Tuesday, September 27, 2011
One explanation, for which the article cites the Brookings Institution's analysis, of the shift in regional unemployment rates relative to the rest of the country is that the auto-industry of the Rust Belt may be slightly improving from the hard hit it took at the start of the recession. The plummeting value of homes in the Sun Belt and Western states, on the other hand, have not improved.
Income was also an important factor; uninsured rates were higher among those in lower income brackets. Households with incomes of less than $25,000 were more than 3 times as likely to be uninsured than members of households with incomes of $75,000 or more.
Racial minorities and individuals born abroad were also more likely to be uninsured. Noncitizens had the highest uninsured rates with 45.1% lacking coverage. Naturalized citizens fared better, with 20% lacking coverage. About 11% of non-Hispanic whites were insured for all of 2010. Racial minorities were not as likely to have coverage; the uninsured rate for Hispanics Asians, and blacks was significantly higher, with 30.7%, 18.1%, and 20.8% lacking coverage, respectively.
Monday, September 26, 2011
Public Loses Confidence in Congressional Leaders and Ability to Handle Deficit; Republican Leaders Hardest Hit
Sunday, September 25, 2011
Friday, September 23, 2011
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Residents pointed at the closing of textile mills as one of the central causes of the decline. The Times writes: "The number of workers in manufacturing alone fell by a quarter in the county from 2005 to 2009, according to a census survey of employers." The mills were not alone responsible for the devastating decline, however, as layoffs from "a foundry, restaurants and construction companies [also] pummeled the county’s residents." According to the Times, the "decline also engulfed the middle class." Median household income fell by 28 percent over the period--a loss of nearly $12,000 in annual earnings.
A closer look at the county's social demographic characteristics might worry people around the country, as by many indications Greenwood residents are not so different from the average American. Over a quarter of residents had at least some college education in 2009, close to the 27 percent nationally. And Greenwood contains a number of institutions that can be as sprouting--or having sprouted--from economic success; the county "has a public university, which grants four-year degrees, a museum and a shopping mall."
But the economy does not appear to be improving in Greenwood. Unless it does, residents will be forced to do what they can to stay afloat. Writes the Times: "Apache Pawn and Gun, a pawn shop in town, is packed with items sold by people trying to make ends meet."
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
A Gallup Poll earlier this month found Americans' estimation of money wasted by the federal government at an all-time high. The poll asked a random sample of Americans to estimate how many cents the federal government wastes per tax dollar they spend. The responses averaged 51 cents wasted per tax dollar. Although similar to 2009's estimate of 50 cents, this is the first time since the survey began in 1979 that Americans have indicated that more than half of federal spending is wasteful. The estimation was lowest in 1986, with Americans estimating that 38 cents per dollar were wasted by the federal government. Americans have consistently perceived the federal government as more wasteful than both state and local governments, however these estimates are increasing as well.
Although estimates did not vary largely across political affiliations, they were influenced by more general ideologies. Conservatives were much more likely than liberals to view federal government spending as wasteful, with conservatives estimating 56 cents of every dollar and liberals estimating 44. In addition to conservatives, senior citizens and Americans with less formal education had high estimations. Americans aged 65 and older had an average estimate of 56 cents wasted per dollar, greater than that of 18- to 29-year-olds by 10 cents. Americans with a high school education or less had an average estimate of 52 cents wasted per dollar, 7 cents higher than the average estimates of Americans with postgraduate educations.
Plurality of Americans Favor Palestinian State, but Sympathy Rests With Israel; Divisions Drawn Along Partisan Lines
The numbers, however, change within partisan groups. A much higher percentage of Democrats (54%) say they are in favor of U.S. recognition, while only 14% oppose the action; and the numbers are similarly skewed among independents, 45% of whom are in favor of recognition and only 28% opposed. But there are more Republicans (38%) who believe the U.S. should not recognize Palestine than there are those who believe it should (27%).
Views similarly fall along partisan lines when respondents are asked with which population they sympathize more. On the whole, 40% of Americans say they sympathize more with Israel, as compared with 10% who sympathize more with Palestinians; 21% say they do not sympathize with either side; and 25% express no opinion. The percentages are nearly unchanged since 1978.Far more Republicans (62%) sympathize with Israel than with Palestinians (4%), especially when compared to other partisan groups. 27% of Democrats sympathize with Israel and 15% with Palestinians; and among independents, 41% sympathize more with Israel than Palestinians (10%).
The report also addresses the "low visibility of the Israel-Palestinian dispute." According to the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ), coverage of the issue has been limited. Pew writes: "Last week, less than 2% of all news coverage was devoted to the debate over Palestinian statehood, far less than the amount of coverage devoted to the U.S. economy (20%) or the 2012 presidential campaign (12%)."
The survey was conducted in anticipation of the planned UN debate on Palestinian statehood this week.
The Pew Research Center recently reported on the demographic changes in political party affiliation since 2008. Obama’s approval ratings have decreased drastically since his election, as has the percentage of registered Democrats.
Although the amount of registered Republican voters has remained at 28%, the Democratic Party is losing voters to Independents (now 34%), a higher percentage of which now lean Republican (11% then and 16% now). This is the highest percentage of people identifying as independent since the late 1930s, when party identification was first measured.
The increase in Republican-identified respondents mainly comes from white voters (a 12-point lead in 2011). There has been no change in African American or Hispanic party affiliation—the majority of which continue to identify as Democrats (86% of African Americans, and 64% of Hispanics).
What is surprising is the change in the age of Republican voters. In 2008, democrats held a 28-point lead among young voters, which has fallen to a 13-point lead. Currently, among those born after 1980, the Democratic Party has a 13-point edge on the Republican Party (52% to 39%), down significantly from their 32-point edge three years ago. In 2008, Republicans held a 2-point lead among seniors, which has increased to 12 points.
Also unexpected are the gains made by the GOP among voters with family incomes of less than $75,000 a year. In 2008, Democrats held a 12-point advantage among middle income voters ($30,000 - $74,999), but now just as many identify with the Republican Party as with the Democratic Party. The Republican advantage among whites with a high school education or less has grown from one point in 2008 to 17 points in 2011.
The GOP has also made gains among men, reaching 21 points in 2011, ten points higher than in 2008. They now also have a five-point lead among white women, a stark reversal from the seven-point Democratic lead in 2008.