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Social & Policy Issues
The 2014 Year in Review at
Social & Policy Issues

The 2014 Year in Review at

by Art Swift

Story Highlights

  • Gallup presents the most noteworthy stories of 2014
  • Views of U.S. police, Obama approval vs. disapproval top list

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Gallup's mission is to share the will of the people, in the U.S. and across the world, with the entire world. In 2014, featured a variety of stories on topics that defined the year: Americans' views on the police following the unrest in Missouri and New York; Russians' high approval of their president, Vladimir Putin; why the Middle East erupted in bloodshed; how immigration vaulted toward the top of Americans' "most important U.S. problem" list; and why the burgeoning mobile technology revolution is driving up stress.

The following are among the top stories on for 2014:

Nonwhites Less Likely to Feel Police Protect and Serve Them -- With high-profile police actions in Ferguson, Missouri, and Staten Island, New York, dividing much of the nation, Gallup explored the confidence gap between whites and blacks in the police. By double digits, whites are more confident than blacks in the ability of the police to protect them.

Obama's "Strong Disapproval" Double His "Strong Approval" -- The 2014 midterm elections were not enjoyable for President Barack Obama or for the Democratic Party. In the run-up to the election, Gallup determined in August that Americans were more than twice as likely to say they "strongly disapprove" of the president than they were to say they "strongly approve." The trends showed an increase in strong disapproval over five years, and a decrease in strong approval over the same period.

Using Mobile Technology for Work Linked to Higher Stress -- In May, Gallup found that U.S. workers who check email outside of working hours and those who spend more hours working remotely outside of normal working hours are more likely to experience a substantial amount of stress on any given day than workers who do not display these behaviors.

Why Great Managers Are So Rare -- In any organization, having the right manager is crucial to business success. Yet Gallup found that companies fail to choose the candidate with the right talent for the job 82% of the time.

North Dakota No. 1 in Well-Being, West Virginia Still Last -- North Dakota residents had the highest well-being in the nation in 2013, according to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. South Dakota was in second place, while West Virginia and Kentucky had the two lowest well-being scores for the fifth year in a row.

Russian Approval of Putin Soars to Highest Level in Years -- After the Sochi Olympic Games in February and the annexation of Crimea in March, Russian President Vladimir Putin's approval rating in his country soared to 83% by late April/early June.

One in Six Say Immigration Most Important U.S. Problem -- This summer, a crisis occurred at the U.S.-Mexico border when thousands of children from Central and South America arrived. The intense focus on the border catapulted immigration to one of the nation's most important problems, in the eyes of the American public.

Trust in Mass Media Returns to All-Time Low -- A bleak 40% of Americans told Gallup that they place a "great deal" or "fair amount" of trust and confidence in the mass media, tying the all-time low recorded two years ago. Trust in the media has been edging downward since the late 1990s and early 2000s.

The Root Cause of Bloodshed in the Middle East: No Customers -- With the Middle East seemingly in chaos, including advancements by the Islamic State in 2014, Gallup's Chairman and CEO asserted that when a society fails to create customers and jobs, young men get up each morning with no hope for a great life, no dignity and no self-respect.

Half in Illinois and Connecticut Want to Move Elsewhere -- Gallup found that about half of the residents in Illinois, Connecticut and Maryland said if given the chance to do so, they would move to another state. Conversely, residents of Montana, Hawaii and Maine were the least likely to say they would move somewhere else in America if they had the choice.

Clinton, Elder Bush Most Positively Rated Living Presidents -- This summer, Americans viewed each of the four living former presidents more positively than negatively, while giving Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush higher favorable ratings than George W. Bush and Jimmy Carter. Obama, however, was looked upon more negatively than positively. The data suggest that Americans' views of presidents tend to rise after they leave office.

Suffering in Afghanistan Hits Record High -- for Any Country -- More than 60% of Afghans rate their lives poorly enough to be considered "suffering." This is the highest figure ever recorded for any country since Gallup started tracking life evaluations in 2005. Afghanistan was already the worst in the world for this indicator in 2013, and Afghans' life evaluations in 2014 were even lower than in 2013.

Stay with for more discoveries in 2015.

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