Research Digest

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Is there a future for survey research?

Survey and public opinion research has been around for more than 80 years, and never before has it been so ubiquitous, and never before has it faced such threats to its core tenets and legitimacy in today’s politicized and digital world.  In his annual address to the American Association of Public Opinion Research Conference in Orlando in May, President Scott Keeter reviews the threats and opportunities facing survey research today.  He concludes with three key things that must be done to keep survey research relevant for democracy. Read the full story.

The generation gap returns in the US.

In the June 22nd New York Times, David Leonhardt presents evidence showing the gap between younger and older generations of Americans is now as great as at any time in the past three decades, in terms of economic well-being, as well as attitudes about government and social issues such as immigration and gay marriage.  In the short term this could be a key factor in the November election, but could also have longer term implications as a generation of young people who are more socially liberal and open to activist government become future leaders and start voting in greater numbers. This gap is not nearly as evident in Canada, at least in terms of public opinion of young and old (see Focus Canada). Read the full story.

Egyptian public opinion and the Arab Spring

Survey research often confirms conventional wisdom, but sometimes uncovers surprising and even transformative insights.  A great example can be found in a recent TED talk by Gallup researcher Daila Mogahed on Egyptian attitudes and hopes leading up the Arab Spring uprising. While the results are now more than a year old, they may anticipate public reaction to the recent election and what happens next. See the Ted Talk here.

Manning Centre releases latest survey on conservatism in Canada

The Calgary-based Manning Centre has recently published its second annual public opinion survey on the state of conservative movement in Canada. It concludes there is both positive and sobering news for conservatives. What does this research really tell us? See their report and decide for yourself.

Canada remains number one in the eyes of Americans

The latest Gallup poll (February 2012) measuring American's opinion of other countries puts Canada at the top of the list – 96% of Americans have a favourable view of its neighbor to the north, up 4 percentage points since 2011 and now the highest level since 1988 (the lowest being 86% in 2005). Next most popular are Australia (93%), Great Britain (90%) and Germany (90%), with lower numbers for such countries as France (75%), Israel (71%), Mexico (51%) and China (41%). Read more.

What do American Jews value and believe in? A new in-depth portrait

Most religious groups tend to be viewed through the lens of stereotypes, and survey research can help broaden our understanding. A good example of this is a recent survey of 1,004 American Jews (both religious and secular) conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute.

This research is presented as the most comprehensive survey of its kind conducted by a non-Jewish research organization, and looks at how Jewish values, experiences and identity are shaping political beliefs and behavior and influencing social action in the Jewish community and beyond. This research confirms the centrality of some core Jewish values around social justice, but also reveals attitudes that don't conform to stereotypes. See the details

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