State of the Nation

*Any statements in this issue of the Watch which are not sourced are mine and identified by “WW”.

67% of registered voters say the country is on the wrong track, that includes 63% of men and 66% of women.

25% of registered voters say the country is headed in the right direction. This includes 28% of men and 21% of women. [Econ/YouGov 7/7/20]

80% of all voters believe that the country is out of control. This includes 84% of women and 76% of men; 93% of African Americans, 79% of whites and 77% of Hispanics; 87% of urbanites, 78% of suburbanites and 76% of those in rural areas. [NBC/WSJ 6/2/20]

Total GOP Ind Dem
Excellent 3% 5% 1% 1%
Good 20% 35% 13% 9%
Fair 44% 43% 47% 45%
Poor 32% 18% 39% 44%
N/A 1% 0% 0% 0%

[NBC/Survey Monkey 7/6/20]

The financial divide between blacks and whites is still as wide in 2020 as it was in 1968.

Middle class black household had: Middle class white household had:
1968 $6,674 $70,786
2016 $13,024 $149,703

[Playbook PM 6/4/20]

On June 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down all state bans on same-sex marriage, legalizing it in all the states and required states to honor out-of-state same sex marriage licenses.

Four years and 335 days later, on June 15, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination because of “sex” includes gay and transgender employees.

The author of the recent opinion, Justice Neil Gorsuch, wrote, “It is impossible to discriminate against a person for being homosexual or transgender without discriminating against that individual based on sex.” “An employer who fires an individual merely for being gay or transgender defies the law.”

Gorsuch (the first Justice appointed by President Trump) was joined in the 6-3 vote by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan.

Gorsuch also wrote, “We must decide whether an employer can fire someone for being homosexual or transgender. The answer is clear. An employer who fires an individual for being homosexual or transgender fires that person for traits or actions it would not have questioned in members of a different sex. Sex plays a necessary and undistinguishable role in the decision exactly what Title VII forbids.”

The ruling is narrow in that it does not answer questions like who can use gender-specific restrooms or locker rooms or participate in gender-divided groups like sports teams. Most importantly it does not address the question of whether religious employers can choose to discriminate against gay or trans people.

An amicus brief was filed in this case by constitutional scholars Laurence Tribe and Joshua Matz on behalf of several former solicitor generals including a former Republican solicitor. [AXIOS AM 6/16/20, WP 6/15/20, Broadsheet 6/16/20]

5% of Americans identify as LGBT including 2% who identify as gay or lesbian, 3% who identify as bisexual, and less than 1% who identify as transgender.

It is interesting to note the differences in age generally between all Americans and LGBT Americans.

Age All Americans LGBT Americans
18-29 21% 47%
30-49 33% 32%
50-64 25% 21%
Ages 65+ 21% 8%

[PRRI 4/14/20]

Note from WW: I served on the board of the Human Rights Campaign for thirteen years.

Most Americans support legal status for immigrants brought to the United States illegally as children known as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA). As of the end of 2019 about 649,000 people have secured work permits and protection from deportation.

74% of Americans say they favor Congress passing a law granting permanent legal status to immigrants who came to U.S. illegally when they were children. This includes 54% of Republicans and 91% of Democrats.

53% of DACA recipients are women, their average age is 26, and two-thirds of enrollees are between the ages of 21 and 30.

Additionally, 75% of Americans (89% of Democrats, 57% of Republicans) say that undocumented immigrants (10.5 million in 2017) should be allowed to stay in the country legally if certain conditions are met. [PEW 6/17/20]

On June 18, the Supreme Court ruled that the Trump administration’s effort to end DACA was not correctly done but the Court made it clear that the administration has the legal authority to end the program if done in a proper manner. In fact, the Court gave the president “a road map to do it correctly.”

The president said, “We will be submitting enhanced papers shortly in order to properly fulfill the Supreme Court’s ruling.”

Meanwhile, a lawsuit filed a number of years ago by Texas and six other states claiming that Obama had exceeded his authority when he launched DACA has been activated by the Judge in whose court it was pending. All sides in the case have been ordered to file papers by July 24.
[ 6/19/20]

In Pew Research Center surveys in 2018-2019, a total of 12,044 registered voters were asked, “Today, do you consider yourself a Republican, Democrat or Independent?”

Republican Democrat Independent
All RVs 29% 33% 34%
Gallup 4/20 30 31 36
Men 31 26 39
Women 28 39 30
White, non-Hispanic 36 27 34
Black, non-Hispanic 5 65 26
Hispanic 19 41 36
Urban 19 42 35
Suburban 31 30 35
Rural 41 23 32

The image of the United States is considered to be:

Favorable Unfavorable
Overall 75% 19%
Among GOP 88% 9%
Among Ind. 68% 22%
Among Dem 69% 25%

[Winston Group 6/26/20]


In case you missed it, the Bureau of Labor Statistics made a bit of an error when it calculated the May unemployment rate. While it announced an unemployment rate for that month as 13.0%, in truth it was 16.0%.

Official Adjusted
All 13% 16.00%
Men 11.9 14.5
Women 14.3 17.8
White 10.7 13.5
Black 16.6 19.8
Asian 14.9 20.3
Hispanic 17.2 20.4

Now even with that mistake there was a substantial improvement from the month of April when the rate calculated without the mistake was 19.7%. [WP 6/6/2020]

The official BLS seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for June 2020 is 11.1%, that unemployment rate is lower than the 13.3% rate in May and greater than the 3.7% unemployment rate of a year ago.

If one considers the total number of unemployed + those marginally attached to the labor force + those working part-time who want full-time work, the unemployment rate in June is 18.0% down from 21.2% in May and up from 7.2% a year ago.

[A reminder: The monthly numbers are based on information through the middle of the month. Thus, the June numbers are based on information gathered through the middle of the month. The economy took a hit in the second half of the month.]

22.4 million jobs were lost in March and April.

2.7 million job were created in May and 4.8 million jobs were created in June, bringing to 7.5 million the number of jobs created in May and June. A year ago, 75,000 jobs were created in June.

The Labor Force Participation Rate (LFPR) for June is 61.5%, down from 62.9% in June 2019. [BLS 6/20]

The Demographics of Unemployment for May 2020

Unemployment by Gender (20 years and older)

  • Women –11.2% (down from last month)
  • Men – 10.2% (down from last month)

Unemployment by Race

  • White – 10.1% (down from last month)
  • Black –15.4% (down from last month)
  • Hispanic – 14.5% (down from last month)
  • Asian –13.8% (down from last month)

Unemployment by Education (25 years & over)

  • Less than high school –16.6% (down from last month)
  • High School – 12.1% (down from as last month)
  • Some college – 10.9% (down as last month)
  • Bachelor’s Degree or higher – 6.9% (down from last month)

In May, one state had the same unemployment rate as the national average for that month, 13.3%; 35 states and D.C. had unemployment rates below the national average; 15 states had unemployment rates that were above the national average.

Nevada at 25.3.%, had the highest unemployment rate in the country. Nebraska at 5.4%, had the lowest unemployment rate in the country.

[Bureau of Labor Statistics]

Through June 27, 2020, 48.7 million people had filed unemployment claims.

1.6 million people see their layoffs as permanent. [Bloomberg 7/6/20]