approve
Somewhat approve
Don't Know / No Opinion
Somewhat disapprove
Strongly disapprove
Registered Voters 50+
Democratic Men

Democratic Women

Independent Men

Independent Women

Republican Men

Republican Women

Do you approve or disapprove of the way Congress is handling health care?
Registered Voters 50+
Democratic Men

Democratic Women

Independent Men

Independent Women

Republican Men

Republican Women

Voters split over why health care costs are rising
Which of the following do you think is most responsible for rising health care costs in the United States?
Health care insurance companies focusing on profits more than peoples health
Waste, fraud and abuse
Drug companies charging too much for medications
The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare
Doctors and other providers taking advantage of the system
Hospitals taking advantage of the system
An aging U.S. population
Don't Know / No Opinion
Unnecessary treatments and over-testing
Rural voters less confident in availability of public services
Availability of Medicare
Very confident
Somewhat confident
Don't Know / No Opinion
Not too confident
Not confident at all
Registered Voters 50+
Urban Voters

Suburban Voters

Rural Voters

Availability of Social Security
Registered Voters 50+
Urban Voters

Suburban Voters

Rural Voters

Availability of Medicaid
Registered Voters 50+
Urban Voters

Suburban Voters

Rural Voters

Availability of housing assistance
Registered Voters 50+
Urban Voters

Suburban Voters

Rural Voters

Lower-income voters think personal financial situation is worse
Over the last two years, has your personal financial situation...
Gotten better
Stayed about the same
Gotten worse
Don't Know / No Opinion
Registered Voters 50+
Under $50k


Over $100k

Lower-income voters less confident they will be able to afford retirement
How confident are you that you will have enough money for retirement?
Very confident
Somewhat confident
Don't Know / No Opinion
Not too confident
Not at all confident
Registered Voters 50+
Under $50k


Over $100k

Methodology: The poll was conducted May 29-30, 2018, surveying 1,199 registered voters in Florida, including an oversample of 653 voters aged 50 and older. Interviews were conducted online, and the data were weighted to approximate a target sample of registered voters in Florida based on age, race/ethnicity, gender, and educational attainment. Overall results from the survey have a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points, and plus or minus four percentage points for the oversample of older voters.

Koch network raps Trump, won't support House immigration bills

The House immigration bills "expected to receive a vote fall short of the solution we need,” said Daniel Garza, president of the Koch network's LIBRE Initiative.


The political network founded by the Koch brothers is taking a stand against both President Donald Trump’s policy toward separating families at the border and two immigration bills due for votes in the House this week, dealing a blow to GOP leaders who are marshaling support for their version.

“It’s encouraging that the House will have a debate this week on immigration bills that include protections for the Dreamers," said Daniel Garza, president of the Koch network's LIBRE Initiative, referring to a group of undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. "Unfortunately, in their current form, both [House leadership’s bill and an alternative immigration bill] expected to receive a vote fall short of the solution we need.”

Garza also called on Trump to “take immediate action to end the separation of families at the border by rescinding the ‘zero tolerance’ policy.”

The Kochs’ push for a more moderate approach toward immigration legislation complicates the thorny debate in Washington. Lawmakers have called on Trump to stop his administration from splitting up immigrant families, which has drawn public outrage since he implemented a zero tolerance policy of prosecuting everyone who crosses the border illegally. Trump has refused to act alone, saying Congress needs to pass immigration legislation.

The Koch brothers have pushed the Republican Party to create a path to citizenship for Dreamers, who were extended protections under the Obama administration that Trump has tried to withdraw. The Kochs also have urged the GOP not to make severe cuts to the flow of immigrants into the country, even launching a seven-figure ad buy supporting their efforts.

House Republicans were coalescing around an immigration bill supported by House leadership that would, among other things, give some protections to Dreamers. Its path forward was already complicated: Trump blasted the measure last week, but later Tuesday he was expected to travel to Capitol Hill to rally Republicans behind it.

The Kochs' opposition to the GOP leadership bill could make it even more difficult for House Speaker Paul Ryan to unite his caucus behind it. Conservatives favor a second bill, also due for a vote this week, from Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.).

Garza said in a statement that “it’s clear there’s strong support in Congress and among the American people to provide permanency to the Dreamers,” but neither bill “affords the Dreamers the certainty they need to make a full contribution to American communities,” and both “include arbitrary cuts to legal immigration.”

Trump dreams the impossible: Winning Minnesota

A growing urban-rural divide has put the state on the president’s radar.


Donald Trump arrives in Minnesota ahead of his only campaign rally in the state in 2016. He narrowly lost it to Hillary Clinton, and if he wants to flip it in 2020, he will need to sustain large majorities in the state’s northeastern Iron Range.
The last Republican presidential candidate to win Minnesota was Richard Nixon nearly a half century ago, sweeping the famously populist state on his way to one of the largest landslides in U.S. history.

Now, President Donald Trump, who finished fewer than 45,000 votes behind Hillary Clinton in Minnesota despite a threadbare effort that saw him visit the state only once, is intent on mining an urban-rural divide to capture the state in 2020.

It’s an ambitious expansion of the electoral map but Trump last summer confided to aides and state GOP officials in an Oval Office meeting that he regretted not campaigning more aggressively in Minnesota, suggesting he would have won had he held a second rally there. In the months since, Republicans have come to see the state Democratic Party’s increasing embrace of liberal candidates and policies as an opening for them to attract voters from rural, outstate districts who may be pro-union, and support abortion or gun rights.

“Whereas a lot of people around the country look at 2016 as, ‘wow, we really accomplished something,’” said Chris Hupke, a 2016 senior adviser to Trump in Minnesota, “(party activists) are viewing it as just the beginning.”

The latest sign of Trump’s growing optimism to turn the state red comes tonight, when he travels to Duluth to rally supporters of Republican Pete Stauber in one of the nation’s most competitive congressional districts. Organizers moved the event to a larger venue as demand for tickets soared, after the president’s campaign signaled it would make a serious play for the state in 2020.

“I think his campaign and his team realize there are incredible opportunities in this state to support his agenda,” Minnesota Republican Party Chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan told POLITICO. “I do believe we will deliver our state to him in 2020.”

Electoral shifts within the state — among rural and blue-collar voters — may bode well for the president’s party in the midterms. Minnesota, which will have an open race for governor and two Senate contests, has two of the four congressional districts nationwide that experienced the largest swings from Mitt Romney in 2008 to Trump in 2016.

Overall, Trump won 78 of the state’s 87 counties. While Clinton hung on statewide, boosted by the population-rich Minneapolis-St. Paul area, she also alienated rural voters, some of whom still chafe at her “basket of deplorables” remark describing half of Trump’s supporters — her vote total was nearly 180,000 votes behind Barack Obama in 2012.

“You often hear about ‘Minnesota Nice,’” said Patti Anderson, a Republican former state auditor now running for a seat in the legislature, referring to the stereotype used to describe people in her state who present as courteous, reserved and mild-mannered. “But that was really offensive — to anyone, I think. When you say (deplorables,) that’s you talking about us, or our brothers or our uncles.”

In the legislature that year, Republicans expanded on the House majority they captured in 2014, while also narrowly winning the majority in the state Senate. The GOP flipped seats in rural areas like Willmar, Albert Lea and Fairview Township, which had swung between Republicans and “old-school,” lunch-bucket Democrats, now a shrinking breed, said Ben Golnik, a GOP strategist in St. Paul.

Minnesota Republicans believe Democrats are becoming out of step with the electorate by advocating progressive policies like single-payer health care, driver‘s licenses for unauthorized immigrants and liberal refugee resettlement rules.

“The DFL is being run by Minneapolis-St. Paul uber-liberals,” Golnik said.

These Republicans also think the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, as Democrats are known in Minnesota, dug itself a deeper hole when activists made their midterm endorsements this month.

Democrats selected liberal state Rep. Erin Murphy for governor. Her running mate, first-term state Rep. Erin Maye Quade, a former aide to Rep. Keith Ellison, will be the first openly LGBT candidate for statewide office, and is known for speaking out against sexual harassment at the Capitol and leading a sit-in to push for votes on gun-control bills. The endorsement of the Murphy-Quade ticket came at the expense of two candidates, state Auditor Rebecca Otto and retiring Rep. Tim Walz, who is supported by numerous trades unions and the statewide teachers union.

Anderson and others said she viewed the move as Democrats turning their backs on working people, a constituency courted by Trump. She predicted he would benefit from the state’s populist streak.

“We elected (Independent) Jesse Ventura (as governor,)” she said. “We elected, and reelected, (U.S. Sen.) Paul Wellstone, not necessarily because of his liberal politics, but because he was honest. He said what he meant.”

Republicans, meantime, endorsed pro-Trump Jeff Johnson over GOP former Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who called then-candidate Trump “unsound, uninformed, unhinged and unfit,” before the election. More recently, Pawlenty said he ultimately backed the party’s nominee in 2016 and since has spoken approvingly of the policies pursued by the White House.

The outcome of the GOP’s August primary could be a factor for Trump in two years.

“Tim’s got to make up his own mind about how supportive he is going to be,” Johnson told MARCA POLITICA. “For us to win in Minnesota, we need our base to show up; and we need to win over some of the new voters that Trump won in 2016.”

If Trump can flip Minnesota in 2020, he will need to sustain large majorities on northeastern Minnesota’s Iron Range, including in the 8th Congressional District, which presents a rare pickup opportunity for the GOP this year with the Democratic incumbent, Rep. Rick Nolan, leaving office.

“I think the president, the intensity for President Trump is really high in our 8th Congressional District,” said Stauber, a St. Louis county commissioner and the leading Republican in the race.

Stauber said Trump called him in March and asked, “What can I do to help?” Given enthusiasm for Trump in the district, Stauber said, he asked him to visit. Trump carried the historically Democratic, largely rural district by 15 percentage points in 2016.

While Republicans point to the Trump lawn signs and bumper stickers and the proliferation of red “Make America Great Again” hats that bob up and down on the heads of Minnesota boaters like buoys, Mike Erlandson, a former chairman of the DFL, said he considers the Trump factor in Minnesota “relatively strong, but very unpredictable.”

“It’s not a surprise that the president’s coming to Minnesota to do some campaigning, and he’s picking a district that he was probably as popular in as anywhere in the state in the last election,” Erlandson said.

However, he added, “He’s coming early (in the election cycle,) and maybe he’s coming early because there are members of the Republican Party who I would guess would rather have him come early, do his thing, and not remind voters again later in the process.”

For his part, Stauber said Trump has only improved his prospects in the state since taking office: “His pro-job, pro-growth agenda is helping us all, and the tax cut and jobs act, just in the 8th Congressional District, on average, $1,733 for the average taxpayer,” Stauber said. “That’s real money.”

Democrats are seizing on the visit to ramp up organizing in the state and to fuel their own campaigns, with a rush of Democrats tying fundraising appeals to Trump’s appearance.

In an email Friday on behalf of Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) wrote, “Donald Trump barely lost Minnesota in 2016 — so now Republican operatives across the country are telling their billionaire donors the same thing: If we dump truckloads of money into Minnesota, this could be our chance to win.”

She wrote, “We can’t let that happen.”

Democratic activists are preparing to march and rally in Duluth during Trump’s appearance. Emily Nygren, chairwoman of the local DFL, said Trump’s election has propelled more young people and progressives to participate in politics in the district.

“We’re still a very strong union district, and we’ve got really great, strong values that align very well with the DFL party,” she said. “We’re working really hard.”

martes, 19 de junio de 2018

How Democratic Is the Euro?

Michele Tantussi 

If the European Union is to remain viable and democratic at the same time, policymakers will have to pay closer attention to the demanding requirements of delegating decisions to unelected bodies. They should promote such a delegation of sovereignty only when it truly enhances the long-term performance of their democracies.

 When Italy’s president recently vetoed the appointment of the Euroskeptic Paolo Savona as finance minister in the government proposed by the Five Star Movement-League party alliance, did he safeguard or undermine his country’s democracy? Beyond constitutional strictures specific to the Italian context, the question goes to the heart of democratic legitimacy. The difficult issues it raises need to be addressed in a principled and appropriate manner if our liberal democracies are to be restored to their health.

The euro represents a treaty commitment from which there is no clear exit within prevailing rules of the game. President Sergio Mattarella and his defenders point out that an exit from the euro had not been subject to debate in the election campaign that brought the populist coalition to power, and that Savona’s appointment threatened a financial market meltdown and economic chaos. Mattarella’s detractors argue that he overstepped his authority and has allowed financial markets to veto the selection of a minister by a popularly elected government.

By joining the euro, Italy surrendered monetary sovereignty to an external, independent decision-maker, the European Central Bank. It also undertook specific commitments with respect to the conduct of its fiscal policy, though these constraints are not as “hard” as those framing monetary policy. These obligations place real limits on the Italian authorities’ macroeconomic policy choices. In particular, the absence of a domestic currency means Italians cannot choose their own inflation target or devalue their currency vis-à-vis foreign currencies. They also have to keep their fiscal deficits below certain ceilings.

Such external restraints on policy action need not conflict with democracy. Sometimes it makes sense for the electorate to tie its hands when doing so helps it achieve better outcomes. Hence the principle of “democratic delegation”: Democracies can enhance their performance by delegating aspects of decision-making to independent agencies.

The canonical case for democratic delegation arises when there is a paramount need for credible commitment to a particular course of action. Monetary policy is perhaps the clearest instance of this. Many economists subscribe to the view that central banks can generate output and employment gains through expansionary monetary policy only if they are able to produce surprise inflation in the short run. But, because expectations adjust to central bank behavior, discretionary monetary policy is futile: it yields higher inflation but no output or employment increases. Accordingly, it is far better to insulate monetary policy from political pressures by delegating it to technocratic, independent central banks that are charged with the singular objective of price stability.

Superficially, the euro and the ECB can be seen as the solution to this inflationary conundrum in the European context. They protect the Italian electorate from their politicians’ counterproductive inflationary tendencies. But there are peculiarities to the European situation that make the democratic delegation argument more suspect.

For one thing, the ECB is an international institution, bearing responsibility for monetary policy for the eurozone as a whole rather than Italy alone. As a result, it will be generally less responsive to Italian economic circumstances than a purely Italian, but equally independent central bank would have been. This problem is aggravated by the fact that the ECB chooses its own inflation target, which was last defined in 2003 as “below, but close to, 2% over the medium term.”

It is difficult to justify the delegation of the inflation target itself to unelected technocrats. When some countries in the eurozone are hit by adverse demand shocks, the target determines the extent of painful wage and price deflation these countries must undergo to readjust. The lower the target, the more deflation they must bear. There was a good economic argument for the ECB to have lifted its inflation target following the euro crisis to facilitate competitiveness adjustments in Southern Europe. Insulation from political accountability was probably a bad thing in this case.

As Paul Tucker, a former deputy governor of the Bank of England, discusses in his masterful recent book Unelected Power: The Quest for Legitimacy in Central Banking and the Administrative State, the argument for democratic delegation is a subtle one. The distinction between policy goals and how they are implemented needs to be clear. Insofar as they entail distributional consequences or tradeoffs between contending goals (employment versus price stability, for example), policy objectives have to be determined through politics. Delegation is warranted at best in the conduct of policy that serves politically determined objectives. Tucker argues, correctly, that few independent agencies are based on a careful application of principles that would pass the test of democratic legitimacy.1

This shortcoming is far worse in the case of delegation to international agencies or treaties. Too often, international economic commitments serve not to fix democratic failures at home, but to privilege corporate or financial interests and undermine domestic social bargains. The European Union’s legitimacy deficit derives from the popular suspicion that its institutional arrangements have veered too far from the former to the latter. When Mattarella cited the reaction of financial markets in justifying his veto of Savona, he reinforced those suspicions.

If the euro – and indeed the EU itself – is to remain viable and democratic at the same time, policymakers will have to pay closer attention to the demanding requirements of delegating decisions to unelected bodies. This does not mean that they should resist surrendering sovereignty to supranational agencies at all costs. But they should recognize that economists’ and other technocrats’ policy preferences rarely endow policies with sufficient democratic legitimacy on their own. They should promote such a delegation of sovereignty only when it truly enhances the long-term performance of their democracies, not when it merely advances the interests of globalist elites.

lunes, 18 de junio de 2018

Young adults around the world are less religious by several measures

Adults under 40 are less likely to be religiously affiliated

Perhaps the simplest way to measure attachment to religion among people of all ages is to look at the percentage of people who identify with a religious group. Pew Research Center surveys around the world routinely ask: “What is your present religion, if any?” Respondents are given a country-specific list of potential responses (which generally include several major world religions, as well as “atheist,” “agnostic” or “nothing in particular”).

The vast majority of people around the world claim a religious identity, such as Christian, Muslim or Hindu. But there is a clear age gap: Out of 106 countries surveyed, young adults are significantly less likely to be affiliated with a religious group in 41. In only two countries are young adults more likely to identify with a religion, while there is no significant difference in 63 countries.

Looked at another way, young adults are more likely to be religiously unaffiliated. This is especially true in North America, where in both the U.S. and Canada younger people are less likely to claim a religious identity. (These findings are in line with the rise of the religious “nones” in the U.S., which is being driven largely by high levels of disaffiliation among young generations.) The gap is also prevalent in Europe – in 22 out of 35 countries – and in Latin America, where it applies in 14 out of 19 countries (including Mexico).

However, the pattern is not as pronounced in other parts of the world. In the Middle East-North Africa region and sub-Saharan Africa, where most people identify as either Muslim or Christian, there are no countries where young people are less affiliated. In fact, the only two countries out of a combined 30 in these regions with an affiliation gap are Chad and Ghana, where young adults are more likely than their elders to claim a religious affiliation – making these nations the only exceptions to the prevailing pattern around the world.

In the Asia-Pacific region, a religiously diverse area with a wide variety of religious practices, 17 out of 20 countries show no significant contrasts. However, the three nations in that region that do show differences – South Korea, Australia and Japan – have some of the world’s biggest gaps. In South Korea, 39% of younger adults are affiliated with a religious group, compared with 63% of their elders, a difference of 24 points. In Australia, the gap is 23 points (43% vs. 66%), and in Japan it is 18 points (31% vs. 49%). In many other countries in the region, such as Pakistan, India and Indonesia, affiliation is all but universal across both age groups.

There is a particularly large gap in religious affiliation – 28 percentage points – in Canada (49% of adults under 40 and 77% of older adults are affiliated). The U.S. differential is smaller, though still considerable at 17 points (66% vs. 83%).

In the average country out of 35 in Europe, there is a 10-point difference between the share of younger adults who identify with a religion (75%) and the share of older adults who do (85%), with the Scandinavian countries of Denmark, Norway and Sweden each showing gaps of 20 points or more. In the Latin America-Caribbean region, the average country has a gap of 6 points (87% vs. 93%), with Uruguay and the Dominican Republic exhibiting large differences.

Averaging the national percentages in each of the 106 countries surveyed yields a global picture that clearly reinforces the regional patterns: The share of younger adults in the average country worldwide who claim a religion is 85%, compared with 90% among people ages 40 or older. 16
Importance of religion: Older adults regard religion as less important in only two countries

Asking people about their affiliation is a basic way to measure a society’s overall attachment to religion. Asking respondents how important religion is in their lives goes one step further, and may be the most direct way to gauge the intensity of that connection. While this question does not directly measure any particular religious practice, it correlates well with more concrete measures – and also has an advantage in that it works equally well across many different religious groups, which is not the case for some specific measures of belief and practice.

Younger adults in many different parts of the world are less likely than their elders to say that religion is “very important” to them. This is a particularly prevalent theme in Latin America, where age gaps appear in 14 out of 19 countries. It is also common in Europe, where 19 out of 35 countries show significant gaps. The United States and Canada also post larger-than-average differences.

There are even significant age gaps in four out of nine countries surveyed in the Middle East-North Africa region, where younger and older adults are almost universally affiliated.

In the Asia-Pacific region, there is no significant difference between age groups in 15 out of 20 countries surveyed, although – as on the affiliation question – South Korea and Japan again are among the countries where the young are less religious. And in sub-Saharan Africa, younger and older adults tend to give similar responses when asked about the importance of religion in most of the 21 countries surveyed.

Globally, adults under 40 are less likely to say that religion is very important in their lives in 46 out of 106 nations, while adults who are 40 or older are less likely to say this in only two countries. In 58 countries, there is no significant difference.

When the national percentages are averaged across all of the countries with available data, younger adults are 6 percentage points less likely than their elders to say religion is “very important” in their lives.

In Latin America, the average country has a gap of 10 points. While the average age gap in Europe is somewhat smaller (7 points), the region is home to two of the world’s biggest country-level gaps: Poland, where 16% of adults under 40 and 40% of older people say religion is very important to them, and Greece (41% vs. 63%). There is also a 7-point gap in the average Middle Eastern country, led by Lebanon (20-point gap) and Algeria (12 points).

In a couple of countries (Georgia and Ghana), the age gap goes against the global pattern; in these places, young adults are more religious than their elders by this measure. For example, in Ghana – where young adults are also more likely to be affiliated – 91% of younger adults say religion is very important in their lives, compared with 85% of older adults.

Looking at specific religious groups, half (50%) of younger Christians in the average country – in contrast to 56% of those in the older age group – say religion is very important in their lives. The gap between younger and older Muslims in the average country is 3 percentage points, with 76% of those under 40 and 79% of those ages 40 and older saying that religion is very important.

Viewed another way, in roughly half the countries where data are available on Christians (37 out of 78), young Christian adults are significantly less likely than older Christians to say religion is very important to them.

Muslims’ responses about the importance of religion in their lives show less of a consistent age gap. Young Muslims in 10 countries surveyed are less likely than their elders to ascribe a high level of importance to religion, while in 32 other countries, there is no significant difference.
Weekly religious service attendance: Young adults worship less often in both Christian and Muslim populations

Young adults are, on the whole, less likely than their elders to say they attend religious services every week.

Lower attendance among young adults is especially pervasive in Latin America, where it is seen in 17 out of 19 countries, and in North America, where both the U.S. and Canada show substantial gaps. The pattern also applies to more than half of the countries surveyed in the Middle East-North Africa region and in Europe.

Globally, younger adults are less likely to attend prayer services than their elders in 53 out of 102 countries surveyed, while the opposite is true in just three – Liberia, Rwanda and Armenia. Liberia is a major outlier by this measure; younger Liberians are much more likely than their older compatriots to say they worship at least weekly (85% vs. 66%). One reason for this could be that recent civil wars in Liberia may have affected levels of religious commitment differently among older and younger Liberians (for more on this theory, see sidebar below).

Unusual age patterns in religious commitment linked to violent conflict

While the general trend throughout the world is for younger people to enjoy more peace and prosperity than previous generations – forming the basis for one possible explanation for the persistent age gap in religious commitment – this is not always the case. In fact, the few countries where young adults are more religious than their elders all have something in common: a recent history of violent conflicts leading to civilian deaths.17

Any number of possible factors may explain these exceptional cases, and each country has its own set of unique circumstances. But it may be that conditions in these places were at least somewhat more stable when older adults were coming of age, and the existential insecurity experienced by younger adults explains why they are more religious. Indeed, research has found that religious identity is more likely to be influenced by events in early adulthood than later.18

In Liberia, younger adults are more likely than older adults to pray every day and attend weekly religious services. These age groups also differ in their affiliations: Younger Liberians are almost exclusively Christian or Muslim (96%), but a considerable minority of Liberians ages 40 and older (29%) identify with an ancestral, animist, tribal or other traditional African religion.19 Liberia has experienced two civil wars within the lifetimes of younger adults, one from 1989 to 1997 and the other from 1999 to 2003. The survey in Liberia was conducted in 2009; all adults under 40 in the survey would have been born after 1969, with most coming of age during wartime.

In addition, younger adults in Ghana – where clan-based violence over royal succession killed more than 2,000 people in the early 1990s – are more likely to be affiliated and to say that religion is very important. In Rwanda, where government forces and militias killed over 500,000 people and displaced millions in 1994, younger adults attend religious services more frequently than older adults. And in Chad, which has experienced violent conflicts involving the government, rebel groups and neighboring countries for decades, younger adults are more likely to identify with a religion and pray every day.

Not all of the examples are in Africa: Younger adults in Georgia say religion is very important to them more often than older adults do. Georgia has experienced a secessionist war in Abkhazia and a conflict with Russia in the past three decades, although the fall of the Soviet Union may also be a factor in religious differences by age. Older adults in Georgia mostly came of age during the Soviet period, when religion was repressed – including by Georgian-born leader Joseph Stalin.

At the same time, other countries have experienced conflict during the same period and do not show these types of patterns. In Bosnia-Herzegovina and Israel, for example, any differences in which younger adults may appear more religious are not statistically significant. And, in the Palestinian territories and the Democratic Republic of Congo, younger adults have experienced a great deal of armed conflict but still follow the prevailing global pattern of being less religious than their elders.

In the average country around the world, adults under 40 are 6 percentage points less likely than older people to say they go to worship services weekly (36% vs. 42%).

Again, by this measure, gap sizes vary by region. In sub-Saharan Africa, younger and older adults attend at similarly high rates (averages of 78% and 79%, respectively). But in the average country in the Middle East-North Africa region, just 44% of young adults say they are weekly attenders – well below the 55% average of those ages 40 and older who describe themselves this way. The average country’s age gap in worship attendance in this overwhelmingly Muslim region is similar to the one in the predominantly Christian Latin America region (38% vs. 48%) There also is a 6-point gap in the average country in the religiously diverse Asia-Pacific region (31% vs. 37%).

In Europe, weekly attendance is less common overall, but there is still an age gap (10% vs. 16%). And Poland stands out as having by far the largest gap among all countries surveyed: 26% of Polish adults under 40 say they attend religious services weekly, compared with 55% of their elders. The unusually large age gap in Poland may be due to the Catholic Church’s association with nationalism, Polish identity and resistance to the Soviet Union during Poland’s communist period; younger Poles did not experience this period firsthand, but it may have had a lasting impact among the older generation.20

Adults under 40 in Colombia, another predominantly Catholic country, also are much less likely than their elders to go to church regularly. And there are similar patterns in different religious contexts in the Muslim-majority countries of Iran, Jordan and Tunisia.

Indeed, at the global level, younger Muslims attend mosque less frequently, on average, than older Muslims, just as younger Christians attend church less often than older Christians.

Measuring religious observance by weekly attendance at worship services does not work equally well for all major religious groups. While it is generally a reliable measure of religious norms within Abrahamic faiths (Christianity, Islam and Judaism), it may be less well suited for Buddhism, Hinduism and other Eastern religions.21

For Hindus, data are only available from the U.S.; the 11-point gap in weekly attendance between older and younger American Hindus is not necessarily representative of Hindus globally, since the vast majority of the world’s Hindus live in India.
Daily prayer: Large age gaps in the Americas

The generational divide in religious commitment is most apparent when examining daily prayer. Not only is it the measure with the highest number of countries with an age gap, but it is also the measure by which the average country has the biggest gap globally.

Young adults are less likely to pray daily in all 19 countries surveyed in Latin America, in both the U.S. and Canada, and in 27 out of 35 European countries. Gaps also exist in several countries in the Asia-Pacific region, the Middle East-North Africa region and sub-Saharan Africa. Overall, the pattern holds in 71 out of 105 countries surveyed.

In the U.S., 44% of young adults engage in daily prayer, compared with 62% of those ages 40 and older. Canadians in both age groups pray less than their American counterparts, yet they also have a large age gap, with 16% of younger and 30% of older adults praying daily. There also are double-digit differences between the average shares of older and younger adults who pray daily in Latin America, the Middle East and Europe.

In sub-Saharan Africa, again, the average country’s gap is negligible at 3 percentage points, with high rates of daily prayer among both younger and older adults (74% vs. 77%). Similar to religious service attendance, Liberia bucks the global pattern – young Liberians are more likely than older Liberians to pray daily. This is also the case in Chad, where young adults also are more likely to be religiously affiliated.

Despite regional variations, the global pattern is clear: In the average country, across 105 countries surveyed, fewer than half of adults under 40 (44%) say they pray at least once a day, while most people ages 40 and older (54%) do this. 22

Some of the countries with especially large age gaps in daily prayer are highly religious overall, while others are not. For example, in Nicaragua, young adults are 17 percentage points less likely to say they pray daily than older Nicaraguans (67% vs. 83%). Finland has a similarly sized gap of 15 points, even though daily prayer is far less common among Finns in both age groups (8% vs. 23%).

An age gap in daily prayer is also found within multiple religious groups. Overall, young Christian adults are less likely to pray daily in 48 countries – a solid majority of the 77 countries with a sufficient sample of Christians to analyze. In the average country, 42% of young Christians pray daily, compared with 51% of older Christians. For Muslims, there is a significant age gap in daily prayer in 16 of 41 countries with data, with an average gap of 7 percentage points across those countries.

There is a similar age gap among Hindus in India (74% vs. 81%) – where more than 90% of the world’s Hindus live – and an even larger one among Hindus in the U.S. (39% vs. 62%). (India and the U.S. are the only countries with a sufficient number of Hindu respondents to enable comparisons between age groups.)

Among Jews in both the U.S. and Israel, there is no significant age gap in daily prayer, perhaps in part because Orthodox Jews – who tend to have more children – make up a growing share of both Jewish populations, and thus a larger percentage of young Jewish adults.