Poll: Opinions Of Impeachment Remain Unchanged; Signs Point To Base Election In 2020

Views on impeachment are nearly evenly split, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll, with 48% against and 47% in support. Above, President Trump speaks in the Oval Office on Dec. 13.

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Evan Vucci/AP

Surprise, surprise. Americans’ views of impeachment are split and largely unchanged, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll.

With the House expected to impeach President Trump by the end of the week, and after hours upon hours of congressional testimony, 48% of the country opposes impeachment, while 47% supports it.

The last time the question was asked in the poll, last month, it was 47% supporting impeachment and 46% opposing. Those results are statistically unchanged.

The latest poll was conducted between Dec. 9 and 11, just as the House Judiciary Committee was debating which articles of impeachment to introduce against the president.

“It’s like the hearings have never happened,” said Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion, which conducted the poll. “The arguments have only served to reinforce existing views, and everyone is rooting for their side.”


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The poll found Trump’s approval rating essentially unchanged at 42%, with familiar splits evident — there are sizable gender and education gaps, with college-educated women overwhelmingly disapproving of the president.

And Americans are divided by where they live, with those in cities and suburbs disapproving of the president and people in rural areas approving of the job he’s doing.

The survey found that 51% believe that the ideas being offered by Trump would generally move the U.S. in the wrong direction, but they’re split on what they think of what Democrats are offering — 45% say Democrats’ ideas would move the country in the wrong direction, and 44% say they would move it in the right one.

“There’s not a lot of persuasion going on,” Miringoff said. “This is definitely lining up to be all about the base. You can do all the message-testing and convincing and persuasion [efforts], but it’s going to be about targeting your group and making sure they show.”

The survey of 1,744 adults was conducted between Dec. 9 and 11 by the Marist Poll using live telephone callers via cell phone and landline and has a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points. There were 1,508 registered voters surveyed, and where they are referenced, the poll has a margin of error of +/- 3.7 percentage points. There were 704 Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents surveyed, and where they are referenced, results have a +/- 5.4 percentage point margin of error.

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Fewer Students Are Going To College. Here’s Why That Matters

Meredith Jensen for NPR

Meredith Jensen for NPR

This fall, there were nearly 250,000 fewer students enrolled in college than a year ago, according to new numbers out Monday from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, which tracks college enrollment by student.

“That’s a lot of students that we’re losing,” says Doug Shapiro, who leads the research center at the Clearinghouse.

And this year isn’t the first time this has happened. Over the last eight years, college enrollment nationwide has fallen about 11%. Every sector — public state schools, community colleges, for-profits and private, liberal arts schools — has felt the decline, though it has been especially painful for small private colleges, where, in some cases, institutions have been forced to close.

“We’re in a crisis right now, and it’s a complicated one,” says Angel Pérez, who oversees enrollment at Trinity College, a small liberal-arts school in Hartford, Conn.


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Why is this happening?

The biggest factor for the years of decline is the strong economy. The last time U.S. college enrollment went up was 2011, at the tail end of the recession. As the economy gets better, unemployment goes down — it’s currently at 3.5 % — and more people leave college, or postpone it, and head to work.

When the recession hit a decade ago, the reverse happened: Many people, especially older adults, returned to college. That bump in college enrollment set records, and in some ways the current downtown is simply, “colleges returning to more historic levels of enrollment,” says Shapiro.

U.S. demographics are also shifting. The number of high school graduates is flat — and in some cases declining — because of lower birth rates about 20 years ago. Those numbers are also projected to decline, so the trend of fewer students coming from high school isn’t going away anytime soon.

And finally, there’s the cost of college. States are putting less money into higher education, and that’s led to an increased reliance on tuition. As tuition goes up, and grants and scholarships don’t keep pace, that’s pushed the cost of college down to students and their families. Without state investment, institutions are strapped, and so are American families.

These factors — and the data that support them — find their way into Pérez’s meetings with the budget team at Trinity College. “Decreasing demographics, a decreasing ability to pay, and an increasing lack of desire to pay from the people who can afford it,” are the things that keep him up at night, worrying he may not fill his freshman class.

Even families who are able to afford higher education are starting to ask themselves whether the cost is worth it. “All of it becomes the perfect storm,” he says.

The benefits of a degree

A strong economy and soaring college costs have made it even more difficult for colleges to persuade students to enroll.

And yet, employers still need skilled workers, whether a profession that requires a four-year degree, other jobs that require an associate’s degree, or skills or trades that need certificates or credentials. If fewer people are getting those credentials, those jobs often sit empty.

Community colleges play a large role in “skilling up,” offering associates degrees in technical and high-demand fields. But enrollment at community colleges is down about 100,000 students from the fall of 2018.

And despite a healthy economy, many of the jobs that are being filled right now are low-wage ones, explains Shapiro. “Adults are feeling that, as long as they have a job, they don’t need to go to college,” he says. “And yet many of those jobs today don’t really have the career potential or the earnings potential to support a family that they could get if they had a college degree.”

In addition to increased earnings over time, research shows that having a college degree means you are less likely to be unemployed and more likely to weather uncertain economic conditions, like a recession. So if people are choosing not to go to college right now, there may be consequences down the road.

Creative recruitment

It’s a simple solution: When you don’t have enough students, it makes sense to find and recruit some additional students. In the 1970s and ’80s, schools faced a similar enrollment crisis. Back then, colleges focused mainly on recruiting women. Today that resource is tapped out: Female students make up more than half of all enrollment.

So the question now is, what is the next group of students for recruiters to target? Based on the shifting demographics in public schools, it’s likely that Hispanics and first-generation college students are tops on that list, and will make up a greater share of any future increase in enrollment

Pine Manor College, a small private college in the Boston-area, knows the pain of this enrollment crisis all too well. Because it serves just under 350 students, the college has to fight for each one. Recruitment has become essential to Pine Manor’s survival.

For years, the college drew many of its students from nearby communities. But as New England graduates fewer high schoolers, Pine Manor has set its sights beyond Boston, by about 2,000 miles. Tom O’Reilly, the college’s president, now makes regular recruiting trips to El Paso, Texas.

“We’re very intentional about who we’re going to serve,” says O’Reilly, who is specifically looking for students whose parents haven’t gone to college.

The pitch is not for everyone. While Pine Manor is generous with aid, it’s still more expensive than community college. It’s also far from home — and often, far from warm.

But, so far, O’Reilly says, these trips are paying off. Texans now make up 6% of Pine Manor’s enrollment — that’s almost two dozen paying students who had probably never heard of, let alone considered, the school, until they heard directly from its president.

Returning adults

While a lot of recruiting focuses on high school students, many colleges might do well to look at another pool of potential students: adults returning to college. New research shows there are about 36 million Americans — mainly adults — who have some college and no degree. These students offer a huge opportunity for colleges, and in some communities — they are far more prevalent than seniors in high school.

“In Michigan, we have about 100,000 high school students, but we have about a million adults with some college and no degree,” says Erica Orians, who works with community colleges in that state. That means for every high schooler, there are 10 prospective adults students there.

The challenge is that that returning adults students are a lot harder to recruit. For high school students, says Orians, “we know where those people are. High schoolers are a captive audience.” But when it comes to adults, she says, “they are everywhere. They are working. They are parents. They are engaged with their community.”

Adults have lives, she says, “they move, they change their addresses and their phone numbers.”

Change is hard

Of course, it’s much more complicated than simply recruiting more — or different — students. “A lot of schools believe, ‘If we recruit hard enough, we will get people who want to come,’ ” says Pérez. “I just don’t believe that’s enough.”

Still, every year, he says, Trinity College — and many others — put more resources into the admissions effort. But the school is also looking at other options, such as exploring partnerships with a local tech company, bringing in additional revenue by helping train their existing employees in the liberal arts.

To stave off the enrollment decline, colleges have to get creative, and be open to change. “Putting an institution’s future in the hands of hope,” Pérez says, “that’s not a good strategy”

One change that may be easier is a greater focus on retaining the students who are already enrolled. It’s a lot easier to keep existing students than to find new ones, so more and more schools are investing in helping their current students graduate. They’re beefing up support services like counselors, offering detailed plans to help them graduate and using data to flag and ultimately prevent them from dropping out.

And it’s paying off. Last week, new numbers on graduation rates revealed that 60% of students who start college get their degree in six years. That’s the highest its been in nearly a decade.

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Anna Karina, Acclaimed French New Wave Actress, Dies At 79

Anna Karina, the French New Wave actress who in the 1960s established herself as a fixture in films directed by Jean-Luc Godard, died on Saturday in Paris. She was 79.

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Anna Karina, the French New Wave actress who in the 1960s established herself as a fixture in films directed by Jean-Luc Godard, died on Saturday in Paris. She was 79.

France’s culture minister confirmed the news, saying on Sunday that “her look was the look of New Wave. It will remain so forever.”

Danish-born Karina hitchhiked to Paris at the age of 17 following a short stint as a cabaret singer. Soon after, she met fashion designer Coco Chanel, who convinced her to change her name to Anna Karina from her birth name, Hanne Karin Bayer.

Best known for typifying 1960s cool with her on-screen mix of cunning and nonchalance, Karina’s roles help popularize a type of visually gripping and technically precise filmmaking that still holds influence today.

When Godard was working on his debut feature film, Breathless, he noticed Karina in a Palmolive ad in which she was in a bathtub covered in soap suds.

Karina was an inexperienced actress at the time, but Godard was inspired by her and offered her a part in the film. She turned it down because the role required a nude scene.

As Karina told NPR in a 2001 interview, Godard did not forget about her. Three months later, the director rang her up and asked her to star in the film The Little Soldier.

“So I said, `Do I have to take my clothes off?’ He said, `No, no. You have to play the main part.’ So I said, `Well, you know, I’m not even 18. I could never do that.’ And he said, `Well, you don’t have to,'” she said. “‘You just have to do what I tell you to do.'”

Actress Anna Karina and director Jean-Luc Godard.

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The following year, Karina and Godard were married and the two formed both personal and artistic bonds, launching a period in Godard’s career that historians call the Karina years.

“He taught me so, so many things,” Karina told NPR. “It was like Pygmalion,” she said, referring to the play by George Bernard Shaw.

During that time, Godard directed films such as My Life to Live and Pierrot Le Fou, often casting Karina as a high-spirited and capricious thrill-seeker who seduced men and even killed some of them.

Although Godard and Karina become something of a celebrity couple in the art film world, the two divorced after just four years.

“He would say he was going out for cigarettes and then come back three weeks later,” she told the Guardian.

Yet the acclaim she attracted from her work across seven films with Godard led her to be cast by other prestigious directors, including Luchino Visconti, George Cukor and Jacques Rivette.

But it was her work with Godard that remained the most influential of her career. In her 2001 NPR interview, she said Godard’s working methods were just as distinctive as they were misunderstood. For instance, her roles were highly scripted, she said, not acts of improvisation, as Godard had done in other instances.

“He would not change one word. Never. Of course, if you had a good idea once in a while, he would use that. But if not, we’re not allowed to say a word for another,” Karina told NPR. “They’re so natural that people, most of the time, thought that you were just talking, you know, saying whatever we wanted to say, which is totally false.”

Karina went on to direct some of her own films, mostly recently the 2008 French-Canadian film Victoria. A lifelong singer, she also collaborated on music with Serge Gainsbourg and she wrote several books.

New Yorker film critic Richard Brody, who published a book on the work of Godard, said the Karina’s acting career, especially in the 1960s, left a substantial mark on French New Wave and more recent film-making alike.

“First, the films liberated the cinema from nostalgia for superseded aesthetics sustained by a hidebound industry,” Brody wrote in a 2016 appreciation in The New Yorker. “Then, decades later, they nourished a new wave of nostalgia for the very era of radical change that they’d helped to create.”

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Hallmark Channel Embroiled In Controversy After It Pulls Ad With Lesbian Brides

The Hallmark Channel is facing fierce criticism from gay rights advocates after it pulled ads featuring a lesbian couple. The ad for the wedding planning site Zola shows a couple at the altar, wishing they had used the service before their big day.


“Do you think Zola could have made planning your perfect wedding easier?” asks the officiant.

“We do!” The two women say, before kissing and walking down the aisle as a married couple.

Hallmark pulled the ad and three others featuring the couple after pressure from an organization called One Million Moms, which says the ad promotes homosexuality. The group, a division of the conservative American Family Association, cited complaints from an online complaint board about the channel, one which said: “Please Hallmark … we r fed up with having the gay agenda crammed down our throats! You are one of the few channels we thought we would not have to deal with this issue!”

Previous complaints on the board included the large volume of actresses’ hair and a desire for more music by Frank Sinatra.

Hallmark says it removed the ads because the controversy was a distraction. “The debate surrounding these commercials on all sides was distracting from the purpose of our network, which is to provide entertainment value,” it said in a statement to the Associated Press by Molly Biwer, senior vice president for public affairs and communications.

“The Hallmark brand is never going to be divisive,” Biwer said in an interview with the AP. “We don’t want to generate controversy, we’ve tried very hard to stay out of it … we just felt it was in the best interest of the brand to pull them and not continue to generate controversy.”

Zola submitted six ads to Hallmark, and all had been airing since Dec. 2. The company says Hallmark did not object to an ad in which a heterosexual couple was seen kissing, but flagged the four ads that included the lesbian couple. Zola has since pulled its other ads from the channel.

“The only difference between the commercials that were flagged and the ones that were approved was that the commercials that did not meet Hallmark’s standards included a lesbian couple kissing,” Zola’s chief marketing officer, Mike Chi, said in a statement. “All kisses, couples and marriages are equal celebrations of love and we will no longer be advertising on Hallmark.”

GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis called the decision hypocritical and discriminatory. “LGBTQ families are part of family programming,” she said in a statement to Deadline. “Advertisers on The Hallmark Channel should see this news and question whether they want to be associated with a network that chooses to bow to fringe anti-LGBTQ activist groups, which solely exist to harm LGBTQ families.”

Netflix, which has pushed hard into Hallmark’s market as a provider of feel-good holiday movies, threw shade at the company on Saturday.

“Titles Featuring Lesbians Joyfully Existing And Also It’s Christmas Can We Just Let People Love Who They Love,” it wrote on Twitter, referencing Netflix’s hyper-specific content categories. The tweet was accompanied by a still that trumpeted its own approach to LGBTQ content: a scene of two girls kissing in the high school holiday movie Let It Snow.

Titles Featuring Lesbians Joyfully Existing And Also It’s Christmas Can We Just Let People Love Who They Love

🎥 Let It Snow
📺 Merry Happy Whatever pic.twitter.com/LTwnHogkoJ

— Netflix US (@netflix) December 15, 2019

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U.N. Climate Summit Goes To Extra Time, But Ends With Major Questions Unresolved

Demonstrators take part in a protest on climate emergency outside the U.N. Climate Change Conference COP25 in Madrid on Friday.

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The global climate talks in Madrid ended on Sunday – two days after its scheduled closing, and with little to show for the marathon session.

The Madrid-based summit, known as COP25, or generically as the U.N. Climate Change Summit, was intended as a time to hammer out the rules and commitments that would get the world’s nations on track to meet the targets of the 2015 Paris climate accord. Instead, the talks showed deep divisions, as small countries highly vulnerable to rising seas and powerful storms were at odds with wealthy, high-emitting countries like the United States.

The end result of the longest meeting in 25 years of climate talks was a declaration stating an “urgent need” to cut greenhouse gases to meet the Paris climate goals, and a promise to help poor countries facing catastrophe, the Associated Press reports.

U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres expressed disappointment with the outcome of the talks.

“The international community lost an important opportunity to show increased ambition on mitigation, adaptation & finance to tackle the climate crisis. But we must not give up, and I will not give up,” he tweeted. “I am more determined than ever to work for 2020 to be the year in which all countries commit to do what science tells us is necessary to reach carbon neutrality in 2050 and a no more than 1.5 degree temperature rise.”

Countries signing the Paris Agreement agreed to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels, and ideally 1.5 degrees.

But we are quickly losing the chance to hit the 1.5-degree target, according to a recent U.N. report. The world is currently on course for a temperature rise of 3 to 4 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, with potentially disastrous consequences.

A man takes a nap during the talks in Madrid on Sunday, the longest in 25 years of the U.N. climate change meetings. The chairwoman had scheduled delegates to meet at 1:30 a.m. on Sunday to resume negotiations.

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One of the key issues that was to be resolved at the summit was how to regulate carbon markets, which would put a price on emitting carbon dioxide. But no agreement was reached, and the topic will now be taken up at next year’s talks in Glasgow. Another subject shelved for now was the issue of liability for damages caused by rising temperatures; the AP reports that the U.S. was the major resistor on that topic.

Among the other countries that delegates said had dragged their feet on bolder action were China, Brazil, Australia and Saudi Arabia.

Helen Mountford, vice president for Climate and Economics at World Resources Institute said in a statement that the negotiations “fell far short” of expectations. “Instead of leading the charge for more ambition, most of the large emitters were missing in action or obstructive,” she said. “This reflects how disconnected many national leaders are from the urgency of the science and the demands of their citizens. They need to wake up in 2020.”

“This is the biggest disconnect between this process and what’s going on in the real world that I’ve seen,” Alden Meyer, director of strategy and policy for the Union of Concerned Scientists, told The Washington Post. He has been attending climate talks since 1991.

“You have the science crystal on where we need to go. You have the youth and others stepping up around the world in the streets pressing for action,” he added. “It’s like we’re in a sealed vacuum chamber in here, and no one is perceiving what is happening out there — what the science says and what people are demanding.”

There was one bright spot: In Brussels, the EU agreed on Friday to move forward with its commitment to carbon neutrality by 2050. Poland, which is highly reliant on coal and opposed the move, has been exempted for now.

In Madrid, climate activists including many young people demanded that negotiators and world leaders do better to stem global warming.

Activists from Extinction Rebellion dumped horse manure outside the meeting venue on Saturday. They included a brief note to the leaders: “The horses*** stops here.”

“Just like rearranging deckchairs on the Titanic, this COP’s fiddling with carbon accounting and negotiating of Article 6, is not commensurate to the planetary emergency we face,” the group said in a statement. “[T]hose travelling first class are still enjoying the party too much to hear the cries of those already drowning in the decks below.”

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