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Tuesday, January 18, 2022

International Drop in Trust

Diana Marszalek at Reuters:
The 2022 Edelman Trust Barometer finds faith in government and media continues to drop, perpetuating a cycle of distrust that “threatens societal stability.”

The survey of 36,000 consumers in 28 countries found 48% of respondents view government and 46% view media as divisive forces today, versus business and NGOs which fared better with 31% and 29% respectively.

On top of that, government leaders (42%) and journalists (46%) are the least trusted societal leaders, whereas people have the most confidence in coworkers (74%) and scientists (75%). Most respondents also believe that the government (66%, up nine points) and journalists (67%, up 8 points) are lying to them.

The numbers show a precipitous fall from grace for government, which was the most trusted institution in May 2020 but has dropped 13 points (from 65% to 52%) to third behind business (61%) and NGOs (59%). Only the media (50%) fared worse.

“Government is seen as less competent than business, and we are in a whole new game,” said Edelman CEO Richard Edelman. “We have very big problems and government isn’t seen as able to manage them.”

The collapse in government trust was particularly acute in developed democracies (not one reached a 60-point score), largely pinned to respondents in every one of those countries believing they will be worse off financially in five years — and 85% fear they will lose their jobs to factors including automation. The US ranks 43 in the trust index (a 10-point drop since 2017), 40 points lower than China, at 83.

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Exit Polls

Many posts have discussed issues with survey research.

AEI interviewed Joe Lenski, who conduct the National Election Pool:

AEI: How many people worked on the exit poll in 2020?
Joe Lenski: For presidential general elections or midterms, we typically have people at 700 to 1,000 precinct locations. In 2020, we also had people at 200 early voting centers around the country. We interviewed about 30,000 people by telephone before Election Day to identify by mail and early voters. Every survey you saw in 2020 was some mix of these three modes. Seventy percent of the vote in 2020 was early or by mail. So we increased the number of telephone interviews of by-mail voters and increased the number of early voter locations where we interview people in person. The techniques are the same as an exit poll. We interview people right after they cast their ballot, but now it is during the weeks leading up to the election at early voting centers. So in every survey you see some mix of those three modes.
AEI: How does the process of writing the questionnaire unfold?
Joe Lenski: The exit poll questionnaire is written by a committee made up of the polling directors at the news organizations of the NEP. Three of the four members have to agree to put a question onto the questionnaire. There is usually consensus. The real issue is that you have a limited amount of space on a self-administered questionnaire. Typically, it is a 5.5 by 8.5 piece of paper. It usually fits 18–20 questions. If there is a sufficient sample size, we have multiple versions of the questionnaire. In most states in 2020, we used two versions of the questionnaire. There were four national versions. The questionnaire is basically the same for Election Day voters, for mail and early voters, and for telephone surveys with some adaptations. (See page 3.) 

Sample 2020 Exit Poll Questionnaire Note: The exit pollsters use different questionnaires in different states. This is one of four versions used in Illinois. Source: Edison Research.

Saturday, January 15, 2022

Giving and Volunteering During the Pandemic

 Jeffrey M. Jones at Gallup:

Eighty-one percent of Americans say they donated money to a religious or other charitable organization in the past year, and 56% volunteered time to such an organization. After dipping in April 2020 during the early stages of the pandemic, charitable donations have rebounded and are essentially back to the level measured in 2013 and 2017 surveys.

Volunteer activity also dropped in 2020 but, in contrast to charitable giving, remains lower than it was in pre-pandemic surveys. While lower today than in recent years, the rate of volunteering has been at its current level in the past, most notably during the Great Recession.

With respect to donations, the bounce back from 2020 appears to be confined mostly to secular giving. Forty-four percent of Americans say they gave money to religious organizations in the past year, unchanged from 2020, which was the lowest in Gallup's trend by a significant margin.

Meanwhile, 74% say they gave money to another charitable cause, up from 64% a year ago and essentially the same as the 75% who did so in 2013 and 2017.

Over time, as formal church membership has declined, so too have donations to religious organizations. The 44% of U.S. adults donating to a religious organization nearly matches the 47% who belong to a church, synagogue, mosque or temple.

Friday, January 14, 2022

The "Lincoln-Douglass" Debates!

Gillian Brockell at WP:
Of all the paragraphs in a bill to ban “divisive concepts” from being taught in Virginia public schools, Section B3 may have seemed the most innocuous. After all, it was in the part of the proposal that defined what could actually be taught in history classes, not the myriad things that would be banned or the consequences teachers could face for teaching them, including prosecution and getting fired.

Section B3 of the bill, which was sponsored by Republican freshman Del. Wren Williams, defined what could be taught as “the founding documents,” like the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, excerpts from the Federalist Papers, the writings of the Founding Fathers and Alexis de Tocqueville’s classic “Democracy in America.” Oh, and one more thing: “the first debate between Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.”

It was a clear reference to the famed Lincoln-Douglas debates, one of the high points in this country’s intellectual, moral and civic history, but there’s just one problem: Lincoln did not debate Frederick Douglass.

 By Friday morning, Frederick Douglass was trending on Twitter, and the bill had been withdrawn.

Frederick Douglass: "Those who profess to favor freedom and yet deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters."

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Case on Civic Education

Mark Walsh at Education Week:

Students asserting the right to an adequate civics education have lost their appeal of a federal court ruling that dismissed their suit accusing the state of Rhode Island of failing to prepare them for the duties of citizenship.

Like the federal district judge who had ruled in the case, now known as A.C. v. McKee, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit, in Boston, lauded the student plaintiffs for their effort but ultimately concluded that their suit could not prevail.

“The students have called attention to critical issues of declining civic engagement and inadequate preparation for participation in civic life at a time when many are concerned about the future of American democracy,” a unaninous three-judge appeals panel said in an unanimous Jan. 11 decision.“Nevertheless, the weight of precedent stands in the students’ way here, and they have not stated any viable claim for relief.”
The lawsuit was filed in 2018 on behalf of 14 students, but was also a proposed class action on behalf of all public school students in Rhode Island. It alleged that state officials have failed to provide students with a meaningful opportunity to obtain an adequate education to prepare them to be capable citizens.

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Inflation Redux

 Rachel Siegel at WP:

Prices rose at the fastest pace in 40 years in December, increasing 7 percent over the same period a year ago, and cementing 2021 as a year marked by soaring inflation wrought by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Prices were also up 0.5 percent in December compared to the month before.

Indeed, 2021 went down as the worst year for inflation since 1981, as broken supply chains collided with high consumer demand for used cars and construction materials alike. Higher prices seeped into just about everything households and businesses buy, raising alarms for policymakers at the Federal Reserve and White House that inflation has spread throughout the economy.