1.25.19 Cuomo Signs New York Reproductive Health Act Into Law

This week, lawmakers in New York passed a bill that would protect abortion access in the state if Roe v. Wade is overturned, and Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed it into law on the anniversary of the historic Supreme Court decision. “It’s about the health and safety of the mother and it’s always been the point where the conservatives wave the flag, they want to roll back Roe v. Wade — this is not gray here it’s black and white,” Cuomo said. One New York business owner, upset by the new law, closed his bookstore for the day, explaining that he didn’t want to give sales tax to the state because of his opposition to abortion. PRRI polling from 2018 shows that 56 percent of Americans believe that Roe v. Wadewas correctly decided and should be upheld. Among New Yorkers, 65 percent believe that Roe was correctly decided, while 28 percent say it was not.

Shutdown Could Slow Mueller Probe

If the government shutdown lasts until February 1, special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into potential coordination between President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russia could be affected. While the investigation’s funding is not at risk—employees working on the investigation will continue to be paid—there may not be money to pay grand jurors. Lucien Bruggeman of ABC News writes, “A spokeswoman for the court said Tuesday that once the court drains its operating budget, grand jurors will continue to be summoned, but payment will be deferred until Congress and President Donald Trump reach a deal to re-open the government.” According to a PRRI survey, nearly four in ten (39 percent) Americans say they have a favorable opinion of Mueller, compared to 45 percent who say they have an unfavorable opinion and 14 percent who say they have not heard of Mueller. Across partisan lines, the differences are starker: Nearly six in ten (59 percent) Democrats, compared to only 17 percent of Republicans, say their opinion of Mueller is positive overall.

Super Bowl Approaches

In less than two weeks, the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams will face off in the biggest sporting event of the year. Since 2013, PRRI has regularly asked Americans about whether they will tune into the big game. Between 6572 percent of Americans typically say they will watch the game.  66 percent of Americans said they would watch the Super Bowl in 2013; 72 percent planned to watch in 2014; 72 percent said they would tune in for the 2015 game; 68 percent said they would watch in 2016; 69 percent said they would watch in 2017; and in 2018, 65 percent said they would tune in, while 34 percent said they would not. Colin Kaepernick, who is known for his controversial practice of kneeling during the National Anthem, and the topic of player protests has continued to be a big topic surrounding the game. Several high-profile artists have reportedly refused to appear at the Super Bowl in solidarity with Kaepernick, who is currently a free agent. In 2018, PRRI’s David Tigabu analyzed PRRI data related to Kaepernick. He wrote, “According to a January PRRI poll, six in ten (60 percent) Americans agree that professional athletes should be required to stand while the anthem is being played, while 36 percent of Americans are opposed to this requirement.”

Is the Religious Left Finding Its Voice?

NPR featured a piece examining a possible emergence of the “religious left.” “Nearly 40 years after some prominent evangelical Christians organized a Moral Majority movement to promote a conservative political agenda, a comparable effort by liberal religious leaders is coalescing in support of immigrant rights, universal health care, LGBTQ rights, and racial justice,” reporter Tom Gjelten writes. Gjelten’s article explores the work of Rev. Jennifer Butler, minister and founder of the group Faith in Public Life. “Butler’s Faith in Public Life movement in recent months has organized a series of rallies to protest the Trump Administration’s detention of migrant families and the president’s plan to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, moves that Butler sees as conflicting with Biblical teachings,” Gjelten writes. Rev. William Barber, an African-American preacher from North Carolina who launched the Moral Monday movement in his home state, is now a key partner in Butler’s coalition. Per Gjelten: “The two often show up at rallies and demonstrations together, walking arm in arm, both wearing their clerical collars.”