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    NOVEMBER 17, 2005
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New Temple/Inquirer Poll heralds big year for IPA

The Institute for Public Affairs, under the direction of political science professor Michael G. Hagen (above), releases a new Temple/Inquirer Poll. For the 2006 elections, the IPA is poised to become a nationally recognized center for research on all aspects of elections.

The Institute for Public Affairs — Temple’s hub for researchers, students, citizens and policy-makers investigating all aspects of public policy — returned to the spotlight this week with the release of an intriguing new Temple/Inquirer Poll, opening what promises to be a busy 12 months for IPA as it builds momentum toward Election Day 2006.

The latest installment of the Temple/Inquirer Poll, a telephone survey of 1,500 residents of greater Philadelphia, explored public reaction to a recent grand jury report on sexual abuse by priests in the Philadelphia Archdiocese.

The poll uncovered “widespread dissatisfaction among Catholics in the Philadelphia region regarding the archdiocese’s handling of sexual abuse by priests, as well as remarkably pervasive cynicism about what has motivated the responses from the church,” IPA director Michael G. Hagen said.

According to the Temple/Inquirer Poll, 71 percent of Catholics in the Philadelphia region were dissatisfied with Philadelphia Archdiocese’s handling of sexual abuse by priests, and 84 percent believe that past church officials were more concerned with protecting the reputation of the church than preventing sexual abuse. (See below for more details.)

The Temple/Inquirer Poll, which is expected to appear regularly in The Philadelphia Inquirer, is an important part of the IPA’s commitment to “improving the communities where we live and work by paying special attention to issues confronting Philadelphia, the greater metropolitan area and the commonwealth of Pennsylvania,” said Hagen, who is one of more than 110 new tenured or tenure-track faculty recruited to Temple since last fall.

The new Temple/Inquirer Poll heralds an ambitious 2005–06 agenda for the IPA, as the institute adds to its diverse portfolio of ongoing research projects.

The IPA recently embarked on Pennsylvania Policy Agendas, a project to create a comprehensive database to track policy-making in the commonwealth, directed by IPA senior fellow Joseph McLaughlin and funded by the General Assembly. Under a contract with the state, the IPA has begun to organize the development of a strategic plan for preventing and controlling tobacco use in Pennsylvania, a project directed by Hagen and Michael McNeil, coordinator of the Temple Health Empowerment Office. The IPA’s Institute for Survey Research has just completed this year’s Pennsylvania and Metropolitan Philadelphia Survey, an annual study of the quality of life in the state and region; results will be available soon.

Under development are research projects on how to improve the lives of children who receive child-welfare services from the city, on how parents make choices about where their children go to school and on the economic impact of political corruption in city government.

The IPA will debut a new speaker series next Tuesday when Hagen inaugurates the IPA’s Campaigns and Elections colloquia with a presentation on “Strategy and Advertising in the 2004 Presidential Campaign (Nov. 22, 3 p.m., 914 Gladfelter Hall).

In anticipation of the 2006 elections, the IPA will begin to take advantage of the Temple political science department’s aggressive recruitment of more top-flight faculty. In addition to Hagen, an expert in public opinion and campaigns, three new elections scholars recently joined the department: Christopher Wlezien, a renowned researcher who uses quantitative methods to study democracies, from Oxford University; Kevin T. Arceneaux, a specialist in using experimental methods to study campaign effects, from Yale; and Megan Mullin, an expert on voting behavior who recently received her doctorate from the University of California–Berkeley.

With their arrival, Temple and the IPA are poised to become a nationally recognized center for research on all aspects of elections.

“In 2006, once again, the nation’s attention will turn to Pennsylvania, this time because of our important congressional races,” Hagen said. “The timing couldn’t be better. Now that Temple has assembled a remarkable group of faculty election experts to join Robin Kolodny and Richard Joslyn, we’ll be able to provide the public and the media with election information and analysis that they won’t be able to get from any other institution.”

To prepare for expanded operations in 2006 and beyond, the IPA began to expand its infrastructure earlier this year.

The institute’s new associate director, Dana L. Barron, joined the IPA from the University of Pennsylvania this spring, followed by program coordinator Sharon Barkley-Samuels. A new business manager will be coming on board in December.

And this fall, Hagen and his staff officially moved into their new home in Temple’s University Services Building at 1601 N. Broad St., where it occupies much of the first floor.

“We’re still setting up shop,” Hagen said, “but once renovations are complete, we’ll be able to provide, under one roof, assistance to Temple faculty on everything from identifying funding opportunities to disseminating research results. We’re also creating a seminar room where we can host colloquia and working groups, and we’ll have work space for graduate students working on IPA projects.”

Hagen invites Temple scholars and students from all disciplines to bring their ideas for collaborative research to the IPA.

“We can fund faculty to write grant proposals, provide research support for sponsored projects, help develop and coordinate faculty seminars, host lectures by outside speakers and facilitate conferences,” Hagen said. “We also will work with schools, colleges and departments to help recruit new faculty and contribute funding to help support them. We’re eager to do all we can to stimulate research at Temple that can shape public policy.

“We’d be delighted to hear from anyone around the University interested in participating in our ongoing projects or initiating new ones.”

- By Hillel J. Hoffmann

Temple/Inquirer Poll: Catholics dissatisfied
The latest Temple/Inquirer Poll conducted by IPA measured attitudes about the Sept. 21 grand jury report of sexual abuse by priests in the Philadelphia Archdiocese. Random telephone interviews of 1,500 adults in nine Greater Philadelphia counties (four in New Jersey, and the five Pennsylvania counties that make up the Philadelphia Archdiocese) were conducted between Oct. 24 and Nov. 6. Some poll highlights:
• 84 percent of Catholics believe that church officials, when presented with accusation about priests in the past, were more concerned about protecting the reputation of the church than in preventing sexual abuse.
• 40 percent of Catholics said that they are very dissatisfied with the way the archdiocese handled the issue of sexual abuse by priests, and another 31 percent said they are somewhat dissatisfied. Only 24 percent of Catholics said they are satisfied with the archdiocese’s handling of abuse, compared with only 21 percent of non-Catholics.
• More than 80 percent of respondents — Catholics and non-Catholics — said church officials should remove from the priesthood automatically any priest found to have engaged in abuse.
• 77 percent of Catholics think that a bishop or cardinal who transferred an abusive priest to another parish rather than filing a police report should be removed from his position.
• Three-quarters of Catholics in the archdiocese — virtually the same percentage as non-Catholics — think the grand jury’s report on abuse by clergy is fair.
• Catholics who have a favorable view of the church’s current leader, Cardinal Justin Rigali, outnumber Catholics with an unfavorable view by 3-to-1. Cardinals Anthony Bevilacqua and John Krol, the church’s previous leaders, have much lower favorability ratings.
• 64 percent of Catholics voiced a positive judgment of Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne Abraham — far more than the 36 percent of Catholics with a favorable view of Rigali.

• Asked about how the state’s laws should change, more than 80 percent of respondents — Catholics and non-Catholics — said that church officials should be required by law to report abuse to police rather than investigating charges internally; and three-quarters said that the statute of limitations for sexual offenses against children should be increased.

The overall margin of error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.
The results of the poll, which was conducted in collaboration with The Philadelphia Inquirer, were described in an article in The Inquirer on Wednesday, Nov. 16. Look for more articles about future Temple/Inquirer Polls to appear in The Inquirer in the future.

— By Hillel J. Hoffmann