Monthly Archives: July 2016

Polls say Americans aren’t worried about Zika. Just wait.

By Christopher Ingraham

A tray of Aedes dorsalis and Culex tarsalis mosquitoes at Salt Lake City’s mosquito control agency. (Rick Bowmer/AP)

The state of Florida announced Friday that mosquitoes are spreading Zika there, a first for the continental U.S.

While there have already been thousands of confirmed Zika cases in the U.S. this year, this marks the first time someone in the mainland U.S. contracted the disease not from traveling abroad, but from a domestic mosquito.

Polls have generally shown that Americans aren’t terribly worried about the virus. A recent Washington Post poll found that only about one in three Americans said they were concerned that they or someone in their immediate family might become infected with the virus. That’s considerably lower than the percent of people who were worried about contracting Ebola in 2014 or the swine flu in 2009.

The level of concern Americans have about Zika is bipartisan: In a recent Pew poll, 29 percent of Republicans called the disease a major threat to the general population, while 32 percent of Democrats said the same.

But that concern could grow. The news out of Florida comes just as most of the country enters peak mosquito season. People in southern states where Zika-carrying mosquitoes live may find themselves swatting the pests away with an increased sense of urgency for the duration of the summer.

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The Post and Pew polls were conducted in June, before Congress left for a seven-week summer recess starting in the middle of July. Back in June, there was still hope that Congress would approve $2 billion in spending to combat the disease, including money for mosquito termination and vaccine research. The Post poll found wide bipartisan support for …read more


Hillary Clinton’s faith in millennials is touching — and profoundly misplaced

By Max Ehrenfreund

Democratic Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton acknowledges the crowd before delivering her acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on Thursday. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

Throughout the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s leaders have tried to offer a more hopeful vision of the United States and the world than that offered by Republicans, a vision in which progress toward a more equitable and inclusive society is possible.

Yet as events both in this country and abroad have demonstrated over the past few years, ethnic anxieties and racial hostilities continue to shape the decisions of voters and policymakers, proving a stubborn obstacle to the ambitions of progressive politicians worldwide for greater economic and social integration.

That essential contradiction was particularly evident in one line from the speech Hillary Clinton gave Thursday night accepting the Democratic nomination for president.

Clinton sought to appeal to young voters by looking forward to the more equitable society she suggested they could create.

We have the most tolerant and generous young people we’ve ever had,” the former secretary of state said.

[This millennial stereotype needs a little debunking]

It was unclear exactly in what sense Clinton meant that young Americans today are more tolerant and more generous, but in one important sense, there is only limited evidence that today’s young people are more open-minded than their parents.

The generation commonly known as millennials are roughly as likely to hold racist stereotypes against African Americans as baby boomers, according to a recent analysis by The Washington Post using data from a major national survey.

Participants in the study, known as the General Social Survey, were asked a long list of questions, including how hardworking they believe members of different groups are. Roughly 31 percent of white millennials rated …read more