Survey Reports Apr. 18, 2010

Distrust, Discontent, Anger and Partisan Rancor

By almost every conceivable measure Americans are less positive and more critical of government these days. A new Pew Research Center survey finds a perfect storm of conditions associated with distrust of government – a dismal economy, an unhappy public, bitter partisan-based backlash, and epic discontent with Congress and elected officials. Rather than an […]

Commentary Apr. 15, 2010

The Tea Party’s Effect on the Midterms?

Weekly News Interest Index Apr. 14, 2010

Public Tracking Health Care, Deadly Mine Accident

Summary of Findings Americans continued to track news about the new health care law more closely than any other major story last week, though the media devoted the most attention to the deadly explosion in a West Virginia coal mine—and just 3% of coverage to health care reform. A third of the public (33%) says […]

Survey Reports Apr. 7, 2010

Broad Criticism of Pope Benedict’s Handling of Sex Abuse Scandal

Amid new revelations of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI’s job ratings for handling the scandal have plummeted. Only about one-in-ten (12%) say the pope has done an excellent (3%) or good job (9%) in addressing the sex abuse scandal; 71% say he has done a poor (44%) or only fair […]

Weekly News Interest Index Apr. 7, 2010

Public Remains Focused on Health Care Reform

Summary of Findings Americans say they tracked news about the newly enacted health care reform law more closely than other major news stories last week, though the health care debate did not dominate coverage as it had during the final votes in Congress late last month. Close to half the public (48%) followed news about […]

Survey Reports Apr. 1, 2010

Public Support For Legalizing Medical Marijuana

With a growing number of states moving to legalize medical marijuana, nearly three-quarters of Americans (73%) say they favor their state allowing the sale and use of marijuana for medical purposes if it is prescribed by a doctor, while 23% are opposed. Support for legalizing medical marijuana spans all major political and demographic groups, […]

Weekly News Interest Index Mar. 31, 2010

Health Care Debate Tops Public Interest, Coverage

Summary of Findings The long-running debate over health care reform continued to dominate public attention and media coverage last week as the final skirmishes played out on Capitol Hill and President Obama set out to promote the newly-enacted law. Two-thirds of Americans (66%) say they followed the health care debate more closely than any other […]

Commentary Mar. 24, 2010

Young People Make Up Large Proportion of Census Hold-Outs

Weekly News Interest Index Mar. 23, 2010

Health Care Finale: Heavy Coverage, Huge Interest

Summary of Findings Americans closely tracked the final stages of the long-running debate over health care reform legislation last week as the story dominated media coverage. More than half (53%) of the public says the debate was the story they followed most closely, while the story was the focus of 37% of news coverage. Half […]

Survey Reports Mar. 23, 2010

Public Divided Over State, Local Laws Banning Handguns

The public is divided over whether state and local governments should be able to pass laws banning the sale and possession of handguns. The Supreme Court is expected to rule in the next few months on the constitutionality of a 28-year-old Chicago law prohibiting handgun ownership in that city. Half of the public (50%) […]

Commentary Mar. 22, 2010

Congress in a Wordle

Survey Reports Mar. 18, 2010

Gloomy Americans Bash Congress, Are Divided on Obama

As the day of reckoning for health care reform approaches, Americans have little to cheer about. Nearly everyone (92%) gives the national economy a negative rating. Closer to home, 85% say that jobs are hard to find in their community. A majority (54%) now says that someone in their household has been without a […]

Weekly News Interest Index Mar. 17, 2010

Health Care Debate Dominates Interest and Coverage

Summary of Findings As President Obama and Democratic leaders mounted what was characterized as the final push to pass health care reform legislation last week, the public followed the health care debate more closely than any other major story (33% say they followed this story most closely). The debate also topped media coverage. The percentage […]

Survey Reports Mar. 16, 2010

With Growing Awareness of Census, Most Ready to Fill Out Forms

As forms for the 2010 U.S. Census arrive in households across the nation this week, a new Pew Research Center survey finds nearly universal awareness of the census, with 94% of Americans saying they have heard of the census and 79% having heard something recently about it. Nearly nine-in-ten Americans (87%) now say they […]

Commentary Mar. 10, 2010

Deficit Concerns Rise, But Solutions Are Elusive

Weekly News Interest Index Mar. 10, 2010

Health Care Debate Back Atop Public’s News Agenda

Summary of Findings As Americans continue to track the debate over health care reform closely, a growing minority – now 39% – says they think health care legislation will pass this year. Just before the Feb. 25 bipartisan summit at the White House to discuss the stymied legislation, 27% said they thought a bill would […]

Weekly News Interest Index Mar. 3, 2010

Public Focuses on Health Care and Olympics

Summary of Findings Americans say the two news stories they followed most closely last week were the reinvigorated debate over health care reform in Washington and the second week of the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. In interviews shortly after the Feb. 25 bipartisan summit on health care legislation, a quarter of the public (25%) says […]

Survey Reports Mar. 2, 2010

Support for Alternative Energy and Offshore Drilling

The public continues to favor a wide range of government policies to address the nation’s energy supply. More than three-quarters of the public (78%) favors increasing federal funding for research on wind, solar and hydrogen technology. A large majority (70%) also favors spending more on subway, rail and bus systems. Both measures are little […]

Weekly News Interest Index Feb. 24, 2010

Winter Olympics Tops Public’s News Interests

Summary of Findings Americans say they followed news about the Winter Olympics in Vancouver more closely than any other major news story last week. The Olympics also proved to be one of two stories people talked about most frequently with friends. The other was Tiger Woods’ televised apology for marital infidelities. About a quarter of […]

Survey Reports Feb. 23, 2010

Favorability Ratings of Labor Unions Fall Sharply

Favorable views of labor unions have plummeted since 2007, amid growing public skepticism about unions’ purpose and power. Currently, 41% say they have a favorable opinion of labor unions while about as many (42%) express an unfavorable opinion. In January 2007, a clear majority (58%) had a favorable view of unions while just 31% […]