Americans and Judge Kavanaugh: The Numbers Are In

Robert P. Jones: “Values Voters” are more Likely “Nostalgia Voters”
PRRI CEO Robert P. Jones PhD appeared on What America’s Thinking, on Hill.TV this week to discuss why immigration policy is one of the driving factors behind white evangelicals and their support of President Donald Trump. Jones explains, “What I think is going on is Trump’s emphasis on immigration, his anti-immigrant emphasis that has just hammered throughout the campaign, all the way through his presidency, goes to the big concern for white evangelicals.” In June, PRRI found that 44 percent of white evangelical Protestants supported laws that would block refugees from entering the United States, while 44 percent opposed it. According to Jones, this voting bloc can be referred to as “nostalgia voters,” instead of “values voters.” “[They] are looking back to this golden age where they were more of the demographic center of the country, and their values were more the center of the country,” Jones says.
Voter Study Group: Popular 2016 Narrative on Trump is Not What It Appears
A recent study by the Democracy Fund’s Voter Study Group, co-authored by PRRI Associate Research Director Robert Griffin PhD, and John Sides PhD, a professor of political science at George Washington University, shows how a popular narrative about the economic anxieties of the white working class may be incorrect. Griffin says, “The notion that Trump supporters are experiencing unusual levels of economic distress doesn’t hold up under scrutiny. In reality, those experiencing financial hardship are more likely to disapprove of the president.” The study finds that black and Hispanics are far more likely to report economic distress than white people. For example, 22 percent of Hispanic respondents reported having difficulty paying off a credit card, compared to 16 percent of black respondents and 12 percent of white respondents. Similarly, 20 percent of Hispanic respondents reported difficulty paying their rent or mortgage, compared to 12 percent of black respondents, and 10 percent of white respondents. The report also finds that economic distress is more common among those who support liberal policies, not conservative ones.
Study Dispels Anti-Transgender Narrative
Despite groups like the Family Research Council promoting the theory that individuals are using the bathroom of their preference to commit sexual assault, a recent study found the opposite. In fact, the new study, published in The Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, found that groups like the Family Research Council were among the only people pushing these claims. In an accompanying editorial for the HuffPost, psychiatrist Brian Barnett writes of the realities of the investigation. “The safety concerns of those opposing the expansion of transgender bathroom access aren’t based in reality,” Barnett writes. “With millions of Americans using public facilities daily, there is simply no reason to be concerned about sharing bathrooms with the country’s 1.4 million transgender citizens or worry about what might happen if they are legally permitted to use the bathroom of their choice.” According to Barnett, the group investigating the incidents only discovered one instance “of a transgender perpetrator in an alleged sex crime in a changing room. In 2016, PRRI found that 60 percent of Americans opposed laws that would require a transgender individual to use the restroom of the listed on their birth certificate, while 38 percent of the country supported them.
U.S. Officials Talk Sex Crimes with Pope Francis
On Thursday in Rome, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo led a delegation of prominent U.S. Catholics in a meeting with Vatican officials. The Catholic Church has been mired in new allegations of abuse and cover-up, specifically involving the former Archbishop of Washington, D.C. Theodore McCarrick. In an August statement on the matter, DiNardo writes of the “spiritual crisis,” facing the church. “We are faced with a spiritual crisis that requires not only spiritual conversion, but practical changes to avoid repeating the sins and failures of the past. I have no illusions about the degree to which trust in the bishops has been damaged by these past sins and failures.” DiNardo’s meeting comes the same week that the current Archbishop of Washington, Cardinal Robert Wuerl will reportedly discuss his own resignation with Pope Francis. A PRRI report from 2016 shows that those who were raised Catholic are more likely than those raised in any other religion to cite the clergy sexual-abuse scandal (32 percent vs.19 percent) as a primary reason for why they left the Church. Pope Francis will also convene a larger group of U.S. Catholic officials in early 2019.
Clinton Prosecutor: Robert Mueller is a “Man of Integrity.”
According to Ken Starr, the former solicitor general of the United States and independent counsel who investigated former President Bill Clinton, Robert Mueller is a man of integrity. Starr discussed the current special counsel and his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election in a recent interview with MSNBC. “I know Bob Mueller to be a man of integrity. I’ve expressed concerns about some of the people around him and some of the noise that we have seen,” Starr says. “I think it’s important for the American people, all of the American people, to have confidence in the integrity of the investigation. Those issues were raised when I was on the duty station, and they’re being raised now with Bob Mueller. But I know him to be a man of integrity.” Recent data shows that most Americans do have confidence in Mueller and his investigation. A 2018 Democracy Fund Voter Study Group survey, co-authored by PRRI’s Associate Director of Research, Rob Griffin PhD, found that nearly half (48 percent) of Americans felt that Mueller’s investigation was being conducted fairly.