Public Opinion Monthly: November 2014

Promising Findings on the Public Will for Opportunity

By Lisa Johns

The idea that two ideologically based societies have developed within the United States, and that the differences between them are growing is not entirely right, nor is it entirely wrong, according to The Opportunity Survey. The Opportunity Survey, commissioned by the Opportunity Agenda in 2014, is a new and expansive national survey that examines where the public currently stands on opportunity and measures public support for policies to expand opportunity across a range of issues, including poverty, criminal justice, and housing. The findings show that even when disagreeing politically, Americans still have much in common, especially when it comes to sharing the value of equal opportunity and great concern about inequality. Even more promising is that there exists great concensus when it comes to support for an opportunity society; 85 percent of Americans believe that society functions better when all groups have an equal chance. Read the full article...


Public Opinion Monthly: October 2014

Close to home but not quite there: The American Struggle for Home Opportunity

by Cleo Stern and Lisa Johns

Nearly 50 years ago, a landmark piece of legislation included in the Civil Rights Act was passed in order to promote fair housing opportunities for all Americans. Today, some communities still face steep and unequal obstacles.

The adoption of the Fair Housing Act (FHA) of 1968 marked a federally recognized commitment to ending discrimination in housing practices. The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in the sale, renting, and financing of homes based on race, color, sex, religion, familial status, national origin, or disability.1 Yet despite this legislation, which is intended to guide national housing practices, discrimination is still a pervasive barrier to fair and affordable housing. Findings from our soon to be released Opportunity Survey (November 2014) illustrate the perceptions that different demographic groups hold about housing discrimination in the United States. Read the full article...


Public Opinion Monthly (September 2014) 

Why Everyone Should Be Talking About California's Proposition 47, "The Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act," and "Wobblers"

California voters, who some consider America’s very own Criminal Justice trend-setters, are at it again. A recent brief by the California Budget Project explains California’s Proposition 47: “Proposition 47, which will appear on the November 4, 2014 statewide ballot, would amend the state Penal Code to reclassify certain drug and property crimes as misdemeanors and allow people previously convicted of crimes to be resentenced. Additionally, Proposition 47 would invest in state criminal justice savings resulting from these sentencing changes in drug and mental health treatment, as well as in victim services and programs designed to improve outcomes for K-12 public school students” (California Budget Project, September 2014). Read the full article...


Public Opinion Monthly (August 2014)

Unaccompanied Children at the U.S.-Mexico Border: Public Opinion and Messaging Recommendations

Numerous reports and several children have reported increasing violence in their home countries and a lack of protection against it which spurred them to flee. Upon arrival, some children reunite with family members they have not seen in many years, but their migration is often motivated by violence and other factors, in addition to family separation.

Most Americans think that the U.S. should provide refugee to such children. In a recent survey conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute, researchers found that a majority of Americans (70%) believe that the United States should offer shelter and support while beginning a process to determine whether the children should be deported or allowed to stay in the U.S. In contrast, only 26% believe that the children should be deported immediately back to their home countries.i

The study also reveals (Fig. 1) that there are large demographic differences in support for the two competing policy responses, where age appears to be the most predictive. 18-29 years olds are the most likely group (82%) to support aiding the children while beginning a process to determine whether they should be deported or allowed to stay. In contrast, those 65 years of age and older are the least likely group (50%) to support aid and most likely group to support immediate deportation (45%). Read the full article...