Commentary Aug. 3, 2010

The Invisible Court

Weekly News Interest Index Aug. 3, 2010

Mixed Reactions to Leak of Afghanistan Documents

Summary of Findings The disclosure of more than 75,000 classified documents about the war in Afghanistan by the website WikiLeaks garnered significant media coverage last week, and those familiar with the story were split over the effect of the leak: about equal percentages say the release harms the public interest as say it serves the […]

Aug. 2, 2010

Earmarks Could Help Candidates in Midterms; Palin and Tea Party Connections Could Hurt

In the congressional elections this fall, candidates with a record of bringing government projects and money to their districts may have an edge. A majority of Americans (53%) say they are more likely to vote for a candidate with a record of delivering earmarks for their districts; just 12% say they would be less […]

Weekly News Interest Index Jul. 28, 2010

Sherrod Case Draws Heavy Coverage, Modest Interest

Summary of Findings The controversy surrounding the firing of U.S. Department of Agriculture official Shirley Sherrod attracted widespread attention from the news media last week and was the dominant story on cable news networks. The public, however, showed modest interest in the Sherrod affair and, as has been the case since early May, the oil […]

Jul. 26, 2010

Obama’s Policies Seen as Better than Bush’s for Improving the Economy

While most Americans disapprove of Barack Obama’s handling of the economy, far more think his administration’s policies – rather than those of the Bush administration – would do more to improve economic conditions over the next few years. As Congress gears up for debate over the tax cuts passed when Bush was president, the […]

Weekly News Interest Index Jul. 21, 2010

Oil Leak News Viewed as Mix of Good and Bad

Summary of Findings Amid reports that BP has been able to at least temporarily stem the flow of oil from its ruptured underwater well, the public and the media last week again focused on the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. And, after several months of relentlessly bad news about the spreading spill, the possibility […]

Jul. 19, 2010

Gov’t Economic Policies Seen as Boon for Banks and Big Business, Not Middle Class or Poor

The public sees clear winners and losers from the economic policies the government has implemented since the recession of 2008. Most Americans say these policies have helped large banks, large corporations and the wealthy, while providing little or no help for the poor, the middle class or small businesses. Fully 74% say that government […]

Survey Reports Jul. 16, 2010

Voters Rate the Parties’ Ideologies

Summary of Findings In broad terms, voters view the Democratic Party’s ideology as the opposite of the Republican Party’s: 58% say the Democratic Party is either very liberal or liberal while 56% say the GOP is either very conservative or conservative. However, more voters view the Democratic Party as very liberal than see the Republican […]

Survey Reports Jul. 15, 2010

Well Known: Twitter; Little Known: John Roberts

An overwhelming proportion of Americans are familiar with Twitter, the online information-sharing network. Perhaps more surprisingly, a large majority also knows that children who are born to illegal immigrants in the United States are automatically U.S. citizens. Yet the public continues to struggle in identifying political figures, foreign leaders and even knowing facts about […]

Weekly News Interest Index Jul. 14, 2010

Modest Decline in Oil Leak Interest, Sharp Decline in Coverage

Summary of Findings As the public continues to closely track news about the environmental disaster unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico, few Americans say news organization are giving the oil leak too much coverage. The Gulf oil leak once again topped both public interest and media coverage last week, though the percent following the story […]

Jul. 12, 2010

Public’s Wish List for Congress – Jobs and Deficit Reduction

The public overwhelmingly views the job situation as a major priority for Congress during the coming months. Fully 80% say it is very important for Congress to pass legislation to address the job situation, which is virtually unchanged from May (81%). Somewhat fewer (70%) say it is very important for Congress to reduce the […]

Survey Reports Jul. 9, 2010

Republicans Less Positive Toward Supreme Court

Republicans’ opinions of the Supreme Court have become less favorable during the Obama administration. As a result, more Democrats than Republicans now express a positive opinion of the Supreme Court – the first time this has occurred since the Clinton administration. Overall opinions of the Supreme Court are unchanged since February, at 58% favorable, […]

Weekly News Interest Index Jul. 8, 2010

Public Sees Economic News Turning More Negative

Summary of Findings Public perceptions of economic news have turned much more negative. Currently, 42% say they are hearing mostly bad news about the economy, the highest percentage in a year. Last month, 30% of the public said they were hearing mostly bad news about the economy. The proportion saying they are hearing a mix […]

Commentary Jul. 1, 2010

Proud Patriots — and Harsh Critics of Government

Survey Reports Jul. 1, 2010

Voting Intentions Even, Turnout Indicators Favor GOP

With four months to go before Election Day, voting intentions for the House remain closely divided, and neither party has gained or lost much ground over the course of 2010. However, Republicans are much more engaged in the coming election and more inclined to say they are certain to vote than are Democrats. This […]

Weekly News Interest Index Jun. 30, 2010

Public, Media Track Oil Leak, Diverge On McChrystal

Summary of Findings The public remained focused on the unfolding environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico last week, while the media divided its attention between two top stories: the oil leak and controversial comments by Gen. Stanley McChrystal that led to his ouster as commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan. More than half of […]

Jun. 28, 2010

Public Rejects Variety Of Options For Fixing State Budgets

Most Americans see the deteriorating budget situations in many states as a problem that the states themselves – rather than the federal government – should solve. But when it comes to specific proposals to balance state budgets, there is more opposition than support for each option asked about – particularly cuts in funding for […]

Survey Reports Jun. 24, 2010

Obama’s Ratings Little Affected by Recent Turmoil

Since the beginning of this year, President Obama has signed a controversial health care measure, coped with a stubbornly high jobless rate, and struggled to manage the largest environmental disaster in the nation’s history. In that period, Obama’s overall job approval rating has moved from 49% to 48%. On major issues, ranging from the […]

Weekly News Interest Index Jun. 22, 2010

Public Reacts Positively To Extensive Gulf Coverage

Summary of Findings While the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico has accounted for an overwhelming proportion of recent news coverage, most Americans say the press is giving the right amount of attention to the still-unfolding disaster. The latest News Interest Index survey conducted June 17-20 among 1,009 adults by the Pew Research Center […]

Survey Reports Jun. 22, 2010

Public Sees a Future Full of Promise and Peril

Imagine a future in which cancer becomes a memory, ordinary people travel in space, and computers carry on conversations like humans. Now imagine a darker future – a world beset by war, rising temperatures and energy shortages, one where the United States faces a terrorist attack with nuclear weapons. Most Americans think that these […]