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Monday, August 29, 2011

Signing Up for Gallup News Email Alerts Is Now Faster and Easier

Guest post by Deputy Managing Editor Elizabeth Mendes

We are thrilled to let you know it is now much faster and easier to register for email alerts. With just one click, you can subscribe to get all Gallup News stories as soon as they are published.

All you have to do is:

That's it!

If you want to be among the first to know what is happening on topics including President Obama's job approval ratings, the 2012 election, unemployment, economic confidence, wellbeing, and global findings, be sure to sign up for email alerts now.

Please feel free to share any feedback you have about our new email alerts registration process in the comments section below.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Americans Recognize Value of Great Teachers and College Degrees

Guest post by Alyssa Brown

Americans believe high-quality teachers are the key to a good school, and a college degree is the key to a good job. Americans rate public school teachers more highly now than they have in the past, despite having negative perceptions of the nation's schools. College-educated Americans attain higher quality jobs and are less likely to be unemployed or underemployed than those without college credentials.

These findings are from 43rd annual PDK/Gallup Poll of the Public's Attitudes Toward the Public Schools and the Lumina Foundation for Education/Gallup Study on the Public's Attitudes Toward Postsecondary Education. Gallup, PDK, and Lumina released the results yesterday at the Public Perception of U.S. Education event at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

Among the important findings on the Perceptions of K-12 Education, as presented by Bill Bushaw, Executive Director of PDK International:
  • More than 70% of Americans say they have trust and confidence in public school teachers.
  • While the public feels positive about teachers in their communities, it has a less favorable opinion of governors and teachers unions.
  • Three out of four Americans say they would encourage the brightest person they know to become a teacher.
  • Americans' opinions of President Obama's national education efforts have increased seven percentage points from last year.
  • The public continues to approve of Obama's support of charter schools, but vouchers received their lowest approval rating in the last 10 years.
Included in the key findings presented by Dewayne Matthews, Vice President of Policy and Strategy at the Lumina Foundation:
  • Nearly 7 in 10 U.S. adults strongly agree or agree that having a college degree is essential for getting a job in this country.
  • Approximately 95% of Americans say a college degree or occupational certificate is somewhat or very important for financial security.
  • About 57% strongly agree or agree that people who have a college degree have a good chance of finding a quality job, despite most Americans being negative about the economy overall.
  • About half of Americans say the main reason students get more education is to earn more money and a third say it is to get a good job, as opposed to personal development.
  • Many Americans believe college graduates are not well-prepared for the workforce.
Jamie Merisotis, the President and CEO of the Lumina Foundation, said, "Americans believe a college degree is essential, but many people do not think college graduates are well-prepared for the workforce. This data suggests that there are some major issues we need to address." Bob Wise, the former governor of West Virginia, and Tom Vander Ark, CEO of Open Education Solutions, discussed the merits of a blended educational approach, consisting of digital education and great teachers, to improve the education system.

To read more about public opinions of K-12 education, read the PDK/Gallup report on the PDK website. To learn more about public perceptions of higher education, read the recent story, "Most Americans See College as Essential to Getting a Good Job."

Get the latest Gallup news and data on education issues by signing up for Gallup email alerts.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Refresher: How Obama Approval Works on

With President Barack Obama hitting new lows in both his daily and weekly job approval averages this month, we have a new influx of readers coming to the site each day for the very latest.

We've also received a few questions, so I thought it would be a good time to refresh both novice and seasoned visitors of our site about how our Obama job approval averages work.  Here's what you need to know:

  • We ask Americans every single night as part of our Gallup Daily tracking program: "Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as president?" 
  • We get new results in every single morning and post the very latest three-day rolling average on the site every single day, seven days per week, at 1 p.m. ET on the homepage and the corresponding trend graph. You can also get these numbers on the go via our Gallup iPhone and Android apps.
  • Each three-day rolling average is based on the previous three nights of interviewing. So, for example, the results we post Thursday at 1 p.m. ET are based on interviews conducted Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights. To see the exact survey dates, you can hover on the data points of the aforementioned trend graph and export the complete data into a spreadsheet.
  • We also post new weekly averages, based on interviews conducted each Monday to Sunday, every Monday at 1 p.m. ET on our Presidential Job Approval Center.  Here we also report results among demographic groups, including age, gender, race, education, and political party. Those results are always available for you to sort and export from the aforementioned Presidential Job Approval Center.  
  • You can also find key term statistics about Obama and other presidents in the Presidential Job Approval Center and in our Trends A-Z.
  • We don't write stories on every single up and down in these trends, but rather provide extra analysis when we see something particularly significant, sustained, or noteworthy. Still, with the nonstop political and economic fluctuations of late, there's been plenty to say. You can read up on all of our recent stories and also subscribe for email alerts and RSS feeds on this topic on our Presidential Job Approval tag page.  Getting our email alerts is also a great way to make sure you don't miss our quarterly summaries on Obama's job approval rating, which always include the great historical context from Gallup's presidential job approval trends dating back to the Truman administration.
If you still have questions about our updates on President Obama's job approval ratings, feel free to post a comment on this blog or send us a note at

Happy approval watching!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Half-Time Update on the State of the States

It's that time of year at when we update you on the State of the States. Actually, it's one of two times per year when we do this.

This is our half-time update, where we look at the Gallup Daily tracking data we've collected from January to June 2011, to give you a fresh and up-to-date look on how the states are doing so far on our key metrics.  We'll report full-year findings and update our State of the States interactive -- where you can map, sort, and export data across states and metrics -- in early 2011.

We launched our half-time updates Monday with our report on Obama approval by state so far in 2011. Our Jeffrey M. Jones generated coverage in  The Washington Post, ABC News, USA Today, Talking Points Memo, The Hill, and many other spots with his analysis showcasing where Obama is outperforming his national average with job approval ratings above 50% and where he is under-performing.  Many analysts are smartly starting to count up the electoral votes of the strong and not-so-strong states.

The full-year totals from 2011 will, no doubt, be an important indicator of where the president stands in key states when the official presidential election year begins.

To that end, we're excited to release our half-time update on political party affiliation by state Thursday morning. Each time we report on this (Here's the full-year update from last year), it quickly becomes one of our hottest stories on the site as it's Gallup's own red state,blue state breakdown based on what a huge number of Americans tell us about their party affiliation.

We'll keep the state stories coming over the next few weeks. The week of Aug. 15 will be our economic week, when we report on economic confidence and job creation by state.  Our economic confidence numbers have been deteriorating fast at the national level in July and August, so it's important to note that our half-time update on this will reflect how the states were doing from January to June, before the height of the debt debate. That said, those numbers will provide a great benchmark for how the full year turns out.

The week of Aug. 22, we'll report on some of our key wellbeing metrics by state, including our overall Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, obesity, and uninsured rates.

To make sure you get each of these stories as soon the are published, be sure to sign up for our news alerts and subscribe to "All Gallup Headlines."

Additionally, we're always interested in your story ideas.  This time last year, we took your suggestions for state-level stories and the winner was a report on the percentage of government workers in each state.

We encourage you to check out our complete Gallup Daily tracking questionnaire and send us your ideas for questions you'd like to see broken down by state. You can submit an idea by posting a comment on this blog or emailing 

Overall, we hope the state updates are useful to state leaders and constituents alike, highlighting areas of strengths and weaknesses as the U.S. continues to find its footing in 2011.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Muslim Americans Express Optimism, Loyalty to the U.S.

Muslim Americans generally feel better off and more hopeful than they were in 2008.  They see themselves as loyal to the U.S. and express trust in its democratic institutions. Still, nearly half say they have experienced prejudice.

Those are some of the major findings from the Abu Dhabi Gallup Center's new report on Muslim Americans, released this morning at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.  The report, "Muslim Americans: Faith, Freedom, and the Future," is based on interviews conducted in 2011 as part of our Gallup Daily tracking survey. The large samples provide a rare, in-depth look at how Muslim Americans compare with other major faith groups in the U.S.

Among the key findings presented by Abu Dhabi Gallup Center Senior Analyst Mohamed Younis:

  • Muslim Americans are the most likely of major faith groups in the U.S. to reject violent attacks against civilians.
  • Muslim Americans are the most critical of the institutions and interventions associated with counter-terrorism.
  • Muslim Americans identify equally with the U.S. and their religion.
  • Muslim Americans' religious commitment is associated with better emotional health and civic engagement.
  • Muslim Americans are often similar to Jewish Americans in their views and perceptions.
Introducing Younis, Dr. Jocelyne Cesari of Harvard University said the study confirms several trends researchers have been studying.  Specifically, Cesari said the Gallup report confirms that "the more Muslim you are, the more civic you are," and that, "Muslims tend to trust major institutions in the country in which they live."

Read more about these findings in today's story, "Most Muslim Americans See No Justification for Violence" and in the complete report from the Abu Dhabi Gallup Center. We will also release an additional story Wednesday morning, focused on Muslim Americans views on their country and their faith.

Read more coverage by The New York Times and CNN.

To stay up to date on future reports and findings from the Abu Dhabi Gallup Center, sign-up for Muslim World news from and follow @abudhabigallup on Twitter.

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