What a year 2016 was! As we enter a new year, we’d like to take a look back at some of the highlights from The AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. From the launch of the GenFoward panel to the celebrations of NORC’s 75th anniversary to polling on the unusual 2016 presidential campaign, the Center has had a productive and memorable year. The staff of The AP-NORC Center hopes everyone had a lovely holiday season and sends wishes for a new year filled with all good things.
Our Poll Reports
The Center released 19 survey reports this year on subjects ranging from climate change to the economy to rudeness. Here are just a few of the highlights:
- This year, several surveys explored the public's view of the election process. For example, in September, attitudes toward election fraud were examined, and, in May, a survey looked at American frustration and lack of confidence with the country's political system.
- A recent video interactive features insights on long-term care costs from the 2016 Long-Term Care Poll, funded by The SCAN Foundation.
- The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation funded the 2016 poll of Americans aged 50 and older that explored why so many Americans work past the traditional retirement age.
- The Center contributed to The Associated Press' series, "Divided America" with a survey that examined the public's opinions on what divides and what unites the country. In the June poll, most Americans said the racial, ethnic, and religious diversity of the United States makes the country stronger.
- In a study released in April by The Media Insight Project, a collaboration between the American Press Institute and The AP-NORC Center, consumers said accuracy is the main reason they trust and rely on news sources. The study also found that consumers are fairly skeptical of content from social media and want cues of trustworthiness such as clear identification of the original reporting source.
- Drug overdoses, particularly from heroin, have been on the rise according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In February, our poll found few Americans think their communities are doing enough to deal with substance abuse, a problem that many see as particularly serious.
The GenForward survey is conducted by the Black Youth Project at the University of Chicago with The AP-NORC Center. Starting in June, the monthly nationally representative survey of adults ages 18-30 has paid special attention to how race and ethnicity shape how young Americans experience and think about the world.
The latest release shows that young white adults' beliefs about social and economic vulnerability were strong predictors of their support for Donald Trump. The focus of earlier releases included the ethnic and racial divide in young adults' economic security, their views of immigration, and disparities in their experiences with and reactions to the criminal justice system and gun violence.
In July Alejandra Cancino (left) completed her fellowship, supported by The SCAN Foundation, which focused on long-term care and healthy aging in the United States. In addition to the video interactive, two of Alejandra's articles for The Associated Press and a large infographic looked at the results of the poll funded by The SCAN Foundation that explored older Americans' expectations for long-term care.
Adam Allington (center) also finished up his fellowship in July. Supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Adam focused on the economics of Americans working longer. His work included the analysis of a poll, also funded by the Sloan Foundation, which examined older Americans' views toward retirement and working longer.
Maria Zamudio (right) started her fellowship on aging and workforce issues in September. Another Sloan Foundation-funded survey on the subject will be conducted in 2017.
Seen and Heard
Beyond The Associated Press, the Center's work has been widely cited throughout the year by many media outlets, ranging from national publications like The Washington Post to internet sites such as Politico to broadcast networks, including ABC News. Here are some of the recent ones:
- WIRED, November 2016 issue: Findings about social cohesion and recovery from the Center's study conducted two years after Hurricane Sandy were included in the article, "Strength in numbers: to survive climate change, we need to build tight-knight communities."
- Univision, November 18: Director Trevor Tompson was featured in the article, "So, how did Latinos actually vote? ¿Quién sabe?," discussing the challenges of polling Latinos.
- Alabama.com, December 2: Results from the Center's most recent Long-Term Care Poll, funded by The SCAN Foundation, were featured in the op-ed, "Make care conversations part of your holiday family time."
- NPR, December 19: Senior Research Scientist Amanda Lenhart appeared on All Things Considered to discuss smartphone strategies for families over the holidays.
- KYForward.com, December 23: The article, "Joy to the $100 Christmas: Generous giving, priceless memories without the financial hangover," cites the April survey findings that two-thirds of Americans would have difficulty coming up with money to cover a $1,000 emergency.
- The Atlantic, January/February 2017 issue: Research on anti-black attitudes by a research team including the Center's Director Trevor Tompson was mentioned in "My President Was Black" by Ta-Nehisi Coates.
News about The AP-NORC Center Staff
The Center welcomed two new members this year:
Amanda Lenhart joined the Center part-time in September as a Senior Research Scientist. She will transition to full-time once she completes prior commitments with foundation-funded projects on cyber abuse, educational technology, and mobile news consumption.
Liz Kantor, the Center’s 2015 summer intern, started working full-time as a Research Assistant in June after graduating from Rutgers University. In the short time Liz has been with the Center, her contributions have already been acknowledged with an NORC Employee Recognition Award.
Data Sets Released for Public Use
After about six months or so, The AP-NORC Center makes its data sets available to the public. Throughout 2016, 17 data sets were released to the public, each available on the individual poll's project page. The data for The Frustrated Public: Views of the 2016 Campaign, the Parties, and the Electoral Process, conducted May 2016, was released most recently.
The data and documentation are also donated to the polling archive at the Roper Center for Public Opinion at Cornell University.