Will Republicans Abandon This Medical Triumph?
Nicholas Kristof at the New York Times examines the Republican opposition to reauthorizing PEPFAR, (the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief), which was started 20 years ago by the GOP and has saved 25 million lives since. The effort was spurred by a report from the conservative Heritage Foundation which accused the program of promoting abortion. Though some PEPFAR funds go to nonprofits that have expressed support for abortion legalization, U.S. policy prevents U.S. dollars from actually paying for abortions. PRRI surveys have found that 63% of Republicans say abortion should be illegal in most or all cases.
School Book Bans Show No Signs of Slowing, New PEN America Report Finds
NPR’s Tovia Smith writes that a new report from PEN America has found 3,362 cases of book bans in the 2022–23 school year. Florida, with 1,406 instances, represents over 40% of the book bans. Less than half of the books being restricted are about violence or physical abuse, including sexual assault; a little less than a third focus on LGBTQ+ identities; and roughly a third have characters of color and themes of race or racism. PRRI research finds that nearly nine-in-ten Americans oppose “banning books that include depictions of slavery from being taught in public schools” (89%).
Pennsylvania Debuts Automatic Voter Registration, Joining 23 Other States and D.C.
Marisa Iati at The Washington Post looks at Pennsylvania’s decision to implement automatic voter registration, joining 23 other states and the District of Columbia. Residents who are eligible to vote and who obtain or renew a driver’s license or identification card will automatically be guided through the voter registration process by default unless they choose to opt out. Iati notes that in each presidential race since 2012, the candidate who won Pennsylvania also won the election. PRRI finds that 64% of Americans think Congress should pass a voting rights law to guarantee every citizen access to the ballot.
Not Religious, Not Voting?
At The Conversation, former PRRI Public Fellow Evan Stewart writes that nearly 30% of Americans say they have no religious affiliation, and that, as PRRI finds, the so-called “nones” represent about 30% of Democrats and 12% of Republicans. Using data from the Cooperative Election Study, Stewart found that people who identified as atheists and agnostics were more likely to vote than religiously affiliated respondents, especially in more recent elections. Further, he found that people who identified their religion as simply “nothing in particular,” who are about two-thirds of the unaffiliated, were actually less likely to turn out in all four elections.
Read PRRI’s full PRRI 2022 Census of American Religion here.