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U.S. and Western Europe hold similar views on immigration, LGBTQ rights

The U.S. and U.K. flags
Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

A new Pew Research survey found that U.S. citizens and people from eight Western European countries share similar views on some political and social issues.

The details: Matters like immigration, business regulations, LGBTQ rights, and opinions of elected officials are issues people can agree on across the Atlantic.

Immigration: 65% of Americans and 66% of Western Europeans believe that immigrants strengthen the economy.

  • This was off-set by Italy, where 45% said the economy was strengthened by immigrants.

Elected officials: A majority of Western Europeans believe that elected officials "don't care what people like them think." Three-quarters of Americans echoed that, saying they "had little or no confidence in elected officials to act in the best interests of the public."

  • 44% of Americans and Western Europeans believe ordinary citizens would "do a better job" than elected officials in solving their country's problems.

LGBTQ rights: Per Pew, the majority of Western Europeans and Americans "support certain rights for gays and lesbians."

  • The majority of Western Europeans, except for Italians, believe that gays and lesbians should be allowed to adopt. A majority of Italians (52%) oppose that idea.
  • In America, gay rights has gained more traction; the majority of those in the U.S. believe "homosexuality should be accepted...and that gays and lesbians should be allowed to marry legally."

Regulations: A median of 57% of Western Europeans say government regulation of business is good for society; 50% of Americans believe government regulation is "necessary to protect the public interest."

  • 45% of Americans say government regulation "usually does more harm than good."
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