American Opinion: Shifting Attitudes, Records and Firsts In Pew Research Polls For U.S. Public Opinion In 2013

 @natrudy
on October 08 2013 12:38 PM

The Pew Research Center recently compiled a list of 20 facts that trended best on social media, according to their analytics, throughout 2013.

Here are some notable "records" or "firsts" from that list, accompanied by some Pew graphics.

1. For the first time, more Americans were concerned about their civil liberties (47 percent) than protection from terrorism (35 percent).

That’s the first time that Americans have championed the former over the latter since Pew first put the question to Americans in 2004.

That poll came out on July 26, shortly after the revelation that the National Security Agency uses mass surveillance techniques on email and phone records, in co-operation with Internet giants. Seventy percent of Americans believed then that the government uses data it collects for purposes other than investigating terrorism.

2. For the first time, a slim majority of Americans (52 percent) favored legalizing marijuana, with 45 percent criticizing that view.

In 1969, a Gallup survey found that 12 percent favored legalization, with 84 percent opposed. Now millennials -- those aged from 18 to 32 -- were the most fervently in favor, though baby boomers increasingly leaned toward legalization.

Fewer people think smoking cannabis is immoral, and fewer people consider it as a “gateway” to other drugs.

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3. Mothers are increasingly the sole breadwinners, as a record 40 percent of households with children under 18 rely on mothers as main sources of income.

That population of working mothers is split between married mothers who earn more than their husbands (37 percent), and single mothers (63 percent). The former tend to be white, older and have college degrees: The latter are disproportionately young, black or Hispanic, and without higher education.

4. A record 37.6 million people older than 5 speak Spanish at home. Chinese comes next, with 2.8 million speakers, with South Asian languages like Hindi and Urdu placing third with 2.2 million speakers.

Spanish is the most spoken non-English language in U.S. households, even among non-Hispanic families, Pew found. About 2.8 million non-Hispanics speak Spanish at home.

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5. Last but not least, 65 percent of Americans say news organizations focus on unimportant stories and neglect the important stories of the day.  

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See the full list from Pew here.

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