Weekly News Interest Index Oct. 25, 2007

Public Tunes out Ellen DeGeneres Controversy

Summary of Findings News about the dangers of an antibiotic-resistant staph infection (MRSA) caught the public’s attention last week. More than a quarter of Americans paid very close attention to this story and 18% listed it as the single news story they followed more closely than any other — placing it at the top of […]

Weekly News Interest Index Oct. 23, 2007

Modest Interest in 2008 Campaign News

Summary of Findings The 2008 presidential campaign began much earlier than usual, but public interest in the campaign is at most only modestly higher than in previous campaigns. While Democrats are following the campaign more closely than at the same stage in previous primary contests, Republicans are no more engaged than in the past, resulting […]

Weekly News Interest Index Oct. 18, 2007

Cleveland High School Shooting Attracts Small Audience

Summary of Findings In the news last week, no single story captured the interest of the American public. The war in Iraq was the most closely followed news story — 26% of the public followed news of the war very closely and 20% listed this as their most closely followed story. The shooting at a […]

Weekly News Interest Index Oct. 12, 2007

Too Much Celebrity News, Too Little Good News

Summary of Findings When asked about which issues, if any, get too much attention from the news media, fully 40% of the public cites celebrity news. That is more than three times the number citing any other subject. About one-in-ten Americans (12%) say the news media has devoted too much attention to the Iraq war, […]

Survey Reports Oct. 11, 2007

Nation’s Real Estate Slump Hits Wealthy Areas

Summary of Findings Public assessments of the nation’s economy have fallen to a two-year low, and the nation’s economic outlook remains relatively gloomy. In particular, faced with a steady stream of negative news about the U.S. housing market, Americans are substantially less inclined than they were even a few months ago to say they expect […]

Weekly News Interest Index Oct. 4, 2007

Ahmadinejad Visit Draws Large Audience

Summary of Findings Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s visit to the U.S. drew a large news audience last week. Aside from the Iraq war it was the most closely followed news story, with 23% of the public following the story very closely, and 14% listing it as the single news story they followed most closely. Ahmadinejad’s […]

Weekly News Interest Index Sep. 27, 2007

Modest Interest in O.J. Simpson Arrest

Summary of Findings O.J. Simpson’s recent arrest on robbery and assault charges was the most heavily covered news story last week. Yet public interest in the Simpson case was fairly modest. Overall, just 13% of Americans say they followed reports about Simpson’s arrest very closely, while 17% listed it as the single story they followed […]

Survey Reports Sep. 25, 2007

Public Expresses Mixed Views of Islam, Mormonism

Summary of Findings The Muslim and Mormon religions have gained increasing national visibility in recent years. Yet most Americans say they know little or nothing about either religion’s practices, and large majorities say that their own religion is very different from Islam and the Mormon religion. A new national survey reveals some notable similarities, as […]

Survey Reports Sep. 24, 2007

Political Knowledge Update

What’s Your News IQ? Take the LatestQuiz Nearly nine-in-ten Americans know that China was the source of dangerous toys and tainted food recently in the news. And sizeable majorities can identify House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and the Sunni as the branch of Islam struggling with the Shia for control in […]

Survey Reports Sep. 20, 2007

Clinton Seen as ’Tough’ and ’Smart’ — Giuliani as ’Energetic’

Summary of Findings The public is no more engaged by the presidential campaign than it was in the spring, and the candidates’ images remain somewhat blurry. But the personal strengths of several leading candidates are beginning to come into focus for voters. Views of Hillary Clinton are more sharply drawn than those of other leading […]

Weekly News Interest Index Sep. 20, 2007

The Oprah Factor and Campaign 2008

Summary of Findings Hillary Clinton continues to lead Barack Obama by a wide margin in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. But Obama has something Clinton doesn’t have — the support of Oprah Winfrey. Winfrey endorsed Obama in May of this year and recently held a fundraiser for him at her Malibu, Calif. home. […]

Survey Reports Sep. 18, 2007

Petraeus’ Proposals Favored, But No Lift in War Support

Summary of Findings Last week’s congressional testimony by General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker, followed by President Bush’s address to the nation, has not changed bottom-line public attitudes toward the war in Iraq. However, there has been a modest increase in positive views about the U.S. military effort, accompanied by largely positive public reactions […]

Weekly News Interest Index Sep. 13, 2007

GOP Candidates Draw Coverage, But Clinton Still Most Visible

Summary of Findings The 2008 presidential campaign was once again a big story last week with most news coverage devoted to the Republican presidential candidates. While media coverage focused primarily on Republicans, the public directed most of its attention to the Democratic contenders. When asked which candidate they have heard the most about in the […]

Commentary Sep. 13, 2007

A Nation of “Haves” and “Have-Nots”?

Over the past two decades, a growing share of the public has come to the view that American society is divided into two groups, the “haves” and the “have-nots.” Today, Americans are split evenly on the two-class question with as many saying the country is divided along economic lines as say this is not the […]

Survey Reports Sep. 6, 2007

Clinton and Giuliani Seen as Not Highly Religious; Romney’s Religion Raises Concerns

Summary of Findings So far religion is not proving to be a clear-cut positive in the 2008 presidential campaign. The candidates viewed by voters as the least religious among the leading contenders are the current frontrunners for the Democratic and Republican nominations — Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani, respectively. On the other hand, the candidate […]

Commentary Sep. 6, 2007

What Could Convince Americans to Stay the Course in Iraq?

No question looms larger on the national scene than how Americans will react to the progress reported by Iraq commander Gen. David Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker when they testify before Congress next week. A look at the course of opinions about the Iraq conflict over the past few years suggests that two crucial […]

Commentary Aug. 30, 2007

Black Enthusiasm for Clinton and Obama Leaves Little Room for Edwards

The exceptionally strong support for both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama among black voters (and, for Clinton, among liberal Democratic and lower-income white voters as well), may help explain the relatively limited appeal of presidential hopeful John Edwards, whose populist platform has not translated so far into support from these key segments of the Democratic […]

Commentary Aug. 28, 2007

Along the Iraq-Vietnam Parallel

Weekly News Interest Index Aug. 28, 2007

Michael Vick Case Draws Large Audience

Summary of Findings Michael Vick’s legal troubles attracted a large news audience last week. One-in-four Americans followed the Vick story very closely and 18% said it was the single news story they followed more closely than any other. Overall, the public believes Vick, the Atlanta Falcons quarterback, has been treated fairly by the press, but […]

Weekly News Interest Index Aug. 23, 2007

Utah Miners Top News Interest

Summary of Findings For the second week in a row, the plight of six miners trapped in a Utah mine dominated public interest. Though coverage of the miners fell off significantly from the previous week, 32% of the public paid very close attention to the story and roughly the same proportion (34%) said this was […]