Weekly News Interest Index Mar. 30, 2011

Public Stays Focused on Japan as Media Turns to Libya

Summary of Findings The public’s news interests this week are far out of sync with the news media’s coverage: While the aftermath of the Japan earthquake and tsunami was the public’s top story by a wide margin, news organizations devoted far more coverage to the military conflict in Libya. Nearly six-in-ten Americans (57%) say they […]

Survey Reports Mar. 28, 2011

Modest Support for Libya Airstrikes, No Clear Goal Seen

After several days of airstrikes on Libya by the United States and its allies, the public has mixed reactions to the military operation. Nearly half of Americans (47%) say the United States made the right decision in conducting air strikes in Libya while 36% say it was the wrong decision. Fully one-in-six (17%) express […]

Survey Reports Mar. 23, 2011

Obama Tests Well at Start of Reelection Run

Barack Obama currently fares as well against a generic opponent in the upcoming presidential election as George W. Bush did in April 2003, a time when Bush’s job approval rating was much higher than Obama’s is today. He also tests considerably better than Bill Clinton did in March 1995. Nearly half (47%) of registered […]

Weekly News Interest Index Mar. 22, 2011

Most Are Attentive to News About Disaster in Japan

Summary of Findings News about the aftermath of the deadly earthquake and tsunami in Japan dominated the public’s news interest and media coverage last week. The crisis at Japan’s nuclear plants – far more than other aspects of the story – captured the most public interest. Fully 57% say they followed news about the aftermath […]

Survey Reports Mar. 21, 2011

Opposition to Nuclear Power Rises Amid Japanese Crisis

Not surprisingly, public support for the increased use of nuclear power has declined amid the ongoing nuclear emergency in Japan. Currently, 39% say they favor promoting the increased use of nuclear power while 52% are opposed. Last October, 47% favored promoting the increased use of nuclear power and the same percentage (47%) was opposed. […]

Survey Reports Mar. 16, 2011

Republicans Are Losing Ground on the Deficit, But Obama’s Not Gaining

As the budget debate moves into a crucial phase, far fewer Americans say that Republicans in Congress have the better approach to the budget deficit than did so in November, shortly after the GOP’s sweeping election victories. The GOP has lost ground on the deficit among political independents and, surprisingly, among key elements of […]

Weekly News Interest Index Mar. 15, 2011

Strong Public Interest in Japan Disaster

Summary of Findings The devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan late last week dominated the public’s news interest – and news media coverage – in the days following the March 11 disaster. Roughly half (52%) of the public say they very closely followed news about the massive earthquake off the northeast coast of Japan […]

Survey Reports Mar. 14, 2011

Public Wary of Military Intervention in Libya

The public by a wide margin says the United States does not have a responsibility to do something about the fighting between government forces and anti-government groups in Libya. And while opinion is divided over enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya, this view is undercut by the fact that Americans overwhelmingly oppose bombing Libyan […]

Commentary Mar. 11, 2011

The Elusive 90% Solution

Survey Reports Mar. 9, 2011

Continuing Divide in Views of Islam and Violence

The public remains divided over whether Islam is more likely than other religions to encourage violence among its believers. Currently, 40% say the Islamic religion is more likely than others to encourage violence while 42% say it is not. These opinions have changed little in recent years. But in March 2002, just 25% saw […]

Survey Reports Mar. 8, 2011

Most See Role for Government in Reducing Childhood Obesity

Most Americans say the government should play a significant role in reducing obesity among children. But there is strong opposition to government involvement in this effort among conservative Republicans and Tea Party supporters. The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted Feb. 22-March 1 among 1,504 […]

Weekly News Interest Index Mar. 8, 2011

As Gas Prices Spike, More See Economic News as Bad

A growing awareness of bad news about gas prices has, at least for now, reversed Americans’ more positive perceptions of economic news in recent months. Nearly four-in-ten (38%) say they are hearing mostly bad news about the economy, up from 29% in February, according to the latest News Interest Index survey conducted March 3-6 among […]

Commentary Mar. 7, 2011

Who’s Winning the Fight Over Public-Employee Unions?

Survey Reports Mar. 3, 2011

Fewer Are Angry at Government, But Discontent Remains High

The public remains deeply frustrated with the federal government, but fewer Americans say they are angry at government than did so last fall. Overall, the percentage saying they are angry with the federal government has fallen from 23% last September to 14% today, with much of the decline coming among Republicans and Tea Party […]

Weekly News Interest Index Mar. 2, 2011

Rising Oil Prices Big News for American Public

Summary of Findings Both the public and the media focused last week on the increasing violence in Libya, but Americans also closely tracked news about a related concern – the impact the crisis in the Middle East is having on oil prices at home. About two-in-ten (21%) say they followed news about the rising price […]

Survey Reports Feb. 28, 2011

More Side with Wisconsin Unions than Governor

By a modest margin, more say they back Wisconsin’s public employee unions rather than the state’s governor in their continuing dispute over collective bargaining rights. Roughly four-in-ten (42%) say they side more with the public employee unions, while 31% say they side more with the governor, Scott Walker, according to the latest Pew Research […]

Survey Reports Feb. 24, 2011

Public Favors Tougher Border Controls and Path to Citizenship

The public continues to favor tough measures to crack down on illegal immigration. Yet Americans see no contradiction in supporting both stepped-up border security and a way for people already in the United States illegally to gain citizenship. The idea of changing the constitution to bar the children of illegal immigrants from becoming citizens […]

Weekly News Interest Index Feb. 24, 2011

Global Trouble Spots Top Public’s News Interests

The public expresses far more interest in news from global hot spots, including Iraq, Afghanistan and North Korea, than in news from many less troubled countries. And while most Americans express interest in what happens in Canada and Great Britain, far fewer are interested in developments from other traditional U.S. allies – notably France. […]

Weekly News Interest Index Feb. 23, 2011

Public Still Focused on Egypt as Coverage Fades

Summary of Findings The public’s interest in developments in Egypt remained high last week as the media focused increasingly on domestic debates over how to deal with the fiscal troubles facing many states and how to bring down the federal deficit. About a third of the public (32%) says they followed news about the situation […]

Commentary Feb. 22, 2011

In Showdown with Air Traffic Controllers, the Public Sided with Reagan