Weekly News Interest Index Dec. 29, 2009

Top Stories of 2009: Economy, Obama and Health Care

Summary of Findings The troubled economy and efforts to revamp the nation’s health care system dominated the public’s news interest in 2009. From the year’s start, Americans kept a close watch on the unfolding economic crisis, as well as Barack Obama’s efforts to grapple with the crisis while trying to make good on campaign promises. […]

Weekly News Interest Index Dec. 22, 2009

More Now Think Health Reform Bill Will Pass

Summary of Findings Americans continued to follow the health care debate more closely than any other news story last week, and the public sees the odds of a reform bill ultimately being passed increasing. In the latest weekly News Interest Index survey, conducted Dec. 18-21 among 1,018 adults nationwide, 61% say they think a health […]

Survey Reports Dec. 21, 2009

Current Decade Rates as Worst in 50 Years

As the current decade draws to a close, relatively few Americans have positive things to say about it. By roughly two-to-one, more say they have a generally negative (50%) rather than a generally positive (27%) impression of the past 10 years. This stands in stark contrast to the public’s recollection of other decades in […]

Commentary Dec. 17, 2009

Obama’s 2010 Challenge: Wake Up Liberals, Calm Down Independents

Survey Reports Dec. 16, 2009

Mixed Views of Obama at Year’s End

Public opinion about President Barack Obama and his major polices continues to be divided as the year comes to a close. His overall approval rating is 49%, which is largely unchanged from November (51%). However, the percentage expressing at least a fair amount of confidence in Obama to do the right thing when it […]

Weekly News Interest Index Dec. 16, 2009

Public Closely Tracking Health Care Debate

Summary of Findings Americans followed the health care debate more closely than any other news story last week as Senate Democrats struggled to find a compromise that would allow them to move legislation through their chamber despite strong Republican opposition. About three-in-ten (31%) say the health care debate was the story they followed most closely, […]

Weekly News Interest Index Dec. 10, 2009

News Interest In Afghanistan Surges

Summary of Findings The public took a renewed interest in the war in Afghanistan last week as President Obama unveiled plans to send more troops there while vowing to start bringing them home in 2011. Still, as many people say they talked with friends about Tiger Woods’ troubles as Afghanistan. More than four-in-ten (43%) say […]

Survey Reports Dec. 3, 2009

U.S. Seen as Less Important, China as More Powerful

The general public and members of the Council on Foreign Relations are apprehensive and uncertain about America’s place in the world. Growing numbers in both groups see the United States playing a less important role globally, while acknowledging the increasing stature of China. And the general public, which is in a decidedly inward-looking frame […]

Survey Reports Dec. 1, 2009

GOP Seen as Friendlier to Religion than Democrats

More Americans continue to view the Republican Party as friendly toward religion (48%) than rate the Democratic Party that way (29%). President Barack Obama’s administration, however, is seen as friendly toward religion by more people (37%) than the Democratic Party as a whole. And all three get higher ratings for friendliness toward religion than […]

Weekly News Interest Index Nov. 25, 2009

Strong Interest in Health Care, Little Interest in Palin

Summary of Findings The debate over health care reform dominated the public’s news interests last week, even as other stories – including the furor over new mammogram guidelines and Sarah Palin’s book tour – vied for the news media’s attention. Fully 41% cite the health care debate as their most closely followed story of the […]

Commentary Nov. 23, 2009

Where the Public Stands on Immigration Reform

Weekly News Interest Index Nov. 19, 2009

Health Care Reform News Tops Public Interest

Summary of Findings The debate over health care reform was the news story followed most closely by the American public last week, though the media devoted more coverage to the investigation into the shooting rampage at the Fort Hood Army base. About a quarter (27%) of the public say they followed news about health care […]

Survey Reports Nov. 19, 2009

Abortion Plays Small Role in Health Reform Opposition

While most Americans oppose government funding of abortion, a new Pew Research Center survey finds that concern about abortion funding plays only a small role in driving opposition to the health care reform legislation under consideration by Congress. When health care opponents are asked in an open-ended question to describe their main reason for […]

Survey Reports Nov. 18, 2009

Modest Rise in Concern About Islamic Extremism

The public continues to express concern about the rise of Islamic extremism in the United States and abroad, but a survey taken shortly after the deadly Nov. 5 shootings at the Fort Hood Army base shows only a modest increase in these concerns since 2007. Just more than half (52%) of Americans say they […]

Survey Reports Nov. 16, 2009

Faith-Based Programs Still Popular, Less Visible

More than eight years after former President George W. Bush unveiled his faith-based initiative to make it easier for religious groups to receive government funding to provide social services, the policy continues to draw broad public support. But as was the case when Bush first announced the initiative, many Americans express concerns about blurring […]

Weekly News Interest Index Nov. 11, 2009

Fort Hood Shootings Top Interest, Coverage

Summary of Findings The November 5 shootings at the Fort Hood Army post in Texas – which resulted in the death of 13 Americans – was the public’s top news story last week. News coverage of the tragedy was also high, with the national media devoting more attention to the story than to any other. […]

Survey Reports Nov. 11, 2009

A Year Out, Widespread Anti-Incumbent Sentiment

The mood of America is glum. Two-thirds of the public is dissatisfied with the way things are going in the country. Fully nine-in-ten say that national economic conditions are only fair or poor, and nearly two-thirds describe their own finances that way – the most since the summer of 1992. An increasing proportion of […]

Commentary Nov. 5, 2009

Public Divided Over Afghan Troop Requests, But Still Sees Rationale for War

Weekly News Interest Index Nov. 5, 2009

Swine Flu Interest Outpaces Coverage

Summary of Findings For the second week in a row, Americans followed news about the swine flu and its vaccine more closely than any other news story – with public interest outpacing the amount of national media coverage devoted to the story. About three-in-ten (29%) name reports about the fast-spreading flu and its vaccine as […]

Commentary Oct. 30, 2009

Partisanship and Cable News Audiences