Posts tagged with "Unemployment"

Reuters/Ipsos poll: No bounce in support for Trump as Americans see pandemic, not crime, as top issue

September 3, 2020

It’s the pandemic, stupid! President Donald Trump’s attempt to mobilize his base by making civil unrest a central theme of his re-election campaign has yet to boost his political standing, as a majority of U.S. voters remain sympathetic to protests against racism, according to findings of a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Wednesday, September 2.

Conducted between August 31 and September 1, the national opinion poll found that 40% of registered voters support Trump, a Republican; compared with 47% who said they will vote for his Democratic opponent Joe Biden. Biden’s lead over Trump has remained largely unchanged over the past three weeks—a time during which both parties held their nominating conventions.

Trailing Biden in most national opinion polls since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus this year, Trump has sought to change the subject from a pandemic that has killed more than 180,000 Americans, blaming Black Lives Matters protesters for violence in the cities and accusing Biden of being weak on crime, Reuters notes.

However,  in the poll, the majority of respondents— 78% — remained “very” or “somewhat” concerned about the coronavirus. Nearly 60% said Trump is at least partly responsible for the protracted school and business closures due to the virus, as well as for the high number of coronavirus cases in the United States. More than 6 million Americans have been infected with the virus, more people than in any other country.

By contrast, most Americans do not see crime as a major priority and do not think it is increasing in their communities, the poll showed. Only about 8% of American adults listed crime as a top priority for the country, compared with 30% who said it was the economy or jobs, and 16% who said it was the healthcare system.

What’s more, 62% of registered voters—including 62% of Democrats and 65% of Republicans—said crime was not increasing in their communities

According to the poll, 53% of American adults said they remain sympathetic to people out protesting against racial inequality, nearly unchanged from 52% in a similar poll that ran in late July.

While support for the protesters has declined overall since the immediate aftermath of the police killing in May of George Floyd in Minneapolis, which sparked a national conversation on race, the poll showed more than half of suburban Americans and more than half of undecided registered voters are still sympathetic to them.

“The simple truth is Donald Trump failed to protect America. So now he’s trying to scare America,” Biden said in Pittsburgh this week.

Research contact: @Reuters

The Happiness Museum in Denmark documents when and why life is good

August 28, 2020

If you have been having a little trouble “finding your happy place” during the last few months, just buy a ticket to Copenhagen and visit the Happiness Museum.

Indeed, many of us would admit that “guilty pleasures” are the closest we have come to true happiness during 2020—a time of global pandemic, cutthroat politics, unemployment, economic turmoil, and social unrest.

Which is why the opening of a new Happiness Museum in (where else?) Denmark feels like the most optimistic story of the year, CNN reports.

The world’s first museum dedicated explicitly to the concept of happiness had a quiet debut on July 14 in a cozy 2,585-square- foot space in Copenhagen’s historic center.It features interactive exhibits and displays exploring what generates happiness.

The new attraction is the brainchild of the Happiness Research Institute, an independent think tank that explores the science behind why some societies are happier than others with the end goal of encouraging global policymakers to include wellbeing as an integral part of the public policy debate.

Meik Wiking, CEO of the Happiness Research Institute, recently told CNN that the idea to open a museum came after years of fielding requests from the public about visits to their drab office space.

“I think people imagine that the institute is like a magical place—a room full of puppies or ice cream,” he said, “but we are just eight people sitting in front of computers looking at data.”

“So we thought, why don’t we create a place where people can experience happiness from different perspectives and give them an exhibition where they can become a little bit wiser around some of the questions we try to solve?”

But, more than six months into the COVID-19 pandemic, Wiking had to decide whether or not to go ahead with the opening. “We thought, there might not be a lot of guests these days, but the world does need a little bit more happiness,” he told CNN.

They set in place strict COVID-19 protocols— including a one-way traffic system and a cap of 50 guests—and opened their doors to the public.

Ever since, the museum has given visitors a tour of global happiness, showing how perceptions of it have changed throughout history, what it looks like in different regions, and why some countries report more of it than others.

Along the way, there are also questionnaires and interactive experiences that aim to give guests “aha” moments, as well as enhance the Institute’s ongoing research.

For example, Wiking says trust toward fellow citizens and political institutions is a major factor in global happiness, which is why some visitors may come across a wallet filled with cash. Museum staff have periodically placed this wallet on the floor for more than a month now, and it’s been returned to reception (with all items inside) every time.

People from around the world also have sent in artifacts of happiness—things that represent joy to them—which have been curated to form a large part of the display. These items are meant to help visitors contextualize what happiness looks like for others in different parts of the globe.

“We might be Danish or Mexican or American or Chinese, but we are first and foremost people,” Wiking says. “It’s the same things that drive happiness no matter where we’re from, and I hope that people will see that in the exhibition.

One guest told him that he had always known he was a happy guy, but he had never before understood the reasons why.

“That, for us, was the best review we could get,” he says.

One of the other main focal points of the museum is why Nordic countries tend to report some of the highest levels of happiness on earth.

Denmark, for example, frequently lands near the top of surveys ranking the world’s happiest nations, including the United Nations’ annual World Happiness Report. In its 2020 list, Denmark comes in at number two,  just behind neighboring Finland, while Copenhagen ranks as the fifth happiest city in the world, behind Helsinki, Aarhus (also in Denmark), Wellington, and Zurich.

Danish psychologist Marie Helweg-Larsen, a professor at Dickinson College in Pennsylvania, says that “it boggles peoples’ minds how you can, just by thinking thoughtfully and strategically about the role of government in life, create happy people.”

Plus, the countries that report the highest levels of happiness tend to contain many elements that, at least on the surface, would seem to hinder it.

“I think foreigners find the Nordic countries to be kind of a conundrum,” Helweg-Larsen explains. “They seem to do things that others have decided couldn’t possibly be associated with happiness, like pay high taxes, live with cold weather and experience long periods of darkness.”

So, what might the rest of the world learn from the Danes in these trying times?

“Trust is a factor in happiness,” Helweg-Larsen says. “We could all do more to talk to people who are not like us and see how we can establish more trust in our own communities.”

She also thinks the Danish concepts of pyt (an “oh well” attitude for accepting a problem and resetting) and hygge (the pursuit of intentional intimacy within interactions and environments) are great for relieving stress.

Wiking tells CNN that, if his studies at the Happiness Research Institute have shown him anything, it’s that humans are incredibly resilient.

“When we follow people over time, we can see that they are remarkable at overcoming the challenges that happen to them,” he says. “Of course, it’s necessary to be optimistic in my profession, but I think we can overcome these times as well.”

Research contact: @CNN

Move it or lose it? One-quarter of Americans consider pulling up stakes due to COVID-19

June 23, 2020

Is there an escape strategy for COVID-19, other than sheltering in place and using personal protective equipment? According to a survey conducted on May 13 by FinanceBuzz, fully 26% of Americans actually are considering relocating permanently as a result of coronavirus.

Others have cancelled their home moves and are settling in for the long haul, Real Simple magazine reports.

From home buying, to renting, to temporary moves back home with parents, here’s a look at how the pandemic has influenced housing trends in the short- and long- term:

  • 26% are considering a permanent move: As millions of Americans lost their jobs or were furloughed during the past few months, finances became a major factor influencing housing plans. Of those who plan to move permanently, a “lower cost of living” (41%) and the wish “to be in a less populated area” (29%) were the top two motivating factors. After months spent cooped up in city apartments, many urban dwellers want to relocate to the spacious and generally more affordable suburbs. Plus, as many companies transition to remote work, those who lived in cities for their jobs are now free to move without the lengthy commute.

Indeed, Real Simple reports, with a viable coronavirus vaccine still may many months away—but states across the country reopening rapidly, enabling house tours—Americans are becoming ever-more anxious to pick up and move to the suburbs.

  • 75% of potential home buyers and renters are delaying their moves: The survey found that three-quarters of prospective home buyers and renters had opted to put off their intended moves between March and June of this year—but that doesn’t mean that the moves are off the table forever: Of the 1,500 respondents over the age of 18, 58% say they still intend to move at some point; while 17% have canceled their moves entirely.

The most common reason for the postponed moves? Most cited the inability to tour new places in person and stay-at-home orders. What’s more, Real Simple notes, 25% said they are waiting for the market to improve.

So how long will the home buying delays last? Over 60% of those surveyed reported that they wouldn’t feel comfortable buying a new home until 2021.

  • Many have moved back home with their parents: Finally, 26% of Gen-Zers and 9% of Millennials have temporarily moved back in with their parents during the pandemic. With most colleges closed now, Gen Zers’ moves back home come as no surprise. When surveyed in mid-May, more than 35% who had moved back home with their parents said they weren’t certain when they would return to their primary residences.

Research contact: @RealSimple