Dec. 20, 2012

After Newtown, Modest Change in Opinion about Gun Control

The public’s attitudes toward gun control have shown only modest change in the wake of last week’s deadly shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. Currently, 49% say it is more important to control gun ownership, while 42% say it is more important to protect the right of Americans to own guns. This […]

Dec. 17, 2012

Public Divided over What Newtown Signifies

The shootings at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn. on Friday have drawn widespread public interest. A weekend survey finds that 57% of Americans say they followed news about the tragedy there very closely. That is higher than interest in the shootings at an Aurora, Colo. movie theater in July (49% very closely), though […]

Dec. 17, 2012

Pew Research Year in Review

Take a look at Pew Research Center’s top findings of the year that told us a bigger story about the trends shaping our world.

Dec. 14, 2012

Public Attitudes Toward Gun Control

The Pew Research Center has been tracking attitudes about gun control for nearly 20 years. Our question asks whether it is more important to protect the right of Americans to own guns, or to control gun ownership. Our most recent survey on the issue, conducted July 26-29, 2012, shortly after a gunman killed 12 people […]

Nov. 9, 2012

Behind Gay Marriage Momentum, Regional Gaps Persist

Supporters of same-sex marriage won key victories in several states Tuesday, including the first instances in which laws allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally were approved by voters. This comes at a time when support for same-sex marriage has been on the rise. Across four Pew Research Center surveys this year, 48% of Americans […]

Aug. 22, 2012

The Complicated Politics of Abortion

Abortion has emerged as an issue in the 2012 presidential race, following Missouri GOP Senate candidate Todd Akin’s controversial comments about abortion and “legitimate rape.” In recent years, narrow majorities of the public have consistently said that abortion should be legal in all or most cases. The Democratic Party is widely favored over the GOP […]

Jul. 31, 2012

Two-Thirds of Democrats Now Support Gay Marriage

Jul. 30, 2012

Views on Gun Laws Unchanged After Aurora Shooting

There has been no significant change in public views on the issue of gun control and gun rights following the July 20th shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. Currently, 47% say it is more important to control gun ownership, while 46% say it is more important to protect the rights of Americans […]

May. 23, 2012

Changing Views of Gay Marriage: A Deeper Analysis

President Obama’s recent expression of support for same-sex marriage has highlighted long-term changes in opinion on the issue. In interviews with more than 5,000 adults conducted in 2011-2012, prior to Obama’s announcement, 46% favored gay marriage while 44% were opposed. (See detailed tables for a breakdown among subgroups by year). Four years ago, a majority […]

May. 15, 2012

Obama Support for Gay Marriage Public’s Top Story

President Obama’s expression of support for same-sex marriage proved to be the public’s top news story last week. About a quarter of Americans (26%) say they followed news about Obama’s statements on the divisive topic more closely than any other news, according to the latest weekly News Interest Index survey, conducted May 10-13 among […]

May. 14, 2012

Half Say View of Obama Not Affected by Gay Marriage Decision

Roughly half of Americans (52%) say Barack Obama’s expression of support for gay marriage did not affect their opinion of the president. A quarter (25%) say they feel less favorably toward Obama because of this while 19% feel more favorably. There are wide partisan and age differences in reactions to Obama’s expression of support […]

Apr. 25, 2012

More Support for Gun Rights, Gay Marriage than in 2008 or 2004

Opinions about a pair of contentious social issues, gun control and gay marriage, have changed substantially since previous presidential campaigns. On gun control, Americans have become more conservative; on gay marriage, they have become more liberal. Currently, 49% of Americans say it is more important to protect the rights of Americans to own guns, […]

Apr. 16, 2012

Gay Marriage: The Electorate Changes, and Politics Follow

Seems like just yesterday that opposition to gay marriage was the strategy of choice to rally and energize the conservative base. In the 2004 presidential election, analysts believed that proposed state constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage increased the turnout of socially conservative voters in as many as 11 states, where the measures appeared on the […]

Mar. 30, 2012

Views of Law Enforcement, Racial Progress and News Coverage of Race

The controversy over the death of Trayvon Martin has highlighted issues relating to the treatment of blacks by local police departments, the state of race relations in the U.S. and press coverage of African Americans. Pew Research Center surveys in recent years have covered the opinions of blacks and whites on these and other issues. […]

Mar. 2, 2012

For the Public, It’s Not about Class Warfare, But Fairness

Income inequality has become a major issue in the presidential campaign. A recent Pew Research Center poll, for example, attracted wide attention when it found that as many as 66% of Americans believe there are “very strong” or “strong” conflicts between the rich and the poor, an increase of 19 percentage points since 2009. But […]

Feb. 14, 2012

Public Divided Over Birth Control Insurance Mandate

About six-in-ten Americans (62%) have heard about the proposed federal rule that would require employers, including most religiously affiliated institutions, to cover birth control as part of their health care benefits. Among those aware of the issue, opinion is closely divided over whether these institutions should be given an exemption to the rule if […]

Feb. 7, 2012

Growing Public Support for Same-Sex Marriage

UPDATED FEBRUARY 16, 2012, WITH MORE COMPLETE DATA. As courts and legislatures address the question of whether same-sex couples should be allowed to legally marry, public support for gay marriage continues to grow. Polls in 2011 by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press found that an average of 46% favor allowing […]

Jan. 6, 2012

Continued Majority Support for Death Penalty

Public opinion about the death penalty has changed only modestly in recent years, but there continues to be far less support for the death penalty than there was in the mid-1990s. A survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press and the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, conducted […]