Pew asks, 'Having a good day?'

by Karen L. Willoughby |

WASHINGTON D.C. (Christian Examiner) -- An opening question for Pew Research Center staff when they talk with people is, "How would you describe your day today?"

It's a "milquetoast question" designed to "help the respondents become more comfortable with the interviewer," according to a Pew press release. "The vast majority of the polls we conduct are done with face-to-face interviews in the respondent's home, and asking about their day is one way to kick off the conversation."

The interviewees are asked if they are having a typical day, a particularly good day, or a particularly bad day.

"The question is not necessarily a throwaway," the press release continues. "Looking at the responses we received this year from 48,643 people we surveyed in 44 countries provides a glimpse of the mood of individual nations and even regions of the world."

For the most part, 65 percent, people worldwide said they were having a "typical day," according to the research. A bit more than a quarter, about 27 percent, said they were having a "particularly good day," and not even one in ten, 7 percent, admitted their day was going poorly.

In the United States, 49 percent said they were having a typical day; 41 percent, a good day; and 8 percent, a bad day.

With 27 percent a global median, by far, the U.S. respondents were having a better day than anywhere else in the world.

Europe came in at 17 percent, with the United Kingdom, France and Germany each about the median – 27, 26 and 21 percent respectively.

Despite being lower on the GDP economic scale, Africans at 47 percent and Latin Americans at 43 percent were more likely to say it was a good day.

Some countries really stood out to Pew researchers for their positive spirits. Respondents in Nigeria (58 percent), Colombia (57), Nicaragua (53), Kenya (52) and Brazil (51 percent) all said they were having a particularly good day.

As a region, the Middle East scored lowest on the "good day" barometer with about a third of respondents in Egypt, 32 percent, and more than a quarter of survey takers in Jordan, 27 percent, declaring they were having "a particularly bad day."