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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Measuring the Emotional Impact of the BP Oil Spill

The amount of emotional distress brought to the U.S. Gulf Coast as a result of the BP oil spill is no doubt difficult to measure. Psychiatrists and mental health professionals have been reporting an increase in the number of Gulf Coast residents seeking mental health services. But those estimates don't include the many, one would assume, that are silently suffering without asking for help.

Our lead story this morning documents what residents of Gulf Coast-facing counties told our interviewers about their overall emotional health, depression, stress, worry, and sadness in the 15 weeks following April 20.

As our Dan Witters reports: "Residents of Gulf Coast-facing counties reported 25.6% more clinical diagnoses of depression in the period after the oil spill compared with before it," as well as "measurable increases in these negative emotions that their inland counterparts and residents of non-Gulf Coast states did not."

Not only is our survey the most comprehensive to date to measure the emotional impact of the oil spill, we have the benefit of having asked the very same questions in the very same areas, both before the spill and after it. This provides a clear benchmark for how things looked before the calamity. Residents of Gulf Coast-facing counties reported significantly more depression, stress, worry, and sadness after the spill compared with before. We've found these measures to be generally stable over time, adding to the significance of the changes we've documented in this case.

Because the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index also measures satisfaction with one's community, we were able to gauge how that changed as well. Witters reports, "Satisfaction with the 'city or area where you live' also declined modestly after the oil spill in the Gulf Coast-facing states, as did the percentage of people who believe that their city or area is 'getting better as a place to live.'" These findings will, no doubt, add layers of concern and urgency to those already worried about Gulf Coast residents leaving for good.

All of the questions included in this story are core items we ask daily. This means we'll continue to track over time how Gulf Coast residents fare going forward. Mental health professionals, community leaders, and residents would no doubt like to see these measures return to prior levels or even improve with time. We'll track it for you and report back.

To stay up to date on all of our wellbeing discoveries, bookmark our wellbeing page and sign up to receive wellbeing news via e-mail alert or RSS.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Weekly Hot List

Fast facts from Gallup related to top stories in the news:

Long-Gone Recession? 82% in August said it was still ongoing

Job Market Reality: 88% say it is a bad time to find a quality job

United Nations: 31% in February said the U.N. was doing a good job

U.S. Approval Abroad: 2010 brings gains and losses in Asia and Africa

Gays in the Military: 70% favor allowing openly gay men and women to serve

To get all of our stories, sign up for All Gallup Headlines via e-mail alert or RSS.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Context for Obama's Visit to the U.N.

U.S. President Barack Obama joins other world leaders at the United Nations this week to discuss progress toward achieving the Millennium Development Goals and U.S. involvement in foreign policy issues more broadly.

Here's some data to keep in mind amid the photo ops and sound bites:

  • Less than one-third of Americans in February said the United Nations is doing a good job of trying to solve the problems it has had to face. That's not a very positive assessment but it's the best it has been since 2005, suggesting its image is recovering from its involvement in the lead-up to the Iraq war.
  • Globally, views of U.S. leadership remain for the most part improved compared with 2008, when former President George W. Bush was in office. Still, new data from 2010 on Asia and Africa find some countries giving back some of the gains seen in 2009. These findings suggest Obama's global honeymoon is likely over and that views worldwide will be influenced by what the U.S. does going forward.
  • Iran and North Korea are also expected to come up in Obama's address, both regarding their nuclear ambitions and the prospect of tougher sanctions against them. Among 20 countries frequently in the news, Iran and North Korea are Americans' two least favorite. Six in 10 Americans see the military power of these nations as a critical threat to the vital interests of the United States.
Overall, the summit is an opportunity for Obama to publicly showcase U.S. efforts in foreign affairs -- the issue on which he currently does best according to the American public. Our lead story on Thursday morning will reveal how much trust Americans have in their government more broadly to handle both international and domestic affairs.

To be sure to get the story and others on these topics as soon as they are published, sign up to receive All Gallup Headlines via e-mail alerts or RSS.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Gallup’s Worldwide U.S. Leadership Approval Watch

Guest blog from Gallup.com Associate Editor Elizabeth Mendes

You can now track U.S. leadership approval ratings, a key measure of how the image of the U.S. is faring abroad, across countries and over time in one place on Gallup.com. Our just-launched "Global Views of U.S. Leadership" interactive allows you to explore U.S. leadership approval ratings from 2008 and 2009 by country and displays full results from 2010 (approve, disapprove, and don’t know/refused).


Gallup tracks approval of U.S. leadership in more than 150 countries and additional 2010 approval data will be published to the interactive throughout the year as soon as it becomes available.

Global views of U.S. leadership shifted significantly -- in a positive direction -- in 2009, during the Obama administration’s first year in office. And now, in 2010, Gallup’s continuous global tracking finds public opinion on the move again, but it is not headed in one clear direction.

Gallup is out today with a new analysis of views on U.S. leadership in Asia based on just-released 2010 data. Among the 18 Asian countries surveyed, Singaporeans are the most approving, at 77%, and Pakistanis are the least, at 18%.

As Gallup’s Cynthia English and Rajesh Srinivasan point out, Pakistan and Afghanistan are the only Asian countries surveyed where majorities disapprove of U.S. leadership. The authors also highlight changes in approval in 2010 versus 2008, revealing substantial increases in Australia and New Zealand.

However, U.S. leadership approval is down in four Arab countries -- Egypt, Algeria, Mauritania, and Lebanon -- so far in 2010, compared with 2009, as Gallup’s Dalia Mogahed reported earlier this year.

Gallup will publish 2010 U.S. leadership approval findings from Africa later this week. To be notified of that article and to receive future articles on this topic delivered directly to you as soon as they publish, sign up for our U.S. Leadership Approval e-mail alerts or RSS feed.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Weekly Hot List

Fast facts from Gallup related to top stories in the news:

Tea Party Voters: 71% in June were more enthusiastic about voting than usual

Stuck in a Slowdown? 54% expect economy to be the same or worse in a year

Confidence Lost: -34 economic confidence score continues slide that began in mid-August

Airlines' Challenge: 41% of Americans have a negative image of the industry more broadly

Pope Plot: 40% approval rating in March was down from 63% in 2008

To get all of our stories, sign up for All Gallup Headlines via e-mail alert or RSS.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Happy Discoveries

The pursuit of happiness is clearly alive and well. Two recent studies on that subject based on Gallup's data have been generating a fair bit of chatter.

A study by behavioral economists and Gallup senior scientists Daniel Kahneman and Angus Deaton reveals that, while people rate their lives more positively the more money they make, day-to-day joy, stress, sadness, anger, and affection increases with pay only up to $75,000 per year. The analysis, based on data from the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, also underscores the extent to which making less money makes life's tough moments tougher. You can read more about these findings from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Reuters, and more.

The other study by the Charities Aid Foundation revealed that happier people worldwide are more likely than wealthy people to give money to charity. The analysts used publicly available Gallup global data to rank 153 countries on a "Global Giving Index," which incorporates the propensity to donate money, volunteer time, and help strangers. You can read more about these findings from BBC News, Time, The Financial Times and more.

To access Gallup's public dataset yourself and make your own discoveries, sign up for free access. If you'd like us to do the digging, send your story ideas to gallup_news@gallup.com.

And, of course, you can always stay up-to-date on what our Gallup analysts are discovering by signing up to receive "All Gallup Headlines" via e-mail or RSS.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Weekly Hot List

The weekly hot list is back!

Fast facts from Gallup related to top stories in the news:

Nine Years After 9/11: 1% name terrorism as top problem in the U.S.

Muslims & the West: 54% in Middle East/North Africa in '09 said conflict can be avoided

Afghanistan's Election: 67% in April weren't confident in the honesty of elections

Bush Tax Cuts: 59% OK letting cuts expire for wealthier Americans

Midterm Horse Race: 46%-46% tie in registered voters’ preferences

To get all of our stories, sign up for All Gallup Headlines via e-mail alert or RSS.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

End of the Season Wrap-Up

Well, so much for the lazy days of summer.

Nearly 1.8 million of you visited our site in August 2010 -- more than in any month since March, more than in any month in 2009, and more than in August 2008, when we had a hot presidential election on our hands.

With the calendar turning from August to September, President Obama attempting to "turn the page from Iraq" to other matters, and all political eyes turning to the midterm congressional elections, it's a good time to recap some of our biggest findings of the year so far.

Underscoring what a big month August was, three of our most popular stories from August also rank among our most popular stories of the year:

Additionally, here are some of the other headlines that have brought many of you to our site over the past few months:
Additionally, our daily and weekly updates on Obama job approval and our key economic metrics continue to bring many of you to our site for the very latest of what real Americans think about their leadership and their economy.

As Election Day draws closer, we'll continue to track and report on our Election 2010 key indicators, including the generic ballot for Congress and enthusiasm about voting, and will begin reporting likely voter estimates in early October.

We thank the millions of you who have visited our site this year and look forward to continuing to provide data-driven insights on what's happening in your world in the months and years to come.

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