Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Americans agree on a few issues, Pew Research Center finds

Pew Research Center published a study on Monday that found little partisan agreement on the pressing problems facing the U.S.  That's disheartening.  How can Americans solve our problems if we don't even agree on what they are?

On that note, I looked for the few areas of agreement and found one paragraph buried well down in the report.
There are a few issues that similar shares of voters in both parties regard as major national problems. About six-in-ten (61%) Republican voters say the federal budget deficit is a very big problem, as do 56% of Democrats. In addition, there are modest differences on violent crime (49% of Republicans, 47% of Democrats) and drug addiction (67% of Republicans, 64% of Democrats).
In addition, the study found majorities of participants from both parties were concerned about ethics in government (80% of Democrats, 62% of Republicans) and the affordability of health care (83% of Democrats, 56% of Republicans), while majorities of Democrats and near-majorities of Republicans thought that the way the U.S. political system operates (58% of Democrats, 49% of Republicans) and the affordability of a college education (71% of Democrats, 47% of Republicans) were areas of major concern.  I think there is hope that Americans can make progress in these areas.  At least we can disagree about the means, not the ends.

Of all the above subjects, drug addiction stands out to me as the issue with the best combination of agreement between partisans and high number of people who think it's a major problem.  Because of that, the next set of winners at the News and Documentary Emmy Awards I will tackle will be about the opioid epidemic, including "Heroin(e)."  After that, I'll tackle violent crime by writing about the winners covering mass shootings.  Then I'll find winners covering ethics in government and how the U.S. political system operates followed by health care.  Sorry, I don't think there are any nominees or winners about the federal deficit or the price of a college education.

There was also a topic that members of both parties agreed on that wasn't a major issue, terrorism.  Only 41% of Republicans and 27% of Democrats considered it pressing.  That means I'll save winners about the Syrian Civil War for later, even if the journalists and documentarians thought it important.  Nothing like letting the evidence guide my blogging.

There were two other areas that the Pew Research Center found that Americans of both parties agreed.
Similar shares of supporters of both Republican and Democratic candidates describe themselves as active in their local community. And nine-in-ten or more in both parties consider themselves to be open-minded.
In addition, majorities of both parties considered themselves to be "typical Americans" who "have traditional values."  I actually hope all those things really are true.  If so, then people might be able to be open to solutions to the problems they agree on and work together to solve them.

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