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?
Rough start to your day? Well, at least you didn’t sleep through your morning television show…
This should give First Lady Michelle Obama something to smile about: a new study finds obesity rates among preschoolers have fallen in 19 states during the past three years and held steady in another 20 states during the same time period.
In other health news, a recent study finds one reason folks don’t understand the 2010 health care law may be that they don’t fully understand how their health insurance works now. In the survey conducted by economists at Carnegie Mellon, only 14 percent showed they understood deductibles, copays, coinsurance, and caps on out-of-pocket payments. The PRRI/Brookings Economic Values Survey found that Americans were divided over whether the 2010 health care law should be repealed and eliminated or not, but nearly 1-in-5 (17 percent) Americans said they were not sure, reflecting significant confusion about the law.
Not only are women more likely than men to have college degrees, they are also more likely to be buying permanent places to hang them. Single women are twice as likely to buy their own homes as single men. The National Association of Realtors reports single women accounted for 16 percent of home buyers last year, well ahead of single men, who accounted for nine percent.
What lengths would you go to for a croissant? Well, that’s nothing compared to this 12-year-old French girl, who wrote $3,400 in bad checks to pay for candy and pastries.