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Last week, I posted a summary of President Donald Trump’s 2019 State of the Union (SOTU) address.

In case you missed the event, CBS has a video and full transcript.

It created such a buzz that I have more bookmarks than would fit into one post.

What follows are America’s views of the SOTU as seen online.

Polling

Trump got high marks from viewers at home:

The CBS reporter seemed shocked that Americans side with Trump on immigration. He can barely get the words out:

Trump’s much vaunted ‘wall’ is gaining traction. This was the issue that the media said would lose him votes in 2016. In the end, he won the election, and now a clear majority of voters agree with him on this most controversial issue.

Here is a breakdown by political party:

Note that nearly one-third of Democrats approve and — just as importantly for 2020 — 82% of Independents do, too.

CNN also conducted a poll. The results must have upset them greatly:

Adding both positive percentages together gives Trump’s SOTU a 76% approval rating — the same as CBS’s. There appears to be a rounding error in CNN’s:

The Republican National Committee (RNC) calls it ‘Spirit of 76%’ (an association with 1776):

Television ratings

Trump’s speech was a huge televisual draw.

On February 6, The Hollywood Reporter provided the ratings (emphases mine below):

The State of the Union was a slightly bigger draw than it was in 2018.

Just under 46.8 million people — 46.79 million, to be precise — watched President Trump’s address to Congress across 12 networks, about 3 percent more than watched a year ago.  

The 2018 address drew 45.55 million viewers. Trump’s first address to Congress in 2017 — not technically a State of the Union, as he had only been in office a few weeks — drew the largest audience of his term to date with 47.74 million

Fox News led the field 11.27 million viewers from 9-10:30 p.m. ET, off slightly from the 11.5 million who watched the 2018 SOTU. NBC topped broadcast networks with 7.14 million viewers, followed by CBS (6.68 million) and ABC (5.91 million). The Fox broadcast network’s 4.2 million viewers beat out both MSNBC (3.79 million) and CNN (3.47 million).

The four broadcast networks and big three cable news outlets combined for 42.46 million viewers. PBS, Telemundo, Univision, Fox Business and CNNe combined to averaged 4.33 million.

Tuesday’s address drew more viewers than the comparable ones in the first terms of Barack Obama (42.79 million in 2011) and Bill Clinton (42.2 million in 1995) but fell well short of George W. Bush’s 2003 State of the Union, which drew 62 million as Bush made a case for invading Iraq. That address is the most-watched State of the Union in this century.

In earlier metered-market ratings, the State of the Union averaged a 16.3 household rating across ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC, up about 10 percent from a 14.8 last year. The SOTU was also slightly higher in metered markets than Trump’s 2017 address, which is not technically considered a State of the Union speech as he’d only been in office a few weeks.

Two anti-Trumpers’ positive verdicts

At least two anti-Trump pundits praised him for a great speech.

Here is Bret Baier from Fox News:

And the Wall Street Journal‘s Peggy Noonan, who wrote Bush I’s ‘Thousand Points of Light’ acceptance speech for the Republican nomination in 1988:

As for those who watched at home:

Favourite SOTU themes

Many of the tweets I saw were supportive of Trump’s views on socialism, abortion and human trafficking.

Socialism

Trump firmly denounced socialism. If you think that is unfair, look at how Venezuela, once South America’s jewel in the crown, has deteriorated:

A number of people picked up on Bernie Sanders’s reaction:

Here’s a graphic — meme — to circulate:

The Dems have a plan of attack, though. In fact, they already previewed a new lie of theirs on a Sunday news show:

Abortion

Stephen Miller did a marvellous job writing the speech, but the part on abortion was especially moving:

The following day, House Republicans re-introduced the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, sponsored by Ann Wagner (R-Missouri) and Steve Scalise (R-Louisiana). Unfortunately, the measure failed to pass for consideration, as the vote had to be unanimous.

Ann Wagner had this to say:

Behind the scenes

According to The Daily Caller‘s Benny Johnson, someone fainted during the speech:

Benny also liked Trump’s speech:

Democrats

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and her freshmen Representatives received rightful criticism.

However, all the Democrats deserve the public’s censure for booing Trump when he introduced the critical subject of border security by mentioning the migrant ‘caravans’. The Daily Caller reported conservative commentator Michelle Malkin’s reaction:

When you have the Democrats booing because President Trump was exposing and continuing to hammer the fact that these caravans are endangering the country and posing enormous costs to people at the border, let alone in the interior, this is a message I think is going to resonate all the way through 2020, and it’s going to pose a huge optics problem for the Democrat party,” Malkin said …

“I think it underscores an important point that President Trump himself has made in the face of this debate and the intransigence of the open borders Democrats — and that it’s not just about a wall. As long as you have these magnets drawing people here and everybody’s aware of it around the world, it’s not going to stop,” she said earlier in the interview.

And that is a point that President Trump made during the address last night. … President Trump delivered very defining moments that contrast the differences between the parties.”

I hope she is right.

Joe Manchin

There was only one Democrat who stood with the president, at least on energy and abortion: Senator Joe Manchin from West Virginia. He’s delighted to see the revival of coal mines in his state. On abortion, he had this to say:

Nancy Pelosi

Pelosi, a notional Catholic, invited the president of Planned Parenthood as a special guest:

Then, there was Pelosi’s jewellery.

She wore a long gold brooch, a tiny version of the Mace of the United States House of Representatives. The Mace is modelled on the Roman-era fasces, which has always represented authority:

AlterNet has a photo of Pelosi and a bit of history on how the Mace has been used in the House of Representatives. It is on regular display when the House is in session (emphases mine):

At each daily session, the Sergeant at Arms carries the mace in procession, ahead of the speaker in to the rostrum. While the House is in session, the mace stands on a pedestal at the speaker’s right handThe mace is almost four feet in length and made of silver and 13 ebony rods (representing the original states in the union).

It’s the people’s house, and the people have entrusted it to Speaker Pelosi for this term. Along with it comes the power to maintain order in the House.

The Roman authorities used fasces on criminals and people disturbing the peace. Lictors — officials similar to law enforcement officers — could beat miscreants and criminals with the whole fasces or untie the bundled rods and go after several at a time. They also had the authority to use the axe inside the fasces to put them to death, when necessary.

Later in history, fasces became a symbol representing national unity and indivisibility: many rods bundled together make a single entity.

This American Intelligence Media video purports that Pelosi wore the mace pin to signal that she is the equal to President Trump. That’s a very real possibility.

Whatever the case, there were times when it was clear she does not want Americans to succeed:

Democrat women

The only time Democrat women rose was to cheer Trump’s stats on women in the workforce and in Congress.

That’s right, gals, applaud yourselves:

As TurningPoint USA’s Candace Owens pointed out:

The Daily Wire‘s Ryan Saavedra tweeted this in response to AOC (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez from Queens):

Senator Kamala Harris (D-California) seemed to deny the crime going on at the southern border:

Prescription drug prices

There is one important SOTU topic that has not received much coverage — the cost of prescription drugs:

I found this response to the tweet interesting:

Democrat rebuttal

Since President Reagan’s tenure, Democrats believe it is their duty to provide a short SOTU rebuttal to Republican administrations.

Before I return to and conclude on the SOTU, it is worth mentioning the 2019 rebuttal.

The Democrats who give these short speeches are not exactly la crème de la crème. Last year’s was a young member of the Kennedy clan who did not do well at all, either visually or rhetorically.

This year, it was the turn of Stacy Abrams, who unsuccessfully ran for governor of Georgia last year and indirectly complained about her loss:

According to the Gateway Pundit (emphases in the original):

Stacey Abrams opened the Democrat Party response to President Trump’s State of the Union Address by wishing everyone a happy Lunar New Year.

Stacey Abrams: “Good evening my fellow Americans and Happy Lunar New Year.”

And it went down hill from there.

And they wonder how they lost the working class and Middle America?

The chairwoman of the Republican Party — Mitt Romney’s niece — tweeted:

I’m not sure what universe Abrams is living in, but what she said is patently untrue:

The Wall Street Journal‘s Kimberley Strassel put it this way:

SOTU fact checking

Some readers might wonder how wrong Stacy Abrams was.

The Daily Signal posted a well sourced article supporting Trump’s speech content: ’13 Fact Checks on the State of the Union Address’, which three of their journalists compiled.

The Q Tree has more facts backing up Trump’s speech: ‘The State Of Our Union’.

Unity

The SOTU theme of ‘Choosing Greatness’ points to Trump’s call for national — and political — unity.

Recall that the motto for the United States is E Pluribus Unum: Out of Many, One.

Brad Parscale, Trump’s 2020 campaign manager tweeted:

Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee — father of Trump’s press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders — made a political observation:

And, socially, the Trumps’ ingenious choice of special guests showed national unity, with young and old from so many different backgrounds and personal experience. I won’t show this year’s White House tweet in full, because the photo included was from 2018, however, the text reads as follows:

President and guests all come from different walks of life. No matter their story, each has something important in common: They represent the very best of America.

They are an impressive group of people.

Matthew Charles exemplifies the good results that come when politicians put party differences aside and work together, as Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s victorious 2016 campaign manager explains:

Matthew Charles deserved his release, as BreakPoint.org explains in ‘Restoring All Things — One Person At A Time’, a moving account of Charles’s personal transformation.

Conclusion

I am very much looking forward to seeing what the next year brings for the Trump Administration — and for the United States, as well as the world.

With Donald Trump, we are witnessing history in the making. This era will be written about for generations to come. Enjoy it and embrace it while it lasts.

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On Tuesday, January 8, 2019, President Trump will address the nation about the situation on the southern border of the United States.

The main networks, including cable, will broadcast his address, which is scheduled for 9 p.m. Eastern Time.

Whilst many Americans are coming round to Trump’s idea of ‘the Wall’, about half as many (depending on what national surveys one reads) think such a physical barrier is overkill.

On January 7, Ryan Saavedra of the Daily Wire tweeted statistics from the GOP (‘Grand Old Party’, Republican Party) about the chaos along the border with Mexico:

Kirstjen Nielsen, Secretary of Homeland Security, says that terrorists are also entering the United States via Mexico:

The GOP is helping raise awareness of the very real danger of a nearly uncontrollable flux of people entering the United States illegally. The advert is powerful (also see the YouTube version):

The latest tragedy involved the December 26 shooting of a police officer from Newman, California, Ronil (‘Ron’) Singh, who was on shift but looked forward to spending time later with his family. That time never came, sadly for him and his family.

Ronil Singh, a legal immigrant from Fiji, was murdered in cold blood, allegedly by an illegal alien suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol. Singh’s tragic story is also in the GOP advert:

Ryan Saavedra reported on the stubbornness of Democrat leaders who refuse to help safeguard the American people:

The video was released as part of a new website launched by the RNC called Borderfacts.com, which was created to combat misinformation from the media and Democrat Party.

“President Trump is committed to fighting for American citizens and our national security,” RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel said in a statement. “Meanwhile, Democrats are committed to fighting President Trump.”

Saavedra pointed out that Democrats used to believe that a secure southern border was a high priority.

Here’s more from Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, back in 2009:

On January 7, the retired sheriff of Milwaukee, David A Clarke Jr, wrote an article about Officer Singh’s murder for Townhall: ‘Enabling Criminal Aliens’. I encourage everyone to read it, especially those who think that all and sundry should be allowed to cross the border and take up residence.

Excerpts follow, emphases mine:

Singh, 33, legally immigrated to the United States, became a U.S. citizen, and then became one of Newman’s finest citizens serving as a police officer for twelve years. Singh’s legal entry into the U.S. added value to our country. Sadly, this husband and father of a 5-month-old son was allegedly murdered by an illegal criminal alien gang member on Christmas Eve.

This tragedy was preventable.

Singh’s suspected murderer had “prior criminal activity that should have been reported to ICE,” Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson had said. “Law enforcement was prohibited because of sanctuary laws and that led to the encounter with (Cpl.) Singh… the outcome could have been different if law enforcement wasn’t restricted or had their hands tied because of political interference.”

California is a state that provides a safe harbor for people illegally in the country. California boasts its status as a sanctuary state in violation of federal law and the supremacy clause in Article VI of the U.S. Constitution. California cities have passed laws prohibiting local law enforcement agencies from cooperating with law enforcement officers from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) with the apprehension of illegal immigrants even after they have committed a crime. Many of these illegal criminals continue on to murder, rape and rob U.S. citizens post-release from a local jail under the catch-and-release policies before notifying ICE officials.

Such criminals, Clarke writes, are detained only for the most serious of crimes while they await an immigration hearing. Most are handled on a catch-and-release basis. Anything could happen between their being caught and their hearing date.

Several serious offences do not require detention of an illegal alien:

Typically the definition to detain involves only crimes such as murder, rape, and armed robbery. That’s about it. Serious drug dealing or gun possessions are not considered crimes of violence under this strict definition. Neither does burglary or the severe crime of driving under the influence of alcohol.

Do these lenient rules apply to American citizens? No, they do not:

Burglary is a felony and as far as I am concerned a crime of violence. It’s not merely a property crime that results in minor victimization. It involves forced entry. It is a category Part I crime by FBI statistics. Part I crimes are serious felonies. Anybody whose home has been broken into suffers a traumatic mental experience. I have seen it when investigating burglaries. People who once felt safe in their homes lose that sense of security after their home is burglarized.

Drunk driving, which Singh’s alleged killer was stopped for, is hardly a minimal offence, either:

Another offense that is marginalized by sympathetic lawmakers is driving under the influence. It is not merely a traffic offense. Tens of thousands of people are killed and maimed by impaired drivers every year. I have arrived on the scene of crashes involving impaired drivers. Seeing lifeless and mutilated bodies is not pretty. This is why most states take it so seriously that a first offense is a crime punishable by imprisonment. Many make a second and third offense a felony. It’s worth mentioning that the illegal alien who allegedly murdered Cpl. Singh had two prior arrests for DUI and was being stopped by Cpl. Singh for suspected driving under the influence again.

Clarke cited data from a Pew Research Survey which looked at crimes illegal aliens committed in 2016 and 2017:

the bulk of those arrested in 2016 and 2017 had prior criminal convictions. It indicates that in 2017 illegal immigrants with past criminal convictions accounted for 74% of all arrests made by ICE which is a 30% increase from the year before. The study points out that those with no previous conviction increased by 146% compared to a 12% increase of those with a past criminal conviction. They have demonstrated a propensity to victimize. This conviction rate includes nearly 60,000 arrested for drunk driving and approximately 58,000 arrested for dangerous drug dealing (opioids). The other classification of convictions are as follows:

Assaults: 48,454

Larceny: 20,356

General Crimes: 17,325

Obstructing Police: 14,616

Burglary: 12,836

Clarke rightly says that crime is expensive, not only for the victim and the victim’s employer, but also for the criminal in terms of law enforcement, incarceration and court costs. Therefore, when it comes to illegal aliens:

the policy on when to deport and for what reasons also needs to reflect these costs to the American people. The time to deport is before they go on to serious offenses, not after.

He would like to see more offences allowing illegal aliens to be detained:

Redefining what constitutes deporting a criminal alien is needed. By changing the definition from what is considered a ‘violent act’ to a ‘serious act’ would be more inclusive of the dangerous crimes I have highlighted in this article. Our laws need to reflect the protection of the American people not sympathy for criminal aliens.

He also says, rightly, that were Americans committing such crimes in foreign countries, punishment — and deportation — would be swift. You bet it would.

Clarke warns against watering down the definition of crime:

When we water down the standard for what is criminal behavior, we are heading toward a very dark place. Crime is crime. Period. This should be the standard for automatic deportation for criminal aliens.

Clarke is a strong supporter for building a wall:

Once we get the criminal illegals out, a wall is required to prevent these thugs from running back in and continuing to victimize Americans like Cpl. Singh who hours before his death stopped home to visit his family on Christmas Eve, kissing his wife and child for the last time.

Here is the final Singh family photograph taken during that visit, re-tweeted many times since his death:

Let’s look at the grief:

Let’s end by considering the following:

Furthermore, he thought enough of his adopted country to serve his local citizens in a dangerous job. Millions of people not only in the US but also around the world are so sorry he suffered that danger by being killed on duty.

In closing, President Trump is scheduled to visit McAllen, Texas, a border city on Thursday, January 10. His press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, tweeted:

A border wall sounds cruel until we start to look at all the criminal statistics involved.

Another serious crime taking place along the border is human trafficking, including (especially?) that of children, but that topic will be covered in a separate post.

Whether people realise it or not, President Trump’s economic policies are designed to redress the increasing inequality in the United States.

Look at this chart (click image to see it in full) of data from the Census Bureau comparing 1977 with 2016:

I came of age that year, and I can tell you that, minus the Internet (unimaginable), life in 1977 was definitely better on the whole than life in 2016 for young adults.

Our generation was highly optimistic — perhaps naively so — about the future. As you can see from the chart, we had reason to be.

Whether it is ‘Boomer Privilege’, as the tweeter states, is another matter. Economic policies — despite Carter’s presidency — still favoured the middle class at that time. So did lower university tuition fees. When necessary, students took a job on or off campus that pretty much paid their annual room and board. These days, most students have to take out a loan they cannot easily pay back.

On that note, a high school diploma was all that was required four decades ago. Now most young people must have at least a four-year university degree.

The responses to Jeff Giesea’s tweet are varied and interesting. Some blame feminism. A few others, more switched-on, blame successive economic policies that eventually ruined any continuation of a normal middle class lifestyle. An average household did not need two incomes in the 1970s. Now both husband and wife have to work out of necessity.

Of course, on the other hand, older people responding to the tweet pointed out that the 1970s was still a time of mend-and-make-do. Americans weren’t going out to eat every doggone day, either. Dining out was, for most families, a special treat, not a habit.

Another huge factor was that the United States still made most of its own goods in the 1970s. When all of that, including ceramic mug manufacture, went to Asia — particularly China — plants closed and people who had been making a decent wage lost their jobs.

There also wasn’t the influx of immigrants, either, which has had an impact on the job market. In some states, you must now be fluent in Spanish in order to get some types of jobs. That was not always the case, as those of us who are long in the tooth know. But, nowadays, it is the new normal.

Furthermore, globalism didn’t exist in the 1970s. Few have benefited from it. More have been damaged by it since the 1990s.

In closing, here are more outside sources saying roughly the same thing. However, there is also some good news below, a testament to the successful policies of Donald Trump for the working man and the middle class.

First, here is a chart from TheLastRefuge showing US changes in prices between 1997 and 2017. TheLastRefuge is Sundance at The Conservative Treehouse:

Secondly, for years, what The Conservative Treehouse calls the Wall Street economy has been vastly promoted by politicians, the Federal Reserve and the rest of the Establishment at the expense of the Main Street economy which concerns everyday Americans. However, President Trump has been gradually — and successfully — redressing the balance. Another factor is that Trump’s policies are increasing employment in decent jobs. On January 4, ZeroHedge posted an article, ‘Jobs Blowout: December Payrolls Soar By 312K As Wages Jump Most Since 2009’: (emphases in the original):

the BLS reported that in December the US added a whopping 312K jobs, far above the 184K expected, and the highest since February 2018. The total number of payrolls surged above 150 million for the first time ever, to 150.263 million to be specific …

After revisions, job gains have averaged 254,000 per month over the last 3 months

It wasn’t just the scorching payrolls number, but also the average hourly earnings print, which jumped by 3.2%, higher than both the November 3.1% and the 3.0% consensus; in fact it was the highest number since April 2009!

The article says that these results give the Fed — which promotes Wall Street — a bit of a problem. Another ZeroHedge article featuring Trump’s economic adviser Larry Kudlow quotes him as saying (emphasis in purple mine):

“There’s no recession in sight…I know this has been a gloomy period and I know people are concerned about the stock market,” Kudlow said.

Kudlow also criticized the Philips Curve – the Fed’s go-to inflation model – arguing that “more growth, more people working does not cause inflation” (since the financial crisis, the relationship between employment and inflation has apparently broken down).

Finally, Tucker Carlson had an excellent opening editorial on January 2 explaining how America has declined over the years. (See the first 14 minutes of his show below; those who are politically aware can start four minutes in). He said that the Establishment’s focus on corporate shareholders at the expense of the American people’s well being (e.g. ability to get married and raise a family) is killing the country. This is a policy, he says, that has been governing the US for the past few decades. It has produced family breakdown. Only the most financially comfortable can envisage marriage and a family. Meanwhile, the blight that affected cities like Newark and Detroit in the 1970s is now spreading to smaller cities and rural areas. There is a sharp increase in drug addiction and an inability for Americans to function properly. He says that Republicans must step up to the plate to redress this balance. He says it will lose them donors, but, if successful, they will be able to repair the frayed fabric of the nation:

It will take time to resolve America’s social problems, e.g. drug addiction and family breakdown, but, from this, it should be more apparent that the rot has been setting in over decades and is only now starting to be addressed. That said, as Tucker Carlson points out, more Republicans — because the Democrats are too far gone — must fully support President Trump’s agenda to Make America Great Again.

A Twitter user from Britain enquired what people’s impressions of President Trump were during his visit to the UK last week.

The poll was taken by:

Here are the poll results:

A superb comment thread follows. This poll did not go as planned:

I especially liked this comment from MAGA!!! Mattdaddy:

Nice one!

Oh, well, better luck next time!

A 20-year old self-described financier and Trump supporter recently posted an excellent tweet of eight Time cover pages:

His tweet got this response:

Of course, an anti-Trumper tweeted:

I bet you can’t produce a date or the group that conducted this poll….

It was easy enough to find the source — a July 2, 2014 USA Today article by David Jackson, ‘Poll: Obama “worst president” since World War II’. This was the reality of the situation four years ago (emphases mine below):

In a new Quinnipiac University Poll, 33% named Obama the worst president since World War II, and 28% put Bush at the bottom of post-war presidents.

“Over the span of 69 years of American history and 12 presidencies, President Barack Obama finds himself with President George W. Bush at the bottom of the popularity barrel,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.

Also:

Obama received only 8% in the best presidents poll.

The Quinnipiac poll also reports that 45% believe the nation would be better off had Mitt Romney defeated Obama in the 2012 presidential election; 38% say the country would be worse off with a Romney presidency.

The media purposely mislead people. It’s high time we stopped believing their propaganda.

Incidentally, if you missed my post on the ties intelligence agencies have with journalists, please do read it.

We’re still in Christmastide (through January 6, Twelfth Night), so I am continuing — and concluding — a short series on Americans’ views of Christmas.

On Monday, I explained that there really is a war on Christmas: Jesus offends.

On Tuesday, I recapped Pew Research’s ‘5 facts’ about Christmas in the United States. That was the big picture.

Now we drill down into Pew Research Center’s detail, published on December 12, 2017: ‘Americans Say Religious Aspects of Christmas Are Declining in Public Life’.

In short, the people conducting the war on Christmas are winning. And, yes, there is a war on Christmas.

A summary with excerpts from Pew follow. Emphases mine below, unless noted otherwise.

The numbers of Americans celebrating Christmas are still over 90% per cent, however, less than half of those celebrating now consider December 25 as primarily a religious holiday:

Currently, 55% of U.S. adults say they celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday, including 46% who see it as more of a religious holiday than a cultural holiday and 9% who celebrate Christmas as both a religious and a cultural occasion. In 2013, 59% of Americans said they celebrated Christmas as a religious holiday, including 51% who saw it as more religious than cultural and 7% who marked the day as both a religious and a cultural holiday.

Americans are not bothered too much about the declining emphasis on the religious aspects of Christmas. Some of those polled perceived a de-emphasis; others did not:

Overall, 31% of adults say they are bothered at least “some” by the declining emphasis on religion in the way the U.S. commemorates Christmas, including 18% who say they are bothered “a lot” by this. But the remaining two-thirds of the U.S. public either is not bothered by a perceived decline in religion in Christmas or does not believe that the emphasis on the religious elements of Christmas is waning.

There is also a political party split on those perceptions:

A higher share of Republicans than Democrats express the view that the religious aspects of Christmas are emphasized less now than in the past (68% vs. 50%). And the partisan gap is even bigger when it comes to whether this perceived trend is seen as negative. Fully half of Republicans and those who lean toward the GOP say they are bothered “a lot” (32%) or “some” (20%) by a declining emphasis on the religious aspects of Christmas. Among Democrats, just one-in-five say they are bothered “a lot” (10%) or “some” (11%) by these changes.

There was also a political divide between the two parties’ adherents and church attendance at Christmas:

Nearly two-thirds of Republicans and those who lean toward the GOP say they will attend church on Christmas (65%). Among Democrats, 45% plan on attending religious services this year.

There was a slight religious split — between Protestant Evangelicals and other denominations — with regard to the seasonal greetings ‘Merry Christmas’ and ‘Happy Holidays’:

Most white evangelical Protestants say they prefer for stores and other businesses to greet their customers by saying “merry Christmas” during the holidays. But evangelicals are somewhat less likely to express this view today (61%) compared with 2012 (70%).

Within every other major Christian tradition, there are at least as many people who say the holiday greetings used by stores and businesses don’t matter to them as there are who say they prefer “merry Christmas.”

As for the biblical narrative, Pew asked their subjects about belief in four biblical Christmas details: the Virgin Birth, Jesus in a manger, the angel announcing His birth to shepherds and the arrival of the Magi. All results below are comparisons between 2014 and 2017. All show a decline.

Those who believe in the Virgin Birth have declined by seven per cent: 73% to 66%.

Those who believe that the Christ Child lay in a manger declined by six per cent: 81% to 75%.

Those who believe that the angel announced His birth to shepherds declined by seven per cent: 74% to 67%.

Those who believe the Magi visited Jesus declined by seven per cent: 75% to 68%.

The number who believe all four events took place dropped eight per cent: 65% to 57%.

Worryingly, fewer Christians believe these events took place:

Overall, the share of Christians who believe in all four of these elements of the Christmas story has dipped from 81% in 2014 to 76% today. This decline has been particularly pronounced among white mainline Protestants (see below for details).

The survey report did not say why, but the decline could be due in part to churches’ de-emphasis on the Bible in general. Many denominations are now social justice centres, nothing more.

The decline in three years’ time was most marked among Millennials, adults born after 1980. These are all big drops:

Millennials’ belief in the Virgin Birth fell from 67% to 55% — 12 points.

Their belief that Baby Jesus lay in a manger fell from 78% to 65% — 12 points.

Their belief that an angel announced His birth to shepherds fell from 68% to 54% — 14 points.

Their belief that the Magi visited Jesus fell from 75% to 57% — 15 points.

The percentage of Millennials believing all four events took place fell from 59% to 44% — 15 points.

WHY?

This generation is now raising children. What are these parents telling their offspring about Christ’s birth?

Something is very wrong with the Christmas picture in the United States.

End of series

Pew Research Center did not say directly that their December 26, 2017 study finds that Americans are increasingly polarised, but, sadly, the results certainly indicate it.

Excerpts from ’17 striking findings for 2017′ follow. Pew illustrate their findings with detailed graphs, which are worth checking out. The second excerpt below is from Pew’s Global Attitudes Survey.

Emphases in the original:

Partisan divides dwarf demographic differences on key political values. The average gap between the views of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents and Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents across 10 political values has increased from 15 percentage points in 1994 to 36 points today. Two decades ago, the average partisan differences on these items were only slightly wider than differences by religious attendance or educational attainment, and about as wide as differences across racial lines. Today, the partisan gaps far exceed differences across other key demographics.

2  Donald Trump’s presidency has had a major impact on how the world sees the United States. A global median of just 22% have confidence in Trump to do the right thing when it comes to international affairs, according to a survey conducted last spring. The image of the U.S. abroad also suffered a decline: Just 49% have a favorable view, down from 64% at the end of Barack Obama’s presidency.

4 Democrats and Republicans disagree now more than ever on the news media’s “watchdog” role. Roughly nine-in-ten Democrats say news media criticism keeps political leaders from doing things that shouldn’t be done, compared with 42% of Republicans ­who say this – the widest gap in Pew Research Center surveys conducted since 1985. This stands in stark contrast to early 2016, when similar shares of Democrats (74%) and Republicans (77%) supported the media’s watchdog role.

7 Americans see fundamental differences between men and women, but men and women have different views on the cause of these differences. Majorities of women who see gender differences in the way people express their feelings, excel at work and approach parenting say differences between men and women are mostly based on societal expectations. Men who see differences in these areas tend to believe biology is the root.

9 The share of Republicans who hold negative views of the effect of colleges and universities on the country has grown significantly since 2015. Nearly six-in-ten Republicans and Republican leaners (58%) now say colleges have a negative effect. Two years ago, by contrast, 54% of Republicans said colleges were having a positive effect. Democrats and Democratic leaners have consistently held positive views of the effect of colleges on the U.S.; 72% of Democrats and Democratic leaners say this today.

This next one is particularly disappointing (purple highlight mine):

12 In the past 10 years, the share of U.S. adults living without a spouse or partner has increased. This rise in “unpartnered” Americans, from 39% in 2007 to 42% today, has been most pronounced among young adults: Roughly six-in-ten adults younger than 35 are now living without a spouse or partner. The share of “unpartnered” adults also has risen more sharply among those who are not employed.

That is because they can marry the government instead. The government fulfils the material role of husband for too many women — and not just in the United States.

I could see this starting in the 1960s when I was growing up and attending Catholic school. When I was in primary school, only two students came from a ‘broken home’, common parlance then, now taboo.

Few of my Catholic high school friends came from single-parent homes; it was far from commonplace.

Among my adult neighbours during those years, only one woman I knew got a divorce. She said she was ‘bored’ and, anyway, she could find a job and work full time. I do wonder what happened to her and her two children. I felt very sorry for her husband, who was shell-shocked by the situation. He really loved her.

Catholic university was pretty much the same, with very few coming from single-parent households.

It wasn’t until I was earning a living on my own that I started meeting colleagues whose parents were divorced. It seemed such a strange concept to me. The last time I uttered the words ‘broken home’ in public was sometime during the 1980s. Someone I didn’t know that well barked at me, ‘Don’t tell me my home was ‘broken’! My mom did a great job!’ I explained the reference, but to no avail.

Anyway, in closing, the Republican-Democrat divide is equally troubling as we enter a new year.

There appears to be no end in sight for the foreseeable future. The same probably holds true in many Western nations.

I pray that our respective nations come together. I have never lived through a more divisive time, especially in such an era of ‘tolerance’.

As I mentioned yesterday, slowly but surely, the war on Christmas is making more incursions in the United States.

Pew Research findings prove it.

A December 18, 2017 Pew Research Fact Tank article, ‘5 facts about Christmas in America’, shows that little by little, year after year, secularist thought is turning the tide.

A summary with excerpts follows. Bold emphases in the original, those in purple mine.

The first fact states that, although 90% of Americans and 95% of Christians celebrate Christmas — holding steady over recent years:

the role of religion in Christmas celebrations appears to be declining. Today, 46% of Americans say they celebrate Christmas as primarily a religious (rather than cultural) holiday, down from 51% who said this in 2013, with Millennials less likely than other adults to say they celebrate Christmas in a religious way. A majority of U.S. adults (56%) also say religious aspects of Christmas are emphasized less in American society today than in the past, though relatively few are bothered by this trend.

Wow! So now, only 46% of Americans celebrate Christmas as primarily a religious holiday.

And over half don’t care if the religious aspect is de-emphasised, which, as Americans told Pew, is happening.

The second fact concerns the greetings ‘Merry Christmas’ and ‘Happy Holidays’:

 About half of Americans (52%) now say it doesn’t matter how stores greet their customers over the holidays, up from 46% in 2012. About a third (32%) choose “merry Christmas” – down considerably from the 42% who said this five years ago. Republicans are much more likely than Democrats to say they prefer “merry Christmas.”

The preference for ‘Merry Christmas’ dropped by ten per cent in only five years’ time! It’s now under one third.

Also, why is it not surprising that more Republicans than Democrats prefer ‘Merry Christmas’?

The third fact concerns public Nativity displays on government property:

A growing share says religious displays should not be allowed on government property under any circumstances (26%, up from 20% three years ago). At the same time, a declining share say Christian symbols should be allowed on government property even if they are unaccompanied by symbols from other religions (37% today, down from 44% in 2014). Roughly three-in-ten (29%) say these displays should be allowed only if they are accompanied by other religious symbols like Hanukkah candles, a share that has held relatively steady in recent years.

In 2014, 20% believed there should be no religious displays on government property. In just three years, that percentage has grown by six points.

Furthermore, the number those who support Christian symbols on government property at Christmas has decreased by seven per cent in the same time period.

That is a lot in such a short space of time.

The fourth fact is not a survey piece as such but relates to Christmas displays on public property and how successful they are in going unchallenged:

In the 1980s, the Supreme Court handed down two landmark rulings that allow for displays of Christmas crèches, Hanukkah menorah and other religious holiday symbols on public property so long as they do not actively endorse or promote a particular religion or religion in generalIn practice, religious symbols that are a part of larger secular holiday display (containing, say, Christmas trees, Santa Claus and reindeer) have had a much better chance of surviving a court challenge than those displays that are solely or more overtly religious.

The fifth fact relates to Americans’ belief in the biblical Christmas story between 2014 and 2017:

Two-thirds (66%) say Jesus was born to a virgin, compared with 73% who said this in 2014; 75% believe he was laid in a manger, down from 81%. Similarly, the shares who say they believe that wise men, guided by a star, brought Jesus gifts — and that an angel appeared to shepherds to announce the birth of Jesus — also have declined. A slim majority of U.S. adults (57%) believe that all four of these things actually happened, down from 65% three years ago. Belief in these events has declined not only among people with no religious affiliation, but among Christians as well. Overall, about one-in-five Americans (19%) now say none of these things actually happened.

Ding! Ding! Ding! An increasing number of Christians no longer believe the events of Christmas and Epiphany took place.

How sad is that?

Also, in 2014, just under two-thirds of Americans believed all four events took place. That percentage has dropped eight points since then to an anaemic 57%.

Again, this has happened in only three years’ time.

Good grief.

What will the results be in 2020? I shudder to think.

Don’t let anyone tell you there is no war on Christmas. There is, and the anti-Christmas people are winning, bit by bit, year by year.

Another Pew survey follows tomorrow.

Earlier this year, the British mothers’ site Mumsnet and grandmother’s site Gransnet each took a survey of grandparents’ attitudes towards babies’ names.

Mumsnet‘s and Gransnet‘s results are now in. The two groups worked together on the surveys.

Generally speaking, 81% (Gransnet) to 85% (Mumsnet) of grandparents have no problem with their grandchildren’s names.

However, Gransnet says that, for the small majority that do:

44% of grandparents said that the disagreement was with their daughter, 22% with their son, 17% with their daughter-in-law and only 6% with their son-in-law. In order to avoid using the hated name, 17% said they avoid mentioning the child’s name when talking to other people about them, another 17% admit to using the child’s name begrudgingly and 6% said they avoid saying the name at all. 39%, however, have found that they’ve come to terms with the name now that they’ve got used to it.

Mumsnet says that grandmothers are more likely to object to names than grandfathers:

Forty-four percent of parents said the complaints came from their own mother and 42% said they came from their mother-in-law. Only 14% said their dad objected and the figure was the same for objections from father-in-laws.

That should be fathers-in-law.

Anyway, on September 13, The Telegraph had an article about the survey and included a list of popular baby names over the past 100 years, which makes for interesting reading.

I don’t know what the situation is in the US, but British names have changed over the past 20 years (emphases mine):

Among the reasons given for such grand parental distaste is that – like Muireann – the name is too hard to pronounce. This does not explain, however, why names loathed by grandparents include Charlotte, Jack, Sally and Finn, my own son’s name. (His grandparents love it, by the way. Or at least, they claim to.)

Other objections raised by grandparents include the name being too odd, too “made-up” or too old-fashioned; annoyance that their suggested name hadn’t been used; and annoyance that a family name hadn’t been used. For some, the name is just too ugly. Aurora, Elijah and Tabitha were cited among the offensive choices.

With regard to Tabitha, one wonders why people don’t use Dorcas instead.

Jack and Finn sound like nicknames. Yet, Jack is perfectly acceptable as a name on its own, apparently:

Derived from Jackin (earlier Jankin), a medieval diminutive of JOHN. It is often regarded as an independent name. During the Middle Ages it was very common, and it became a slang word meaning “man”. It was frequently used in fairy tales and nursery rhymes, such as ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’, ‘Little Jack Horner’, and ‘Jack Sprat’.

Anyone naming their baby daughter Sally should put the full name on the birth certificate. Sally is a diminutive of Sarah.

The boys’ names from 1944 through to 1984 included (among others) John, James, Matthew, Michael, Richard and Robert.

Girls’ names between 1944 and 1974 were straightforward: Ann, Barbara, Jean, Mary, Sarah and Susan, to name but a few.

These are the most popular names for boys and girls as of 2015. I omitted the few conventional ones:

Oliver, ​J​ack, Harry, George, Jacob, Charlie, Noah, William, Oscar​

Amelia, ​Olivia​, Emily​​, Isla​​, Ava​​, Ella​​, Isabella​​, Mia​, Poppy​​

Charlie? Charles, surely. Harry is short for Henry. Parents, please take note.

Poppy? Hmm.

What a parent thinks is cute is something the child will have to endure for a lifetime. Perhaps the solution is a more conventional middle name that can be used if necessary.

Monday, August 7, 2017 marked President Donald Trump’s 200th day in office.

On May 2, I wrote about Trump’s first 100 days in office and his rally on April 29 to mark that milestone. His accomplishments were already too numerous to list individually.

First 200 days

The Gateway Pundit has a list with accompanying graphs of Trump’s achievements since his inauguration. Highlights follow, emphases in the original.

Stock market

In President Trump’s first six months since the election and since his inauguration the US Stock Markets are at record highs and millions of Americans are benefitting in their retirement savings accounts.

* The DOW daily closing stock market average has risen 18% since the election on November 8th. (On November 9th the DOW closed at 18,332 – yesterday on July 19th the DOW closed at 21,641 for another all time stock market closing high).
* Since the election the DOW has set a new all time closing high one out of every four days the market is open! …
* The S&P 500 and the NASDAQ have both set new all-time highs during this period.
* The US Stock Market gained $4 trillion in wealth since Trump was elected!
* The S&P 500 also broke $20 Trillion for the first time in its history.

US Debt

As of today [July 20], the US Debt has decreased under President Trump since his inauguration by (-$103) Billion. (President Obama increased the US debt in his first 6 months more than $974 Billion or nearly $1 Trillion.)  The difference between Presidents Trump and Obama is more than $1 Trillion.

Unemployment

Also according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the unemployment rate since President Trump’s inauguration decreased from 4.8% to 4.4% (January through June 2017). The unemployment rate in January 2017 was 4.8% and by June it was down to 4.4%. Unemployment under President Obama on the other hand moved in the opposite direction. In his first six months as President the US unemployment rate increased each month from 7.8% in January 2009 to 9.5% by June of 2009.

Choose from one of the following two tweets on which job number is accurate:

Job security has also improved:

Inflation

As noted earlier this week, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics the US inflation rate decreased to an eight month low in June to 1.6%. This is in part due to President Trump’s energy policies that are helping average Americans with cheaper gas and electricity.

Housing sales

Housing sales are red-hot in the US right now. In 2011, houses for sale were on the market an average 84 days. This year, it’s just 45 days.

According to the US Census Bureau, there were nearly twice as many US housing sales in the past couple of months as there were under President Obama in 2009 during the same time period. (The annualized housing sales rate for May 2017 is reported at 610,000 where in 2009 this amount was only 376,000.)

Decrease in regulations

Even far left Politico notes that significant new federal regulations since Trump’s inauguration have slowed to an almost total halt.

Investors Business Daily also has a list of Trump’s achievements and reported:

Illegals

Other achievements

President Trump has met many world leaders and has impressed all of them, with the possible exceptions of Angela Merkel and the Pope.

He is working hard to fulfil his slogan of ‘promises made, promises kept’. The following are being or have been implemented:

* Dismantling Obama’s climate change initiatives.
* Travel bans for individuals from a select number of countries embroiled in terrorist atrocities.
* Enforcing regulatory reform.
* Protecting Law enforcement.
* Mandating for every new regulation to eliminate two.
* Defeating ISIS.
* Rebuilding the military.
* Building a border wall.
* Cutting funding for sanctuary cities.
* Approving pipelines.
* Reducing regulations on manufacturers.
* Placing a hiring freeze on federal employees.
* Exiting the US from the TPP.

Polls

Several big polling organisations have continued to downplay Trump’s popularity and achievements:

The real view is less bleak.

On August 4, Progress Polls published results of one of their Twitter polls:

A Zogby poll shows Trump gaining popularity:

On August 4, Gallup reported a surge in optimism from small business owners (emphases mine below):

Small-business owners’ optimism about their business situation has edged up in the past quarter to a new 10-year high. The Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index for the third quarter is at +106, up 11 points since Quarter 2 and the highest since +113 measured in the second quarter of 2007. Index scores between the first and third quarters of 2016 ranged between 64 and 68.

Bill Gates is on-side

Bill Gates has tweeted support for the Department of Energy’s work:

What to watch for

https://imgur.com/lD1MC7y

Trump and his advisers are currently at his golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey, while parts of the White House are being refurbished, e.g. the heating and air conditioning systems. Contrary to what Big Media have said, he is not on holiday.

There is the North Korea situation. Trump’s British supporter Nigel Farage says that the US president will handle this as peaceably as possible. On Thursday, August 10, Farage told ITV’s Good Morning Britain, ‘Trump is not a warmonger’. In an excellent analysis, The Conservative Treehouse says that Trump will use trade and economics to throttle North Korea.

Trump will take on the do-nothing Republicans. Even when they’re winning, they are losing. He did not hesitate to call out Senator Mitch McConnell by name after the senator said Trump’s expectations were too high:

The Benghazi issue from 2012, quietly — and wrongly — put to rest by Obama’s State Department, could actually be investigated:

Then there is the seemingly unstoppable Russian collusion accusation. If the Left can successfully call out their own on this matter, a nation would be grateful:

I hope that article from The Nation — a left-wing publication — gets traction this weekend. An excerpt follows:

All this was set in motion when the DNC’s mail server was first violated in the spring of 2016 and by subsequent assertions that Russians were behind that “hack” and another such operation, also described as a Russian hack, on July 5. These are the foundation stones of the edifice just outlined. The evolution of public discourse in the year since is worthy of scholarly study: Possibilities became allegations, and these became probabilities. Then the probabilities turned into certainties, and these evolved into what are now taken to be established truths. By my reckoning, it required a few days to a few weeks to advance from each of these stages to the next. This was accomplished via the indefensibly corrupt manipulations of language repeated incessantly in our leading media.

Lost in a year that often appeared to veer into our peculiarly American kind of hysteria is the absence of any credible evidence of what happened last year and who was responsible for it. It is tiresome to note, but none has been made available. Instead, we are urged to accept the word of institutions and senior officials with long records of deception. These officials profess “high confidence” in their “assessment” as to what happened in the spring and summer of last year—this standing as their authoritative judgment. Few have noticed since these evasive terms first appeared that an assessment is an opinion, nothing more, and to express high confidence is an upside-down way of admitting the absence of certain knowledge.

By Christmas, most anti-Trumpers will grudgingly come round to see that their president is doing a fantastic job. Even if they do not like him, all they need to realise is that he is working — and winning — for all Americans.

I will have more on this next week.

MAGA!

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