The findings from the survey, conducted between Feb. 22 and March 8, 2018, reveal that even this basic task presents a challenge. The main portion of the study, which measured the public’s ability to distinguish between five factual statements and five opinion statements, found that a majority of Americans correctly identified at least three of the five statements in each set. But this result is only a little better than random guesses. Far fewer Americans got all five correct, and roughly a quarter got most or all wrong. Even more revealing is that certain Americans do far better at parsing through this content than others. Those with high political awareness, those who are very digitally savvy and those who place high levels of trust in the news media are better able than others to accurately identify news-related statements as factual or opinion.
Now in its 5th year, the National League of Cities’ annual State of the Cities report provides an in-depth analysis of mayoral speeches. The analysis pinpoints specific tactics and policies, as well as broader policy directions, and finds that:
- Economic development is the most prevalent major policy issue across mayoral speeches (58%) and has been for the past 5 years.
- Infrastructure, budgets and housing rise in importance this year, overtaking public safety. Mayors offered more detailed infrastructure plans this year, while presenting a narrower scope of discussion on public safety.
- Economic development, infrastructure, budgets, housing and public safety are consistently the top issues for the 5th year in a row.
Five years ago this month, news organizations broke stories about federal government surveillance of phone calls and electronic communications of U.S. and foreign citizens, based on classified documents leaked by then-National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden. The initial stories and subsequent coverage sparked a global debate about surveillance practices, data privacy and leaks.
Here are some key findings about Americans’ views of government information-gathering and surveillance, drawn from Pew Research Center surveys since the NSA revelations:
The unemployment rate, adjusted or otherwise, is a useful metric for economists, but it doesn’t quite capture how we tend to think about employment and joblessness in our day-to-day lives. What about your cousin who wants a gig but gave up looking a few months back? As far as the U-3 is concerned, your cousin isn’t in the labor force, so he isn’t part of the official unemployment rate.