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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Opinions of US-Russia Relations

From Gallup:
As the July 16 meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin approaches, majorities of Republicans and Democrats continue to believe U.S.-Russia relations are more negative than positive -- defining the former Cold War foe as either an enemy or unfriendly to the U.S. However, the percentage of Republicans calling Russia a friend or ally is up sharply since 2014, from 22% to 40%. Meanwhile, Democrats' views of the relationship have changed little, with 25% today vs. 28% in 2014 defining it positively.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

News on Mobile Devices

From Pew:
Mobile devices have become one of the most common ways Americans get news, outpacing desktop or laptop computers. Roughly six-in-ten U.S. adults (58%) often get news on a mobile device, 19 percentage points higher than the 39% who often get news on a desktop or laptop computer, according to a Pew Research Center survey.
The share of Americans who often get news on a mobile device is nearly triple the 21% who did so in 2013. At the same time, the portion of Americans who often get news on a desktop has remained relatively stable, with 39% of adults often getting news on a desktop or laptop computer, up just 4 percentage points from 2013.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Lazy Astroturfing

David Martosko at The Daily Mail:
Judge Brett Kavanaugh is going into the Supreme Court confirmation process with a hail of rhetorical arrows zinging by him, including a phony letter-writing campaign aimed at unsuspecting American newspaper editors

At least 21 papers were duped last week, including big-market brands like the Dallas Morning News and The Washington Times. They ran identical letters over a four-day period, each signed by a different person.
The effort is an example of public-relations 'astroturfing,' a technique meant to simulate genuine grassroots support for an idea or cause.
The form letter is one small piece of the message minefield erupting around Kavanaugh as he prepares for a brutal confirmation process that will end with scant support from Democrats.

It begins by declaring that 'Brett Kavanaugh is the wrong choice to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court. If he is confirmed to the Supreme Court, everything that we hold dear as a nation will be at stake.'

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Income Inequality and Demographic Groups

From Pew:
Income inequality – the gap in incomes between the rich and poor – has increased steadilyin the United States since the 1970s. By one measure, the gap between Americans at the top and the bottom of the income ladder increased 27% from 1970 to 2016. However, the rise in inequality within America’s racial and ethnic communities varies strikingly from one group to another, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of government data.
In this analysis, which draws on data from the American Community Survey and U.S. decennial censuses, income inequality is measured using the 90/10 ratio – the income of those at the high end (90th percentile) of the income distribution relative to the income of those at the low end (10th percentile). “Income” refers to the resources available to a person based on the income of their household, whether the person had personal earnings or not. Thus, people’s incomes are represented by their household’s income adjusted for household size. (See the report methodology for details.)
The top-to-bottom income ratio among Asians increased 77% from 1970 to 2016, a far greater increase than among whites (24%), Hispanics (15%) or blacks (7%). As a result, Asians displaced blacks as the most economically divided racial or ethnic group in the U.S. In 1970, income inequality among Asians was roughly on par with whites and Hispanics and significantly less pronounced than it was among blacks. The Asian experience with inequality reflects the fact that the incomes of Asians near the top increased about nine times faster than the incomes of Asians near the bottom from 1970 to 2016, 96% compared with 11%. These were the greatest and the smallest increases in incomes at the two rungs of the ladder among the racial and ethnic groups analyzed.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Homeownership Today

The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University has a report titled The State of the Nation's Housing 2018:
Homeownership rates among young adults today are even lower than in 1988, and the share of cost-burdened renters is significantly higher. Soaring housing costs are largely to blame, with the national median rent rising 20 percent faster than overall inflation in  1990–2016 and the median home price 41 percent faster. Although better housing quality accounts for some of this increase, sharply higher costs for building materials and labor, coupled with limited productivity gains in the homebuilding industry, have made housing
construction considerably more expensive. Land prices have also skyrocketed as population growth in metro areas has intensified demand for well-located sites. In addition, new regulatory barriers have also served to limit the supply of land available for homes and increased the time, complexity, and risks of housing development.

Although the changes in homeownership by race and ethnicity are mostly positive, black households are the one group that has made no appreciable progress (Figure 3). Compared with 1994, black homeownership rates have increased just 0.3 percentage point while white rates have risen 2.2 percentage points, widening the black-white gap to 29.2 percentage points. This disparity is even more troubling given that the gap was 23.5 percentage points in 1983, when the black homeownership rate was 2.6 percentage points higher than today. Although rates for both Hispanics and Asians have risen somewhat since 1994, the disparities with white rates are still substantial at 26.1 percentage points and 16.5 percentage points, respectively.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Class and College Opportunity

Ben Miller at the Center for American Progress:
High-achieving students from lesser means offer the most stark example of the pernicious effect of money and class on college opportunity. The new data show that the students in the lowest SES quintile with the highest scores on a math skills assessment developed for the survey enroll in college at a rate 18 percentage points lower than their peers in the highest SES quintile with similarly high scores.
But it is important to look beyond the high-achieving, low-SES students. Otherwise, it’s easy to ignore the extent to which the postsecondary education system closes off opportunities for students who come from less privileged backgrounds unless they have top-notch academic outcomes—even as wealthier students with so-so grades and test scores benefit from the opportunity to attend college.
Eighty-eight percent of the students in the highest SES quintile with a high school GPA from 2.0 to 2.99 enrolled in college, compared with just 61 percent of students in the lowest SES quintile with the same marks. Similarly, 73 percent of the students in the highest SES quintile with the lowest math test scores enrolled in college—nearly double the 41 percent of students in the lowest SES quintile.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Political Participation on Social Media

In the past year, 34% of Americans have taken part in a group on social media that shares an interest in an issue or cause, while a similar share (32%) says they have encouraged others to take action on an issue that is important to them. Smaller shares have used these platforms recently to find information about rallies or protests happening in their area, change their profile picture to show their support for a cause, or use hashtags related to a political or social issue. Taken together, 53% of U.S. adults have engaged in at least one of these activities on social media in the last year.