From immigration reform to God and the Superbowl, public opinion matters and these charts give you the headlines you should know if you care about or work on social issues. 

By Eleni Delimpaltadaki Janis 

Significant Gains in Support for Citizenship for Undocumented Immigrants 


Today, 62% to 35% of Americans favor a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants—up form 50%-48% in 2010. A majority of Republicans, 53 percent, now favor the change", up 22 percentage points from 2010. (AP/GfK)

"Republicans aren’t the only group whose views have shifted significantly. In August of 2010, just 39 percent of seniors favored a path to citizenship. Now, 55 percent do. Among those without a college degree, support has increased from 45 percent to 57 percent. And 59 percent of whites now favor a way for illegal immigrants to gain citizenship, up from 44 percent in August 2010, and 41 percent in September 2009."

The U.S. Debt: Putting the Conversation in Context

As the conversation for the so-called debt ceiling continue, let's keep in mind and put in context the debate: "the debt load during World War II was far worse—and it was followed by one of America’s periods of greatest prosperity." (Quartz)

Credit: This chart was created by Quartz reporter Ritchie King apeared in a post by Matt Phillips. 


People or Markets Not Be Left to their Own Devices: Government must ensure access to opportunity

"The governemnt should do more to reduce the gap between the rich and the poor"

Credit: Public Religion Research Institute



LGBT Rights: Progress but the Fight Shall/Must Go On

Overall support for marriage equality increased by 13 points in just three years, from 38 percent in 2008 to 51 percent in 2011 


Religion and religiosity—often defined by how often one attends services—affect support for LGBT equality.

Champions of support include:  Jews (76%), Catholics (57%), White Protestants (53%), young people (61%), and women (54%) (ABC News/Washington Post, March 2011). For more on attitudes toward LGBT issues and people, read The Opportunity Agenda's report  


Quickly-Approaching SCOTUS Decision on
Affirmative Action Case

In preparation for the SCOTUS decision on Fisher v. University of Texas, remember that wording can have a significan affect on support for affirmative Action


 For more on affirmative action and public opinion, go to


Don't disregard cognitive dissonance: Womens' Rights: Pro-Choice

According to the Public Religion Research Institute, "the binary “pro-choice”/“pro-life” labels do not reflect the complexity of Americans’ views on abortion. Seven-in-ten Americans say the term “pro-choice” describes them somewhat or very well, and nearly two-thirds simultaneously say the term “pro-life” describes them somewhat or very well. This overlapping identity is present in virtually every demographic group." 

Credit: Public Religion Research Institute


But support for Roe vs. Wade, which turned 40 on January 16, holds strong, although religion and religiosity remains a significant predictor.


Credit: Pew Research Center, Jan 2013


At the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, that established a woman's right to abortion at least in the first three months of pregnancy, continues to be supported by a majority of Americans. This support has remained more or less steady in the last two decades, as research by Pew shows. However, "[t]here continue to be substantial religious and partisan differences over whether to overturn Roe v. Wade, and over the broader question of whether abortion should be legal or illegal in all or most cases. White evangelical Protestants are the only major religious group in which a majority (54%) favors completely overturning the Roe v. Wade decision. Large percentages of white mainline Protestants (76%), black Protestants (65%) and white Catholics (63%) say the ruling should not be overturned. Fully 82% of the religiously unaffiliated oppose overturning Roe v. Wade. Half of Americans who attend religious services at least weekly favor completely overturning the Roe v. Wade decision, compared with just 17% of those who attend less often" (Pew Research)

Presidential Election 2012 (Just in case anyone forgot) 

Obama made gains among both Hispanic (4%) and Asian American voters (11%) and got 71% and 73% of each group's vote respectively, according to the Times (numbers may vary by source at this point). Ninety-three percent of African Americans voted for Obama. Overall, racial minorities made up 45% of Obama's total vote, a record number, according to Nate Silver. 

Credit: The New York Times, 2012 Election exit poll analysis  

Faith is a predictor of support of social issues...and even sports matches outcomes.

God had his hand in the Super Bowl: Nearly 3-in-10 (27 percent) Americans believe that God plays a role in determining which team wins sports events. 

(Public Religion Research Institute, Jan 16-20, 2012)

According to the Public Religion Research Institute, "[m]ore than one-third (36%) of Americans who live in the South agree that God plays a role in determining which team wins a sporting event, compared to nearly 3-in-10 (28%) Americans who live in the Midwest, 1-in-5 (20%) Americans who live in the Northeast, and 15% of Americans who live in the West."
Part 2 is coming next month. Is there a chart you think should be included? Email me here.



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