New online atlas ‘heat-maps’ views on abortion, gay marriage, immigration

PRRI-AVA-same-sex-marriage-1-RNS2-copyBy CATHY LYNN GROSSMAN
c. 2015 Religion News Service

WASHINGTON (RNS) Anyone from politicians to scholars to the simply curious can now see just how deeply the nation is divided on abortion or same-sex marriage — and discover there’s significant consensus on immigration — with a new online mapping tool.

The latest edition of the American Values Atlas, released Wednesday (Feb. 25), allows users to “heat-map” views on those issues across all 50 states and 30 metropolitan areas to see where attitudes blow hot or cold.

The Public Religion Research Institute launched the atlas last year featuring political and religious affiliation and demographic data such as age, race and ethnicity. With the new data on abortion, gay marriage and immigration, users can see that “Americans are all over the map” on the hot social questions of the day, said Robert P. Jones, CEO of PRRI.

To give a sense of the partisanship on issues, Jones looked at the degrees of difference.

Across the U.S., there’s a 43-point spread between the state where the most residents “favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to be able to marry legally” (New Hampshire, at 75 percent) and states where the fewest percentage of people agree (Alabama and Mississippi, each at 32 percent). In Massachusetts — the first state to legalize gay marriage — support is at 73 percent.

On whether abortion should be legal in all or most cases, the gap stretches 36 percentage points; it’s highest in New Hampshire  (73 percent) and lowest in Wyoming (37 percent).

The atlas also maps a second question on abortion: whether “at least some health care professionals in your community should provide legal abortions.”

According to the atlas, in all three cities that Pope Francis is scheduled to visit in September — Philadelphia, New York and Washington — more than 60 percent say that abortion should be legal in all or most cases and that at least some health care professionals in their cities should offer it. More than 60 percent also favor legalizing same-sex marriage.

However, Jones said, there is also “surprising consensus” on immigration. The issue is timely, given President Obama’s current push for reform amid an acrimonious legal and financing debate in Congress and Pope Francis’ frequent calls for people to welcome the stranger.

The atlas shows that more than 62 percent of people in the cities on the pontiff’s itinerary favor offering immigrants who are in this country illegally a path to citizenship (with requirements). More than 17 percent would offer permanent residency but not citizenship. Nineteen percent want to see immigrants identified and deported.

“All the states are in majority territory” on offering a path to citizenship, Jones said. The nationwide gap on immigration is also smaller — just a 14-point spread between Delaware (66 percent) and Wyoming (52 percent).

PRRI also asked a second question, measuring people’s view of immigrants. Again, attitudes were chiefly positive. And politicians headed for the Iowa caucuses and the 2016 presidential race might want to take heed: In Iowa, 57 percent agree that “immigrants strengthen our nation.”

Atlas users can find out everything Iowans think by using the atlas state profile feature, which offers demographic, religious and political and social viewpoints state by state, but the profile feature is not yet available by cities.

However, on the views toward immigrants, one city on the pope’s tour revealed some negative views. One in three Philadelphians surveyed (35 percent) said illegal immigrants are “a burden on our country because they take our jobs, housing and health care.”

Because the data were drawn from a large sample — 50,000 interviews, conducted in 2014 by landlines and cellphones — users can search demographic data both by large religious traditions (and those with no religious brand) and by subgroups.

That means it’s possible to see locations and demographic distinctions among Hispanic Catholics, white non-Hispanic Catholic and other Catholics, including other ethnic groups.

It also means religious minorities such as Jews, Muslims, Mormons, Hindus and Buddhists are represented. Even Unitarian Universalists — fewer than 1 percent of all Americans — can be searched if you want to know, for example, that New Hampshire is the only state where they reach 2 percent of the population.

Jones said it may be the 2016 edition of the atlas before users can map views by religious traditions.

Religion News Service

RNS is owned by Religion News LLC, a non-profit, limited liability corporation based at the University of Missouri School of Journalism. Its mission is to provide in-depth, non-sectarian coverage of religion, spirituality and ideas.

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17 Comments on "New online atlas ‘heat-maps’ views on abortion, gay marriage, immigration"

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The United Methodist Reporter wants to encourage lively conversation about The United Methodist Church and our articles in the belief that Christian conversation (what Wesley would call conferencing) is a means of grace. While we support passionate debate, we cannot allow language that demeans or demonizes others, and we reserve the right to delete any comment we believe to be harmful or inappropriate. We encourage all to remember that we are all broken and in need of Christ's grace, and that we all see through the glass darkly until that time we when reach full perfection in love. May your speech here be tempered with love, and reflection of the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. After all, "There is no law against things like this." (Galatians 5:22-23)
 
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Kevin
Guest

If enough TV shows have enough gay characters then we can convince a lot of people that gay is normal. When I see one of the Kardashians on MSNBC as a political talking head then I will know we have really gone over. At that point I will retreat to the hills with my Bible and my guns.

George Nixon Shuler
Guest

I guess that means you’ll be staying with the UMC as we boldly step into the future, then.

Elaine T.
Guest

Still praying Brother George.

Wes Andrews
Guest

I’ll join you Elaine. Prayers are for grace and peace and for what God wants, not what we want.

George Nixon Shuler
Guest

For what?

George Nixon Shuler
Guest

http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/48503-3-types-of-people-you-don-t-want-to-pray-for-you

In my experience, when a person has not requested other pray for her/him, the assertion from a stranger that he or she will “pray for you” is at best poor theology and at worst sort of fundamentalistese for ” *&%$ you!” I believe what this person is “praying” for is most likely that I will adopt her politics. That is not bloody likely because those politics harm others. Get thee behind me.

Mark
Guest
It’s important to keep in mind that polls are notoriously fickle since they represent only a snapshot in time and are often moved not by deep thinking but by what’s given the most publicity at the time. Any article on polls should point this out. Moreover, these survey results are dependent on the wording of questions. If you word the question cleverly you can get just about any result you desire. The media have been on the gay “marriage” bandwagon for quite a few years, convincing many naive people that if they don’t endorse it they are “haters” who are… Read more »
George Nixon Shuler
Guest
Mark, it seems to me you contradict yourself twice. Either research is valid and reliable or it isn’t. Granted, it is always taking a snapshot, but barring a catastrophic and unexpected collapse of a civilization trends in social change which are more inclusionary rather than exclusionary tend to continue. Your last paragraph is just one hot mess there – “the media” is a nebulous term; does it not include Faux News, Weird Nut Daily, and One News Cow and so forth which advocate the opposite? I don’t think that’s so much a verifiable conclusion so much as an attempt to… Read more »
Cully
Guest

one wonders if Mr. Shuler’s opinion is that if ANYTHING/ANYBODY may even be suspect as having a conservative thought the individual is automatically a bad and suspect entity,,,,,,,

George Nixon Shuler
Guest

That’d be a “no.” The same could most likely not be said of the right-wing cadre given their fervid denunciations of Progressives et al.

Mark
Guest
No contradiction whatsoever and you would know that if you were knowledgable about how these surveys are done (calling them “research” is dubious and further speaks to your ignorance about these topics, which you seem to proudly display on a regular basis). As far as “exclusionary” your comments are much more contradictory since you are more than willing to exclude anyone who doesn’t subscribe to your extremist left-wing propaganda. Again, if you were even a little informed regarding the biases of the dominant media you would appreciate the truth of what I’ve written. You will doubtless continue your bed-wetting tirades… Read more »
Alice F LaChapelle
Guest

Stand your ground, Mark. May our Lord and Savior give you courage.
I salute you!

George Nixon Shuler
Guest

I’ve been doing social science research over 25 years. I stand by the characterization. I never male any efforts to exclude anyone. But, “biases of the dominant media”? LOL. The truth is hatred is being challenged. It is understandable those of reactionary views resist it. Understandable, but still farcical.

Wes Andrews
Guest
It is very important to know what people are thinking. It is very dangerous and destructive to individuals and society to establish values by what people think or how they feel. It is shameful when “believers,” who claim to know the source of truth, fail to proclaim and stand for the truth. This passage is not talking about people who don’t know. It is talking about people who claim to know God but compromise the truth due to lust for the power of culture. Rom. 1:28-32    And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer,… Read more »
George Nixon Shuler
Guest

Values are always established by what people think and feel – they always have been and always will be. Any claim otherwise is laughable. The scriptural passage cited does not appear to be in any way connected to the issue and is at best a non sequitur.

Hayne Hamilton
Guest

Values are no such thing. The universal definition of “values” is the customs and traditions agreed upon by the civilized community, generally accepted by its members. Individuals subscribe to the values of the community or choose to live outside the values held virtuous (positive) or commonly disapproved (negative) by the values of the community. Examples of positive are honesty, consideration of others, charity, courage. Examples of Negatives are criminality, selfishness, dishonesty. Thus, values have never been considered as the opinion of each individual. HH

George Nixon Shuler
Guest

Interesting data. It confirms what we already knew – social change begins on the coasts and works its way inward.

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