Weekly News Interest Index Apr. 24, 2008

More Americans View Campaign As Too Negative

Summary of Findings Interest in what the public perceives as an excessively negative presidential campaign declined in the days leading up to the Pennsylvania primary. Just 29% of Americans say they paid very close attention to news about the presidential campaign last week, the lowest percentage recorded since December 2007. By comparison, 43% said they […]

Weekly News Interest Index Apr. 17, 2008

Less News is Good News for McCain

Summary of Findings John McCain’s campaign for president has been flying under the news media’s radar since he sewed up the Republican nomination in early March. In recent weeks, he has received less news coverage – and has been consistently less visible to the public – than either Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton. Nonetheless, far […]

Commentary Apr. 17, 2008

No Clear Advantage

One of the more surprising twists in a surprising year is that despite the obvious Republican disadvantages in this election cycle, John McCain is matching up pretty well against Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in tests being conducted by national polls. Electability is an issue for Democrats, and one that both Senators Obama and Clinton […]

Commentary Apr. 15, 2008

Network News Signing Off?

The speculation over Katie Couric’s future as anchor of the CBS Evening News has raised broader questions over how long the three nightly network news broadcasts will be able to survive. A survey of journalists, released last month, found that many news professionals were skeptical about the long-term viability of the three evening broadcasts. Read […]

Weekly News Interest Index Apr. 10, 2008

Campaign News Interest Dips

Summary of Findings With the presidential campaign in something of a lull, public interest in campaign news has declined. Last week, 33% of the public paid very close attention to campaign news, down from 44% in mid-February. Public interest in the campaign, which had consistently surpassed attentiveness to previous presidential contests, is now comparable to […]

Commentary Apr. 4, 2008

That’s What I Like About Me

At the start of his run for the presidency, Barack Obama would explain the positive reaction he was getting from admirers by saying “this is more about you than about me.” Now that Mr. Obama is the front-running Democratic candidate, an in-depth look at how voters are reacting to him – and the reasons for […]

Survey Reports Apr. 4, 2008

Most Americans Unfamiliar with Petraeus, Rice Remains Popular

Summary of Findings Gen. David Petraeus has played a pivotal role in crafting the U.S. military strategy in Iraq, but he is an unfamiliar figure to most Americans. On the eve of Petraeus’ congressional testimony on the situation in Iraq, a solid majority (55%) says they do not know enough about the top U.S. commander […]

Survey Reports Apr. 3, 2008

On Eve of Visit, Pope Benedict Still Unknown to Many Americans

Summary of Findings Two weeks before his first visit to the United States as spiritual leader of the Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI continues to be viewed favorably by a majority (52%) of Americans, which is virtually unchanged from August 2007 (50%). However, the pope remains unfamiliar to a relatively large number of Americans: Three-in-ten […]

Weekly News Interest Index Apr. 3, 2008

Clinton Controversy Heavily Covered but Obama Maintains Visibility Edge

Summary of Findings Hillary Clinton’s retraction of her claim that she came under sniper fire while visiting Bosnia in 1996 was one of the main campaign storylines last week. But the controversy over her statements did not resonate as widely as the furor over statements made by Barack Obama’s pastor earlier in March. Roughly four-in-ten […]

Commentary Apr. 3, 2008

Robo-Calls Now Lead Other Forms of Campaign Outreach

As Congress considers a proposal to put restrictions on pre-recorded campaign calls, or “robo-calls,” the frequency of such calls is increasing. Overall, 39% of voters say they have received a pre-recorded call about the campaign, up from 25% in November. In other campaign findings, Democrats are more likely than Republicans to engage in campaign activities […]

Weekly News Interest Index Mar. 27, 2008

Obama and Wright Controversy Dominate News Cycle

Summary of Findings Barack Obama’s March 18th speech on race and politics is arguably the biggest political event of the campaign so far. Fully 85% of Americans say they heard at least a little about Obama’s speech, and most (54%) say they heard a lot about it. Not surprisingly, Barack Obama has been far and […]

Survey Reports Mar. 27, 2008

Obama Weathers the Wright Storm, Clinton Faces Credibility Problem.

Summary of Findings The videos of Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s controversial sermons and Barack Obama’s subsequent speech on race and politics have attracted more public attention than any events thus far in the 2008 presidential campaign. A majority of the public (51%) said they heard “a lot” about the videos, and an even larger percentage (54%) […]

Methodology Reports Mar. 20, 2008

A ’Brute Force’ Estimation of the Residence Rate for Undetermined Telephone Numbers in an RDD Survey

Weekly News Interest Index Mar. 20, 2008

Most Aware of Ferraro’s Comments, Wright Videos

Summary of Findings On the eve of Barack Obama’s major speech on race and politics, most Americans said they had heard at least a little about the videos showing the Rev. Jeremiah Wright making racially-charged statements to his Chicago congregation. At the time of the survey, however, there was greater public awareness of other recent […]

Commentary Mar. 20, 2008

Fewer Voters Identify as Republicans

The balance of party identification in the American electorate now favors the Democratic Party by a decidedly larger margin than in either of the two previous presidential election cycles. In 5,566 interviews with registered voters conducted by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press during the first two months of 2008, 36% […]

Survey Reports Mar. 19, 2008

Public Continues to Fault Government for Troop Care

Summary of Findings A year after the problems at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and other military hospitals made major news, the public remains highly critical of the government’s performance in supporting and caring for soldiers who have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan. Fully 72% say the government does not give enough support to soldiers […]

Commentary Mar. 19, 2008

Public Attitudes Toward the War in Iraq: 2003-2008

Five years after the start of the conflict in Iraq, many public evaluations of the situation in Iraq have turned more positive. But there has been no turnaround in the public’s opinion about the original decision to take military action in Iraq. While ratings of how things are going in Iraq have improved over the […]

Survey Reports Mar. 17, 2008

Financial Woes Now Overshadow All Other Concerns for Journalists

Summary of Findings The financial crisis facing news organizations is so grave that it is now overshadowing concerns about the quality of news coverage, the flagging credibility of the news media, and other problems that have been very much on the minds of journalists over the past decade. An ever larger majority of journalists at […]

Commentary Mar. 14, 2008

What Foreign Policy Agenda?

Issues have hardly played a dominant role in the nominating races, especially on the Democratic side. Still, the public has a clear domestic agenda for the next president. Fix the economy, reduce health care costs, improve the environment, reform education, deal with rising energy costs and so on. This hearty appetite for an assertive domestic […]

Weekly News Interest Index Mar. 13, 2008

Public Closely Tracking Details of Campaign

Summary of Findings Not only are Americans following election news in record numbers this year, they are tracking the details of the campaign — the charges, countercharges and controversial advertisements — extremely closely. Large majorities say they have heard at least something about rumors that Barack Obama is a Muslim; Hillary Clinton’s 3:00 a.m. phone […]