Commentary Dec. 19, 2007

Primary Preview: Dynamics Differ for the Two Parties in Early Races

With the first votes of the 2008 presidential election soon to be cast in the early-decision states, the likely outcome of these contests is more in doubt than in any election cycle in recent history. For the Democratic candidates, the decisive factors are personal and tactical. For Republican contestants, however, the ultimate outcome may be […]

Commentary Dec. 19, 2007

What Was — and Wasn’t — On the Public’s Mind in 2007

As in previous years, public opinion played an important role in shaping many of 2007′s major news stories. This year, fewer dominant trends were carryovers from the preceding year and those that were assumed a somewhat different — and in the case of the Iraq war less pessimistic — cast. Read full analysis at Pewresearch.org

Weekly News Interest Index Dec. 19, 2007

Gas Prices, Disasters Top Public’s News Interests In 2007

Summary of Findings Man-made and natural disasters dominated the list of the public’s top news stories in 2007. Nearly half of Americans (45%) tracked news about the shootings of 33 students at Virginia Tech University very closely, while nearly as many paid very close attention to reports on the Minneapolis bridge collapse and the California […]

Weekly News Interest Index Dec. 13, 2007

Oprah Boosts Obama’s Visibility

Summary of Findings Oprah Winfrey’s well-publicized appearances with Barack Obama have raised Obama’s visibility, especially among African Americans. Roughly a quarter of Americans (26%) say they have heard more about Obama recently than any other presidential candidate, up from just 10% in November. Meanwhile, though Hillary Clinton remains the most visible candidate overall, the proportion […]

Survey Reports Dec. 7, 2007

Iowa, NH Voters Heavily Courted, Dems Have Edge in Personal Contact

Summary of Findings Voters in the early primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire are being inundated with mail, phone calls and other contacts from the presidential campaigns. In particular, overwhelming majorities of likely voters in both states have received pre-recorded calls, or “robo-calls,” about the campaign. However, far more Democratic voters than Republican voters […]

Weekly News Interest Index Dec. 5, 2007

Public Still Getting to Know Leading GOP Candidates

Summary of Findings Even as the 2008 presidential campaign draws increasing news coverage, the public shows limited awareness of the personal backgrounds of some of the top GOP candidates. While 86% of the public is able to name Rudy Giuliani as the former mayor of New York City, only about half as many — 42% […]

Survey Reports Dec. 4, 2007

GOP Race Unsettled in Politically Diverse Early States

Summary of Findings Republican voter sentiment in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina is highly fluid. Compared with Democratic voters, likely Republican voters in these three politically disparate states express less enthusiasm about their field of presidential candidates, and many Republicans voice only modest support for their choices. Mike Huckabee runs even with Mitt Romney […]

Commentary Dec. 4, 2007

Public Opinion About Mormons

On Thursday Dec. 6, Mitt Romney will deliver an address outlining the way his religious faith has influenced his political career. Recent Pew polling finds that Romney, more than any other presidential candidate (Republican or Democrat), is viewed as very religious by the public. This perception is, for the most part, an asset for Romney’s […]

Survey Reports Dec. 3, 2007

Democratic Primary Preview: Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina

Summary of Findings Democrats enter the presidential primary campaign upbeat about their candidates and united in their views on major issues. Sen. Hillary Clinton is the clear frontrunner in New Hampshire and South Carolina, where she holds 19-point and 14-point leads, respectively. However in Iowa she is in a statistical tie with Barack Obama. Clinton […]

Survey Reports Nov. 27, 2007

Public Sees Progress in War Effort

Summary of Findings For the first time in a long time, nearly half of Americans express positive opinions about the situation in Iraq. A growing number says the U.S. war effort is going well, while greater percentages also believe the United States is making progress in reducing the number of Iraqi casualties, defeating the insurgents […]

Weekly News Interest Index Nov. 21, 2007

Public’s News Interests: Campaign, War and Returning Troops

Summary of Findings While the national news media focused heavily on the 2008 presidential campaign last week, the public divided its interest between the campaign and the Iraq war. More than one-fifth of the national newshole (21%) was devoted to the presidential campaign, while news about the war — including the situation in Iraq, returning […]

Commentary Nov. 19, 2007

The View from the Other Side

Even though nearly all voters with a partisan leaning intend to vote in their own party’s primaries or caucuses, many do have opinions about the candidates running in the other party’s contests. Hillary Clinton’s unpopularity among Republicans is abundantly clear. Just 11% of Republican voters say they would like to see Clinton win the Democratic […]

Commentary Nov. 19, 2007

Tracking the Traders

In recent months, the U.S. stock market has seen record highs coupled with dramatic sell-offs, its volatility fueled by the sub-prime mortgage and credit crisis, the weak dollar, and oil prices heading toward $100 per barrel. At the same time, the public has grown increasingly worried about the state of the U.S. economy. Yet these […]

Weekly News Interest Index Nov. 15, 2007

Widespread Interest in Rising Oil Prices

Summary of Findings While the press focused heavily on the political turmoil in Pakistan last week, the public was interested in other things. The three news stories the public followed most closely last week, rising oil prices, the Iraq war and the recall of Chinese-made toys, received relatively little press coverage. The public’s top story […]

Survey Reports Nov. 13, 2007

Blacks See Growing Values Gap Between Poor and Middle Class

Report Summary African Americans see a widening gulf between the values of middle class and poor blacks, and nearly four-in-ten say that because of the diversity within their community, blacks can no longer be thought of as a single race, a new Pew Research Center survey has found. The survey also finds blacks less upbeat […]

Weekly News Interest Index Nov. 9, 2007

Iraq News: Less Dominant, Still Important

Summary of Findings News about the Iraq war does not dominate the public’s consciousness nearly as much as it did last winter. Currently, just 16% of Americans name the Iraq war as the news story that first comes to mind when asked what has been in the news lately. In December and January, a period […]

Weekly News Interest Index Nov. 8, 2007

Heavy Campaign Coverage Draws Large Audience

Summary of Findings The 2008 presidential campaign dominated the national news last week, driven in large part by the lively Democratic debate in Philadelphia. Public interest in the campaign was up somewhat from previous weeks with 27% of Americans paying very close attention to campaign news. More than one-in-five named the campaign as the single […]

Survey Reports Nov. 7, 2007

Public Dissatisfied with Democratic Leaders, But Still Happy They Won

Summary of Findings A year after the Democratic Party won control of both houses of Congress, Americans are increasingly dissatisfied with the party’s congressional leaders. Just 31% approve of their job performance, down 10 points since February. Despite these tepid ratings, most Americans (54%) say that they are happy that the Democrats won control of […]

Weekly News Interest Index Nov. 1, 2007

California Wildfires Draw Large Audience

Summary of Findings The California wildfires overshadowed all other news stories last week both in terms of public interest and news coverage. Four-in-ten Americans followed news about the fires very closely, making it the fourth most closely followed news story of the year. The only stories that have attracted a larger audience this year were […]

Survey Reports Oct. 31, 2007

A Year Ahead, Republicans Face Tough Political Terrain

Introduction and Summary A year before the 2008 presidential election, most major national opinion trends decidedly favor the Democrats. Discontent with the state of the nation is markedly greater than it was four years ago. President Bush’s approval rating has fallen from 50% to 30% over this period. And the Democrats’ advantage over the Republicans […]