Mark A. Smith is professor of Political Science and an adjunct professor of Comparative Religion and Communication at the University of Washington. His research focuses on economic and religious groups, ideas, and influences in American politics. In his new book, Secular Faith: How Culture Has Trumped Religion in American Politics, Dr. Smith argues that religion is not nearly the unchanging conservative influence in American politics that we have come to think it is and is best understood as responding to changing political and cultural values rather than shaping them.
Welcome to the Morning Buzz, PRRI’s morning dose of religion-related news with a shot of data – because what doesn’t liven up a morning round-up like some public opinion numbers? The “immortality studies” program at UC-Riverside recently received a large financial gift, which is convenient, because Russian scientists say that by 2045, we may be able to live forever.
Bad news for Romney in the latest horserace numbers from Pew, which also provides some historical comparisons. In terms of personal favorability, Obama most closely resembles Dukakis (’88), while Romney most closely resembles Dole (’96) or George H. W. Bush (’92). Note: All of these candidates lost.
A new Washington Post/Pew poll shows why, as John Sides puts it, campaign finance reform is hard: while only 2% of Americans think that spending by outside groups will have a positive effect on the election, only 40% are able to correctly define SuperPACs, while nearly half (46%) have no opinion. But hey, I guess it’s good that only 1% of Americans think a SuperPAC is a smartphone game.
Following Ted Cruz’s victory in Texas, Tea Party activists are declaring that Romney had better start moving to the right.
The House GOP held a hearing yesterday to discuss a bill that would declare English the official language of the United States. As the National Journal points out, immigrants’ ability to speak English can be a flash point for debates over immigration policy. A slim majority (51 percent) of Americans say immigrants do not make an effort to learn English.
A new study from the Economic Policy Institute projects that 28% of workers are expected to hold low-wage jobs in 2020, roughly the same percentage as in 2010. Researchers point out that since low-wage workers are now better educated than they have been in the past, the benefit of a college education is becoming more of an question.
Have you ever thought about poaching restaurant grease to make some cash on the side, but just can’t muster the energy? Perhaps you should consider the world of cardboard theft instead.