Americans Trust British, Public Broadcasting News Most

A recent survey shows Americans trust British news sources more than US-based news sources from The New York Times to their local news outlets. The exception is public broadcasting, which enjoys a high level of trust.

A recent survey shows Americans trust British news sources more than US-based news sources from The New York Times to their local news outlets. The exception is public broadcasting, which enjoys a high level of trust.

Three of the four most trusted news sources by Americans are British. Three of the top six are public television and radio. The seventh most trusted news source is also British.

Americans tend to trust British new sources more than US-based news sources, except for public television. Social media, the Internet and President Trump were rated among untrustworthy news sources.

Based on a survey of more than 8,700 people conducted by the University of Missouri’s Reynolds Journalism Institute, the most trusted news source for Americans is The Economist. The highest ranking US-based publication, in eighth place, is the Wall Street Journal.

On the flip side, the least trusted source of news was Occupy Democrats, a self-described counterbalance to the Tea Party. Following close behind in untrustworthiness were BuzzFeed, Breitbart, social media and President Trump, presumably referencing his Twitter posts.

The London-based BBC is the fourth most trusted news source, while CBS, NBC and ABC find themselves in the untrustworthy category, along with CNN, Fox and Huffpo.

The survey was undertaken in collaboration with 28 media organizations that invited participation. Participants self-selected and tended to live near the news outlets that promoted the survey.

That may account for appearance of the Dallas Morning NewsSeattle TimesDenver Post and Kansas City Star in the trusted category. The Los Angeles Times was in a dead heat with the Wall Street Journal for trustworthiness, but The Washington Post and The New York Times were down the list. Politico had a higher rating than the Post and the Times was followed by USA Today.

The results are a bit surprising since the political orientation of the participants listed to the liberal side of spectrum.

“The survey showed that politically liberal respondents were more trusting than conservatives, while Caucasians were more likely than non-whites to have confidence in the media,” according to a story about the survey by MarketWatch. “The level of trust remained fairly steady among people who identify themselves as liberals or moderates regardless of their age. Among conservatives, trust dropped off sharply with age.”

The survey comes as Trump and others deplore what they call “fake news,” which makes it ironic that many news consumers find him untrustworthy as a new source, ranked near the Internet and social media.

 

Younger Voters Eclipsed Older Voters in 2016 Election

 The 2016 election marked a milepost as Millennials and Gen Xers cast more ballots than their older counterparts, which should signal new campaign and policy approaches to younger voters who are better educated, more secular and less reliable to cast ballots.

 The 2016 election marked a milepost as Millennials and Gen Xers cast more ballots than their older counterparts, which should signal new campaign and policy approaches to younger voters who are better educated, more secular and less reliable to cast ballots.

The 2016 general election will go down in history for a lot of things, including the first time Millennial and Gen X voters eclipsed older voters.

Based on an analysis of Census Bureau data conducted by Pew Research, 69.6 million Americans between the ages of 18 and 51 voted in the 2016 election. Baby Boomers and older generations cast 67.9 million ballots.

More young people become eligible to vote while older people die or emigrate. While the result isn’t surprising, it marks a milepost in US demography when younger, next-generation voters become a majority, which will influence how political campaigns are focused.

Conventional wisdom is that younger voters lean Democratic. Numbers bear that out, but also is a hint that a chunk of Millennials are more conservative than Gen X or Baby Boomers were at the same age. It also may be true, as evidenced by strong support among younger voters for the presidential candidacy of Bernie Sanders, that younger Democrats are more liberal than their older counterparts.

NPR’s Danielle Kurtzleben reports they may be even deeper polarization among Millennials than previous generations. If so, that could complicate any efforts to lower the volume on political discourse and exert more energy looking for common ground.

In addition to greater political polarization, Millennials overall have fewer religious ties and are better educated. They are less white and more Latino. There is also a question about their motivation to vote. Gen Xers and Millennials as age cohorts outgrew Boomers and older generations before 2016, but voter participation rates lagged behind. Pew found only half of Millennials voted in the 2016 election compared to two-thirds for older cohorts, which may have played a role in tipping the presidential election to Donald Trump.

What bears watching is how Millennials settle in as voters. Exit polls in the 2012 presidential election showed GOP challenger Mitt Romney beating President Obama by 2 percentage points among whites ages 18 to 29 with at least a four-year college degree. Four years later, Hillary Clinton beat Trump among college-educated white people by 15 percentage points. Trump scored well with young white voters who identified as evangelicals or lived in rural areas or states with large white majorities. Clinton’s large margin of votes from younger votes was canceled out when many Millennials lost interest after the presidential primaries or voted for third-party candidates.

EU Looks at Limiting Employer Social Media Snooping

Rising levels of employer reviews of job applicant and employee social media posts continue to stoke concern over personal privacy or even if many social media posts are reliable predictors of performance or potential.

Rising levels of employer reviews of job applicant and employee social media posts continue to stoke concern over personal privacy or even if many social media posts are reliable predictors of performance or potential.

As more employers view social media posts by prospective and existing employees, the European Union is moving to put up some boundaries for online snooping.

CareerBuilder, a recruitment company, says 70 percent of US employers admit to using social networks to screen job candidates. That’s up from just 11 percent in 2006. In a survey conducted for CareerBuilder by Harris Poll, more than a quarter of employers said the discovery of online content caused them to reprimand or fire existing employees.

According to a report by the BBC, an EU working group is looking at ways to impose restrictions on employer searches. The working group’s recommendations could wind up influencing changes in EU data protection laws.

Many states, including Oregon and Washington, have passed anti-snooping statutes. Research for the Society for Human Resource Management indicated only 20 percent of HR professionals use social networking screens, largely because of potential legal risks involving racial, religious or age discrimination. They also question whether social media posts are good predictors of performance or potential.

Snooping techniques such as demanding an employee’s or job applicant’s passwords or making a friend request are already taboo, Human resource experts also say it is good form to let an applicant know when a social networking search is planned.

But the emerging EU recommendations say searches should be relevant to a person’s qualifications or job performance. Searches also might vary by the type of social network. Deeper dives, for example, might be allowed in sites such as LinkedIn, which is intended for professional networking and job searches.

The Harris survey for CareerBuilder found that provocative photographs or content and evidence of drinking or drug use were the top job search terminators. A third of respondents in the survey said they would rule out a job candidate who made discriminatory comments or bad-mouthed a previous employer.

On the flip side, a job candidate’s cause could be aided by posting information or evidence supporting their self-described qualifications and maintaining a site projecting a professional image.

Job recruiters, based on the survey, look for online evidence that someone is well-rounded and has a personality that would fit a company’s culture. Not surprisingly, communication skills, or the lack thereof, on display in social media can tip the scales for or against getting a gig.

While there may be a presumption by some that social media is intended for exchanges among friends or followers, there may not be exactly how job recruiters see it. In a 2014 story in Time, people in the job market were warned not to post about illegal drug use and take care with their grammar. The story noted that one in six recruiters took into account a person’s political affiliation.

Some of the concern over employer snooping in social media stems from the use of search engines to track what employees are posting, whether at work or on their own time. Many employers take social media posts seriously enough to discipline or fire employees over content they judge as inappropriate or defamatory.

Oregon Catalyst Survey Shows No GOP Frontrunner

An online survey by a conservative GOP political group indicates Secretary of State Dennis Richardson is an early leader in the field of possible Republican gubernatorial candidates in 2018, but no one really can be called a frontrunner.

An online survey by a conservative GOP political group indicates Secretary of State Dennis Richardson is an early leader in the field of possible Republican gubernatorial candidates in 2018, but no one really can be called a frontrunner.

The 2018 Oregon gubernatorial election is a long way off, but political jostling has already begun. A 500-respondent online survey conducted by a conservative political group indicates there is no clear Republican frontrunner to challenge Governor Kate Brown.

According to Oregon Catalyst, Secretary of State Dennis Richardson holds the pole position with 29 percent, followed at 23 percent by Rep. Bill Post, who represents Keizer, St. Paul and Newberg.

Bend Rep. Knute Buehler, who has been positioning himself for a 2018 gubernatorial run, weighs in with only 9 percent of Republicans who participated in the survey. Happy Valley Mayor Lori Chavez-DeRemer, who says she is exploring a gubernatorial run, attracted 8 percent. Bud Pierce, the unsuccessful GOP challenger to Brown in the 2016 election, appeals to 12 percent.

“The field is much more divided than we anticipated,” writes Reagan Knapp of the survey conducted from June 9-18. “No one is running away with the nomination at this point, which means anyone who can raise the money to get noticed has a chance to win.”

Rep. Bill Post could be a serious contender with strong support from conservative Republicans.

Rep. Bill Post could be a serious contender with strong support from conservative Republicans.

Richardson “is an obvious choice to run,” says the Oregon Catalyst, because he has arguably the highest name ID, has won a statewide race and could have a leg up in fundraising. He runs strongly in Southern Oregon, where he is from, and among older GOP voters.

Rep. Knute Buehler from Bend may be the favorite of Republican moderates.

Rep. Knute Buehler from Bend may be the favorite of Republican moderates.

Post has been accumulating a conservative GOP following while serving in the Oregon House. The survey indicates his support is strongest, as you would expect, in the Mid-Willamette Valley.

Buehler’s bid is bolstered by his more moderate political positioning and his experience running against Brown for secretary of state in 2012. The survey indicates he gets high marks from younger GOP voters between 18 and 34.

Happy Valley Mayor Lori Chavez-DeRemer has expressed interest in running and polls best in the Portland metropolitan area and among younger voters.

Happy Valley Mayor Lori Chavez-DeRemer has expressed interest in running and polls best in the Portland metropolitan area and among younger voters.

Pierce’s support is hold-over from his 2016 campaign, which got off to a start, but then imploded. While his support stretches across the spectrum of Republican voters, he doesn’t soar with any of them. Forer gubernatorial candidate Allen Alley was included in the survey, but he got only 4 percent of support. Alley hasn’t given any indication he plans to run in 2018.

Chavez-DeRemer lost a race for an Oregon House seat in 2016, but among the group of hopefuls holds the most appeal in the Portland metropolitan area. She also received 35 percent of the younger voters participating in the survey.

The results from the Oregon Catalyst survey can’t be taken too literally. The Catalyst is a blog that has a strong conservative following. Plus, participation was promoted via the social media sites of the candidates included in the survey. “We think this poll [of self-described Republicans] is more accurate than a straw poll, but still less accurate than a traditional poll conducted via telephone,” Knapp notes.

Survey Shows Medicaid Patient Satisfaction High

Despite political talking points, a Harvard University survey shows satisfaction is high among Medicaid enrollees across the board.

Despite political talking points, a Harvard University survey shows satisfaction is high among Medicaid enrollees across the board.

One of the GOP talking points to defend slashing federal Medicaid spending is that it doesn’t provide good health care. A survey conducted by the Department of Health Policy and Management at Harvard’s Chan School found the exact opposite.

Politics is not reputed for fully factual discourse. In this case, the claim appears to be pretty close to false.

NPR reported that 84 percent of Medicaid patients said they were able to access all the health care they needed in the previous six months. Only 3 percent said they experienced long wait lines or doctors who refused to take Medicaid patients. The results applied across the board for patients in the traditional Medicaid program, Medicaid managed care plans and among the elderly and disabled, regardless whether they were in states with expanded Medicaid programs. Researchers did not include patients accessing Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act expansion or patients in nursing homes.

Medicaid is known as a health program for the poor, and it is. But the largest amount of Medicaid reimbursement pays for health care for the elderly and disabled, including 62 percent of the seniors living in nursing homes.

Medicaid is known as a health program for the poor, and it is. But the largest amount of Medicaid reimbursement pays for health care for the elderly and disabled, including 62 percent of the seniors living in nursing homes.

House Speaker Paul Ryan belittled Medicaid last spring when the House was considering the GOP American Health Care Act. “I mean, what good is your coverage if you can’t get a doctor?” Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price used a similar argument last month at a congressional hearing, claiming one third of US doctors refuse to accept Medicaid enrollees.

According to Michael Barnett, who authored the Harvard survey report, researchers evaluated data from more than 270,000 Americans enrolled in Medicaid in 2013. Barnett said the average rating of Medicaid patients was 7.9 out of 10, with 10 representing “the best health care possible.” He added that almost half of patients gave Medicaid a 9 or 10 rating. “If nearly half the people are giving it nearly a perfect score, that’s pretty good,” Barnett told NPR.

“Part of what motivated this study is that there is a lot of rhetoric and what we would call misinformation around ‘What does Medicaid do, how effective is it, and how satisfied are enrollees with their coverage?’” he said. “This is the survey that really provides the most reliable large-scale information that we have to date, [with] over 270,000 enrollees, and they’re largely satisfied.”

The findings seem to be borne out by on-the-ground reactions to Republican health care legislation that would give states more control over Medicaid and slash federal funding over the next decade by as much as $800 billion. Lawmakers from both political parties report larger-than-normal crowds at their town hall meetings with many people pleading to avoid steep spending cuts on Medicaid.

While Medicaid is largely viewed as a health care program for the poor, the largest amount of Medicaid reimbursements is for health care for older people and disable persons. Medicaid pays for 62 percent of seniors living in nursing homes. Medicaid also pays for 50 percent of all births in the United States.

Clear, Fair Questions Key to Reliable Survey Results

Reliable survey research depends on many factors, but it all starts with questions that are asked clearly and fairly.

Reliable survey research depends on many factors, but it all starts with questions that are asked clearly and fairly.

A lot of things need to be done right to deliver reliable and useful survey data. At the top of the list is asking relevant questions clearly and fairly.

Fuzzy questions produce fuzzy answers. Skewed questions produce skewed results. Fuzzy answers and skewed results aren’t a solid foundation for successful advertising and advocacy campaigns or for smart business decision-making.

Clarity in the wording of questions is essential to avoid confusing respondents. You want to make sure respondents have a common comprehension of the question so you can reliably measure their responses. A best practice in public opinion polling and market research is to test questions to ensure they are as clear and commonly understood as possible

Question clarity is becoming more important because of increased cultural diversity and audiences that include English-as-a-second-language speakers. Question testing needs to include this variable as well.

Along with clarity, questions should explore a single idea, issue or product feature. If you mix in multiple ideas, issues or features, you won’t necessarily know which one is the factor that fetches a  “like” or “dislike” answer. Sarah Taylor, in a blog post about survey questions, provides this example:

For example, asking "how valuable and organized was the Ebook?" is mixing two issues together: value and organization. Maybe the respondent really enjoyed the content in the Ebook, but thought it was organized poorly. If you ask them that question, the response may be for either issue and you won't really have a sense of what needs to be changed for your next Ebook. Instead, ask two questions: “How valuable was the e-book?" and “Rate the organization of the Ebook" to get better quality data.

The vocabulary of questions should be basic. Respondents will run the gamut of education and backgrounds. If your subject matter is technical, take special care to avoid jargon or phrases that may go over the head of some respondents. In some cases, you may need to preface a question so there is a common framework for all respondents. Special care is required to make sure any explanation is fair and factual.

Which brings us to skewed questions. If you are in the propaganda business, skewed questions and push polls may be tools of your trade. But for everyone else, skewed questions aren’t helpful and can be disastrous if you mistakenly base million-dollar campaigns on their findings.

Finding out what you need to know – as opposed to what you want to know – is the proper attitude to bring to any kind of research, whether  a quantitative poll or qualitative focus group. Curiosity, not a fixed mind set, is the right frame of mind.

Credible pollsters and market researchers can readily identify and will avoid loaded words or leading sequences of questions. But sometimes skew still slips in, as it did in this famous question, “Would you vote for a woman for president if she were qualified in every other way?” In addition to being confusing, the question implies being a woman is a qualification as opposed to a gender. Subtle, yes, but doesn’t mean it can’t have a significant effect.

The order of questions can influence responses. Pollsters and market researchers will often rotate the order of questions to minimize the possibility of skewing results.

Give respondents a full range of choices in evaluating an idea, issue or product feature. You also might give them a chance to comment through an open-ended question, which allows you to capture their words, not just their answers.

One of the most common forms of skewing is the omission of a key word or concept. If you were polling the congressional Republican proposals to replace Obamacare, it would be a mistake not to test the concept of lower health insurance premiums in connection with the cost of keeping premiums low for patients with pre-existing conditions. Who wouldn’t want to see lower health insurance premiums, but at which price and paid by whom? Installing residential rooftop solar panels will be enticing as a way to cut electricity bills, but the financial equation is incomplete with exploring how long it would take to break even after making the investment in solar panels.

Many other factors determine the accuracy and reliability of survey findings, such as representative samples, sample sizes, length of surveys, when surveys are conducted and the type of survey used. Surveys can generate rich, meaningful and actionable data if done right. A good place to start is to get the survey questions right.