Weekly News Interest Index Jun. 5, 2008

Many Say Coverage is Biased in Favor of Obama

Summary of Findings Over the course of the primary campaign season greater numbers heard about controversies associated with Barack Obama than heard about other campaign events. Nonetheless, far more Americans believe that the press coverage has favored Barack Obama than think it has favored Hillary Clinton. Nearly four-in-ten (37%) say that in covering the Democratic […]

Commentary Jun. 4, 2008

Obama Backers Cool to Clinton as Running Mate

On the morning after Barack Obama’s historic nomination victory, attention has quickly turned to the question of possible running mates — specifically whether Obama and Hillary Clinton will join forces in a so-called “Dream Ticket.” In a survey conducted in late May (May 21-25), a majority of Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters (53%) said they would […]

Survey Reports Jun. 3, 2008

Democratic Party’s Favorables Rise, Congress Still Unpopular

Summary of Findings The overall image of the Democratic Party has improved over the past year, although the Democratic-led Congress remains widely unpopular. A majority of Americans (57%) say they have a favorable view of the Democratic Party, up six points since July 2007 and 10 points since July 2006. In contrast, views of the […]

Commentary Jun. 2, 2008

The Iraq Challenge

It turns out that Iraq is not the pivotal campaign issue that it seemed to be less than a year ago. Indeed, the war is no longer the top concern among voters. At the same time, the war’s impact is complicated by ambivalent and contradictory public opinions. In many respects, as far as Iraq is […]

Survey Reports May. 29, 2008

McCain’s Negatives Mostly Political, Obama’s More Personal

As the end of the primary season draws near, Barack Obama is the clear favorite of Democratic voters for their party’s presidential nomination. He currently holds a wide 54% to 41% lead over Hillary Clinton. But when the Illinois Democrat is tested against John McCain in a general election matchup, he now runs about […]

Weekly News Interest Index May. 28, 2008

Greater Coverage of McCain, But Public Still Focused on Obama

Summary of Findings Despite a significant increase in news coverage of John McCain last week, Barack Obama remained by far the most visible candidate in the eyes of the public. Fully half of the public said Obama was the candidate they had heard the most about in the news recently, while only 8% said they […]

Methodology Reports May. 22, 2008

Research Roundup: Latest Findings on Cell Phones and Polling

Weekly News Interest Index May. 22, 2008

Foreign Disasters Attract Interest Despite Modest Coverage

Summary of Findings The American public expressed strong news interest in the earthquake in China last week even as the news media remained heavily focused on the presidential campaign. In spite of modest coverage of both the earthquake in China and the cyclone that hit Burma, the public had a fairly good sense of the […]

Survey Reports May. 14, 2008

Public Continues to Oppose Banning Handgun Sales

Summary of Findings As the Supreme Court considers the constitutionality of Washington, D.C.’s ban on handguns, a majority of Americans (59%) say they would oppose a law that banned the sale of handguns. Opposition to a prohibition of handgun sales is up slightly, from 55% a year ago shortly after the Virginia Tech shootings, but […]

Survey Reports May. 14, 2008

Federal Government’s Favorable Ratings Slump

Summary of Findings Americans continue to hold their local and state governments in fairly high esteem, but positive views of the federal government are at their lowest point in at least a decade. Only 37% of people say they hold a favorable view of the federal government, while 58% express an unfavorable opinion. By comparison, […]

Survey Reports May. 14, 2008

Opinion of Oprah More Politicized, Gore’s Ratings Improve

Summary of Findings Long one of America’s best-known and best-liked media figures, Oprah Winfrey saw her popularity slip after her endorsement of Barack Obama last year. A new survey shows that her image has not recovered, and opinions about the talk show host have become increasingly divided along partisan political lines. Currently, 68% of Americans […]

Weekly News Interest Index May. 14, 2008

Public Says Press Should Not Declare Obama the Winner

Summary of Findings Barack Obama may be building an insurmountable lead in the Democratic primary race, but the public is sending a strong message to journalists and pundits: It is too early to declare, as some already have, that the race is over. Fully 72% of the public – including comparable percentages of Democrats, Republicans […]

Survey Reports May. 8, 2008

A Deeper Partisan Divide Over Global Warming

Summary of Findings The proportion of Americans who say that the earth is getting warmer has decreased modestly since January 2007, mostly because of a decline among Republicans. Republicans are increasingly skeptical that there is solid evidence that the earth has been warming over the past few decades: just 49% of Republicans say there is […]

Weekly News Interest Index May. 8, 2008

Wright Controversy Top Campaign Event So Far

Summary of Findings The latest round of news about Barack Obama and his former pastor Rev. Jeremiah Wright dominated campaign news coverage last week. According to the Project for Excellence in Journalism’s (PEJ) Campaign Coverage Index, 42% of all campaign coverage last week dealt with the Rev. Wright controversy. Wright’s comments are by far the […]

Commentary May. 8, 2008

The Widening Gap

The phrase “generation gap” came into vogue in the 1960s as a way of describing the wide gulf in values, beliefs and lifestyles that emerged between baby boomers and their parents and grandparents. Indeed, this difference between younger and older people played out sometimes turbulently in the ’60s in virtually all aspects of life, including […]

Commentary May. 7, 2008

Hard Hats See Hard Times

While the latest labor statistics reported fewer job losses than analysts expected, the American public is expressing increasing concern about job availability. But those worries are not as widespread as in the 1992 election-year downturn, when majorities at all income levels judged jobs to be in short supply. Instead, today’s worries are far more heavily […]

Survey Reports May. 6, 2008

Pope Benedict’s Image Improves Following U.S. Visit

Summary of Findings Following his first visit to the United States as spiritual leader of the world’s Catholics, Pope Benedict XVI is viewed more favorably than he was a few weeks before his trip. Currently, 61% of Americans say they have a favorable impression of the pope, up from 52% in late March. Views of […]

Survey Reports May. 1, 2008

Obama’s Image Slips, His Lead Over Clinton Disappears

Summary of Findings Democratic voters are not as positive about Barack Obama as they were a month ago. Somewhat smaller percentages of Democrats describe Obama in favorable terms, and he has lost his lead over Hillary Clinton in the race for the Democratic nomination. Nationally, Democratic voters are about evenly divided between Obama and Clinton; […]

Weekly News Interest Index May. 1, 2008

Democratic Campaign Taking a Toll on Both Obama and Clinton

Summary of Findings Over the past six weeks the intense, and often negative, contest between Obama and Clinton has dominated media coverage of the campaign as well as public attention. And over this period, more Americans have consistently said their views of Obama and Clinton have become less favorable, rather than more favorable, in recent […]

Commentary Apr. 28, 2008

Gen Dems: The Party’s Advantage Among Young Voters Widens

Trends in the opinions of America’s youngest voters are often a barometer of shifting political winds. And that appears to be the case in 2008. The current generation of young voters, who came of age during the George W. Bush years, is leading the way in giving the Democrats a wide advantage in party identification, […]