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Monday, November 29, 2010

Fast Facts Regarding a Potential Federal Gov't Pay Freeze

A few facts to consider as you weigh the potential impact of the federal government pay freeze President Obama proposed on Monday:

  • In the first half of 2010, 5% of U.S. workers reported working for the federal government. Since the pay freeze would only affect civilian employees, the pay freeze would affect a slightly smaller percentage of the overall working population.
  • Federal workers live and work in every state. More than one in four workers in Washington, D.C., report working for the federal government, along with double-digit percentages in Maryland, Virginia, Alaska, and Hawaii. Midwest states tend to have the fewest government workers, but with at least 2% in every state, the impact of the pay freeze would be far-reaching.

President Obama says a two-year freeze on civilian federal pay will save "$2 billion over the rest of this fiscal year and $28 billion in cumulative savings over the next five years." The larger goal is to chip away at the federal deficit, which Americans want too.

Tuesday on, we'll report on how Americans currently rate Obama on his efforts to reduce the federal deficit, as well as where Americans rank reducing the deficit in terms of strategies the government can pursue to help the economy.

To read more about how Americans view the federal government in general, check out the results of our special series on the issue.

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Weekly Hot List

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

Airport Unease?: 57% of U.S. air travelers not bothered by body scans

Falling Jobless Claims: 9.2% unemployment rate found by Gallup is among lowest of the year

Lame-Duck Congress: 50%-plus say it is very important to address tax issues

Gobble Gobble?: 62% of Americans weigh more than they would like

U.K. Wellbeing: 2010 life ratings similar to previous years amid economic turmoil

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

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Travelers Debunk Narrative on Airport Security

Our new findings on air travelers' views on the much-discussed screening procedures now in broader use in U.S. airports are the perfect example of why it's so critical to seek out empirical evidence on the issues of the moment.

While news about air travelers opposing and potentially boycotting the use of full-body scans and pat downs suggests there is widespread anger about the use of these procedures, our survey of 3,018 people -- including 757 people who have flown at least twice in the past year -- tell a different story.

Fewer than one in three frequent air travelers tell us they are angry about the prospect or reality of being asked to follow these procedures. About one in four are bothered but not angry -- and a plurality are not bothered at all.

What's more, those who've already undergone these screenings are even less likely to be bothered than those who have not. Overall, most travelers say any loss of personal privacy is worth it to prevent acts of terrorism and the vast majority remain as likely to fly as they otherwise would be.

This is not to discount the minorities who are in fact angry or bothered by the use of these tactics, or less likely to fly as a result, but the data underscore the inherent risk in portraying the voices of relatively few as the voices of the many. Journalists are encouraged to tell both sides of every story, but only with nationally representative empirical evidence can we tell how many people each side represents.

In this case, it's clear that, while most of us will agree it is not an ideal situation, at the same time it is not all that upsetting to those most likely to encounter it.

To make sure you always have an empirical view on the issues of the moment, sign up to receive "All Gallup Headlines" via e-mail alerts or RSS feeds.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Weekly Hot List

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

NATO in Afghanistan: 51% of Afghans in '09 said NATO should play a key role in reconstruction

Ireland Economy: 70% in '09 said local economic conditions were getting worse

UK Wellbeing: 54% of Brits in '09 rated their lives well enough to be considered "thriving"

U.S. Airport Security: 78% of air travelers in January approved of body scans

Legislative Priorities: 33% say jobs are the most important problem in the U.S.

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

Monday, November 15, 2010

Insights on U.S. Cities -- From Those Who Live There

In the interconnected, borderless world of smartphones and Skype, it's easy to forget how much the community in which you live affects your life.

In the book Wellbeing, Gallup reports on research indicating that engagement and involvement in the place you live is one of the five essential elements of wellbeing -- right alongside your career, social, financial, and physical wellbeing. Further, research -- including a study published this month in PLoS Computational Biology and those in the book Connected -- suggest that you can "catch" both good and bad behaviors from the people you interact with.

This month, we're out with new findings that provide new insights on community wellbeing.

Our special feature on the what we've learned from conducting 1 million wellbeing surveys in the U.S. reveals the metro areas that perform best and worst on key wellbeing metrics. If good and bad behaviors truly are contagious, there's only going to be more frequent exercising in Boulder, Colo., and less of it in Springfield, Ohio.

We're also out with a study that explores what makes people love the community where they live. The findings from the Soul of the Community study, conducted over three years in partnership with John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, reveal that a community's social offerings, openness, and aesthetics consistently matter the most -- and far more so than harder metrics, such as its leadership, economy, or perceived level of safety.

Both studies are part of Gallup's commitment to provide empirical evidence toward building a happier, healthier, and more productive world. To be sure to get all of our wellbeing findings as soon as they are published, sign up to receive all of our wellbeing news via e-mail alerts or RSS.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Weekly Hot List

Guest post from Associate Editor Elizabeth Mendes

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

Healthcare Next Steps: 42% of Americans say new law goes too far; 29% say not far enough

Back Home: 64% in U.S. think Obama willing to work with GOP in Congress

Bush's Book Tour: 44% favorable rating for the 43rd president as he promotes memoir

Post-Election Plus: 34% favorable rating for Rep. Boehner, up from 27% before midterms

Social Security: 60% of American workers think they won’t get benefits when they retire

Korea-U.S. FTA: 48% of South Koreans in 2007 said their country had more to lose than gain

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

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Gallup Insights on Global Migration

Guest blog from Editor Julie Ray.

Gallup today released its latest findings on migration desires around the world -- both on at and the Global Forum on Migration and Development being held in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

Presenting at the event, Director of Research for Global Migration Neli Esipova shared research on the migration desires of nearly 350,000 adults interviewed by Gallup in 148 countries around the world. Building on the success of Gallup's Potential Net Migration Index, Esipova shared the inaugural results of Gallup’s Potential Brain Gain Index and Potential Youth Migration Index, which show where the world’s most educated people and young adults would migrate if they had the opportunity and how this could change populations worldwide. The findings suggest highly developed countries would see an influx of young people rather than educated people if migration desires became reality.

These two new indexes are the latest advancements in Gallup research aiming to provide leaders -- such as the ones at the Global Forum on Migration and Development -- with actionable intelligence about whether their countries are positioned to attract or lose human capital.

In addition to global results, Gallup's research on migration allows for an in-depth focus on domestic migration issues as well.

Gallup’s Research Director for Latin America Jesus Rios also shared results at the Forum about the migration desires of the millions of Hispanics living in the U.S. based on Gallup's 2009 study of U.S. Hispanic population. The results show that about 15% of the U.S. Hispanic adult population would leave the U.S. permanently if they had the opportunity. These would-be migrants tend to be foreign-born or new migrants who are less integrated both culturally and economically, which has implications in the national debate about immigration reform in the United States.

Gallup’s research on global migration is wide-ranging and also examines who wants to migrate permanently or temporarily for work or study, where, and why, and who is actively planning to leave their country.

To be sure to receive each new analysis as soon as it is published, sign up to receive our migration stories via e-mail alert or RSS.

For complete data sets or custom research from the more than 150 countries Gallup continually surveys, please contact or call 202.715.3030.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Weekly Hot List

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

Obama in India: 72% of Indians don’t have an opinion of U.S. leadership

Votes and Consequences: 49% say it matters “a great deal” who controls Congress

What Now? 38% want new stimulus bill; 23% want healthcare repealed

Boehner's Rise to Power: 52% in July had never heard of him or had no opinion

Unemployment Update: 9.6% gov't rate likely reflects balancing out of surge and decline

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

Monday, November 1, 2010

3 Years and 1 Million Daily Tracking Surveys

October 2010 was one for the record books at

On Oct. 19, we marked three years of the new Three years ago, in 2007, we relaunched as a unique source for data-driven news about the political, economic, and social issues of the moment. Since then, millions of you have come to our site -- in increasing numbers and with increasing regularity -- for objective and empirical reporting you can't find anywhere else. In fact, more than two million people visited our site in October -- the second largest number in our history save the September and October preceding the 2008 presidential election.

On Oct. 23, we completed our one millionth interview as part of our Gallup Daily tracking program. That's one million interviews conducted daily since January 2008, giving Americans across the country a chance to be heard. The occasion makes it worth reminding our readers that, while the findings on our site often come in the form of figures and percentages, they are in fact the result of thousands -- and now more than a million -- of conversations happening live, every night, with regular Americans expressing their views and opinions about their country and their lives.

On Nov. 9, we'll release a special feature, recounting what we've learned from the results of one million surveys. We'll tell you about the trends we documented, both before, during, and after the economic collapse and a historic presidential election. We'll report in-depth about the health of the many groups that make up the U.S. -- all races, ages, incomes. We'll tell you which cities are doing best and worst on metrics that matter -- both for collective health and economic growth. We'll also share with you a few stories from some of our interviewers, about the most memorable conversations they've had.

As a former "mainstream media" journalist, I personally am incredibly proud of the work we're doing at Gallup. Even the most thorough and tireless reporter cannot interview 1,000 people for their stories. That's exactly what we're doing -- every night in the U.S. and once per year in more than 150 countries around the globe. We're interviewing people in every place and from every walk of life -- to report back to you about their hopes and needs, helping to inform the leaders and decision-makers of the world about the views of the global constituency.

To make sure you get all of our stories as soon as they are published, sign up to receive "All Gallup Headlines" via e-mail alert or RSS. Your feedback and suggestions are always welcome on this blog or at

We thank you for your readership and interest in empirical evidence about what is happening in our world.

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