This collection on American democracy challenges and complements blog posts and opinion pieces that are typical staples of the 24/7 news cycle in the lead up to US elections. You'll find reports about election and campaign administration, voting access and participation, government performance and perceptions, the role of the media in civil society, and more.

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"VOTE!" by Paul Sableman licensed under CC BY 2.0

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Social Media Seen as Mostly Good for Democracy Across Many Nations, But U.S. is a Major Outlier

December 6, 2022

As people across the globe have increasingly turned to Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and other platforms to get their news and express their opinions, the sphere of social media has become a new public space for discussing – and often arguing bitterly – about political and social issues. And in the mind of many analysts, social media is one of the major reasons for the declining health of democracy in nations around the world.However, as a new Pew Research Center survey of 19 advanced economies shows, ordinary citizens see social media as both a constructive and destructive component of political life, and overall most believe it has actually had a positive impact on democracy. Across the countries polled, a median of 57% say social media has been more of a good thing for their democracy, with 35% saying it has been a bad thing.There are substantial cross-national differences on this question, however, and the United States is a clear outlier: Just 34% of U.S. adults think social media has been good for democracy, while 64% say it has had a bad impact. In fact, the U.S. is an outlier on a number of measures, with larger shares of Americans seeing social media as divisive.

Most Latinos Say Democrats Care About Them and Work Hard for Their Vote, Far Fewer Say So of GOP

September 29, 2022

ew Research Center conducted this study to understand the nuances of Hispanic political identity, Hispanics' views about some of the political issues being discussed in the U.S. today, and their interest in the upcoming 2022 midterm elections.For this analysis, we surveyed 7,647 U.S. adults, including 3,029 Hispanics, from Aug. 1-14, 2022. This includes 1,407 Hispanic adults on Pew Research Center's American Trends Panel (ATP) and 1,622 Hispanic adults on Ipsos' KnowledgePanel. Respondents on both panels are recruited through national, random sampling of residential addresses. Recruiting panelists by phone or mail ensures that nearly all U.S. adults have a chance of selection. This gives us confidence that any sample can represent the whole population, or in this case the whole U.S. Hispanic population. (See our "Methods 101" explainer on random sampling for more details.)To further ensure the survey reflects a balanced cross-section of the nation's Hispanic adults, the data is weighted to match the U.S. Hispanic adult population by age, gender, education, nativity, Hispanic origin group and other categories.

Black Americans Have a Clear Vision for Reducing Racism but Little Hope It Will Happen

August 30, 2022

Pew Research Center conducted this analysis to understand the nuances among Black people on issues of racial inequality and social change in the United States. This in-depth survey explores differences among Black Americans in their views on the social status of the Black population in the U.S.; their assessments of racial inequality; their visions for institutional and social change; and their outlook on the chances that these improvements will be made. The analysis is the latest in the Center's series of in-depth surveys of public opinion among Black Americans (read the first, "Faith Among Black Americans" and "Race Is Central to Identity for Black Americans and Affects How They Connect With Each Other").The online survey of 3,912 Black U.S. adults was conducted Oct. 4-17, 2021. Black U.S. adults include those who are single-race, non-Hispanic Black Americans; multiracial non-Hispanic Black Americans; and adults who indicate they are Black and Hispanic. The survey includes 1,025 Black adults on Pew Research Center's American Trends Panel (ATP) and 2,887 Black adults on Ipsos' KnowledgePanel. Respondents on both panels are recruited through national, random sampling of residential addresses.Recruiting panelists by phone or mail ensures that nearly all U.S. Black adults have a chance of selection. This gives us confidence that any sample can represent the whole population (see our Methods 101 explainer on random sampling). 

Civic Participation

Abortion Rises in Importance as a Voting Issue, Driven by Democrats

August 23, 2022

Pew Research Center conducted this study to understand how the public views control of Congress, issues for the upcoming midterm elections and confidence in how the elections will be conducted. For this analysis, we surveyed 7,647 adults, including 5,681 registered voters, from Aug. 1-14, 2022. The survey was primarily conducted on the Center's nationally representative American Trends Panel, with an oversample of Hispanic adults from Ipsos' KnowledgePanel.Respondents on both panels are recruited through national, random sampling of residential addresses. This way nearly all U.S. adults have a chance of selection. The survey is weighted to be representative of the U.S. adult population by gender, race, ethnicity, partisan affiliation, education and other categories. See the Methodology section for additional details

Campaigns and Elections

As Partisan Hostility Grows, Signs of Frustration With the Two-Party System

August 9, 2022

Pew Research Center conducted this study to better understand Americans' feelings about the country's major political parties and the reasons why they choose to affiliate with or lean toward a party. For this analysis, we surveyed 6,174 U.S. adults between June 27 and July 4, 2022. Everyone who took part in this survey is a member of the Center's American Trends Panel (ATP), an online survey panel that is recruited through national, random sampling of residential addresses. This way nearly all U.S. adults have a chance of selection. The survey is weighted to be representative of the U.S. adult population by gender, race, ethnicity, partisan affiliation, education and other categories.

Government

Americans Divided Over Direction of Biden’s Climate Change Policies

July 14, 2022

Pew Research Center conducted this study to understand how Americans view climate, environmental and energy issues. For this analysis, we surveyed 10,282 U.S. adults from May 2 to 8, 2022. Everyone who took part in the survey is a member of the Center's American Trends Panel (ATP), an online survey panel that is recruited through national, random sampling of residential addresses. This way, nearly all U.S. adults have a chance of selection. The survey is weighted to be representative of the U.S. adult population by gender, race, ethnicity, partisan affiliation, education and other categories.

On July Fourth, how Americans see their country and their democracy

June 30, 2022

On the Fourth of July, Americans celebrate the nation's birthday and reflect on the values that have sustained the country in the nearly 250 years since the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. Americans' views vary when it comes to how they see the United States' standing in the world and the state of its democracy. Here are key findings from Pew Research Center surveys.

Government

Politics on Twitter: One-Third of Tweets From U.S. Adults Are Political

June 16, 2022

Pew Research Center conducted this study to gain insight into Twitter users' political engagement, attitudes and behaviors on the platform. For this analysis, we surveyed 2,548 U.S. adult Twitter users in May 2021 about their experiences on the site, as well as how they engage with politics outside of Twitter. Everyone who took part in this survey is a member of the Center's American Trends Panel (ATP) – an online survey panel that is recruited through national, random sampling of residential addresses – and indicated that they use Twitter. In addition to the survey findings, researchers from the Center also examined the actual Twitter profiles of a subset of survey participants who agreed to share their handles for research purposes. First, researchers collected all of the publicly visible tweets posted between May 2020 and May 2021 by these users. Researchers then used a machine learning classifier to identify which of those tweets mentioned politics or political concepts. Second, they collected a random sample of 2,859 accounts followed by at least one of these users – as well as all of the accounts followed by 20 or more respondents – and manually categorized them into different substantive categories based on their profile information.

Civic Participation

Journalists Sense Turmoil in Their Industry Amid Continued Passion for Their Work

June 14, 2022

Much of Pew Research Center's earlier research on the U.S. news environment has focused on the public's news consumption habits and views toward the news media. This major new undertaking was designed to capture the other side of the equation, asking U.S.-based journalists to provide their own perspective on the industry they work in.The main source of data for this study is a Pew Research Center survey of 11,889 U.S.-based journalists who are currently working in the news industry and said that they report, edit or create original news stories in their current job. The survey was conducted online between Feb. 16 and March 17, 2022. 

Media

Americans’ Views of Government: Decades of Distrust, Enduring Support for Its Role

June 6, 2022

Pew Research Center conducted this study to better understand Americans' attitudes about U.S. government. For this analysis, we surveyed 5,074 U.S. adults in April and May 2022. Everyone who took part in this survey is a member of the Center's American Trends Panel (ATP), an online survey panel that is recruited through national, random sampling of residential addresses. This way nearly all U.S. adults have a chance of selection. 

Government

Key facts about the quality of the 2020 census

June 6, 2022

This post analyzes results from the two basic means the Census Bureau has used to estimate census coverage for the last seven censuses – the bureau's Demographic Analysis and its Post-Enumeration Survey. Demographic Analysis (DA) constructs a national estimate of the U.S. population by age, sex, race and Hispanic origin using historical data on births and deaths, federal data on international migration and Medicare records. DA uses the basic demographic accounting equation that the total population is equal to births minus deaths, plus immigration, minus emigration. Birth and death records for 1945-2020 are used to estimate the U.S.-born population under age 75 for Census Day, April 1, 2020. International migration estimates employed a number of data sources, but mainly the American Community Survey for the foreign-born population younger than 75. Finally, administrative data from the Medicare program, adjusted for under-enrollment, was used to estimate the population ages 75 and older on Census Day since these cohorts were born before 1945 when vital records were less complete.Although the main data for DA is administrative records, not sample surveys, there are a number of sources of potential uncertainty, including, for example, registration completeness, classification errors and differences in reporting between the 2020 census and the external data sources. To account for this uncertainty, the Census Bureau produced three alternative estimates – low, middle and high – reflecting alternative assumptions about births, international migration and Medicare enrollment.The Post-Enumeration Survey (PES) in 2020 is a sample survey of about 10,000 census blocks that ultimately included almost 400,000 people. About 160,000 households were interviewed to determine where they lived on Census Day and their basic demographic characteristics. The people in these households were then matched to census records to determine who was counted correctly, missed or counted in error. The PES sample includes only households; it excludes people living in group quarters (such as college dorms, prisons and nursing homes) and the small number of people living in Remote Alaska areas. Consequently, the PES coverage estimates apply to a household population count of 323,200,000 and not the full census count of 331,400,000. As a sample survey, the PES is subject to sampling error, so the Census Bureau reports the PES results with a margin of error.The estimates of the amount of net undercount shown in the final chart were developed by the Pew Research Center using two main data sources: the Census Bureau's PES estimates of the percentage undercount for racial and Hispanic groups in 2010 and 2020 applied to the P.L. 94-171 census counts for these groups.

Civic Participation

Local Newspapers Fact Sheet

May 31, 2022

The transition to digital news consumption has hit the newspaper industry hard in recent years. Some national publications have managed to weather the storm in part by attracting digital subscribers, but many local newspapers have been forced to shutter their doors permanently, especially during the coronavirus pandemic.To gain a clearer picture of how locally focused U.S. newspapers have fared in the digital age, Pew Research Center researchers reexamined data included in the Center's State of the News Media newspapers fact sheet, excluding four publications that reach a large national audience. (Three of these four newspapers reach national audiences in addition to their respective local audiences.) These four publications – The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and USA Today – account for a large share of circulation in the newspaper industry and as such overshadow their locally focused counterparts in the data. Specifically, this analysis looks at economic data from publicly traded newspaper companies' financial statements (2011-2020 for digital advertising revenue and 2013-2020 for total revenues), circulation data from Alliance for Audited Media (2015-2020), and digital audience data from Comscore (2014-2020). This addendum supplements the State of the News Media newspapers fact sheet, which presents the analysis at the overall industry level.

Media