Commentary Mar. 2, 2012

For the Public, It’s Not about Class Warfare, But Fairness

Income inequality has become a major issue in the presidential campaign. A recent Pew Research Center poll, for example, attracted wide attention when it found that as many as 66% of Americans believe there are “very strong” or “strong” conflicts between the rich and the poor, an increase of 19 percentage points since 2009. But […]

Survey Reports Mar. 1, 2012

Public Spreads Blame for Rising Gas Prices

The public spreads the blame for the recent rise in gasoline prices. While 18% say President Obama or his administration are most to blame, about as many (14%) volunteer the oil companies or domestic oil producers. Roughly one-in-ten (11%) mostly blame Iran, the upheaval in the Middle East or the threat of war in the […]

Commentary Mar. 1, 2012

Colleges Viewed Positively, But Conservatives Express Doubts

Americans generally think that colleges and universities have a positive impact on the country, and an overwhelming majority of college graduates say higher education is worth the investment. However, conservative Republicans are skeptical of colleges’ effects on the country, even though most who have completed college view the experience as personally beneficial. In the latest […]

Weekly News Interest Index Feb. 28, 2012

Elections, Economy Top Public’s News Interest

Americans continued to focus most closely on two interrelated news stories last week: the 2012 elections and the condition of the U.S. economy. About a quarter of the public (24%) says news about candidates for the 2012 presidential elections was their top story. About as many (20%) say they followed news about the economy […]

Commentary Feb. 27, 2012

Public Views of the Divide between Religion and Politics

Recent comments by presidential candidate Rick Santorum have brought renewed attention to the role of religion in politics. In both 2010 and 2008, narrow majorities said that churches and other houses of worship should keep out of political matters rather than express their views on social and political questions, according to polls by the Pew […]

Survey Reports Feb. 23, 2012

Auto Bailout Now Backed, Stimulus Divisive

Public support for government loans to major U.S. automakers has increased sharply since 2009. Opinions are far less positive, however, about two other major initiatives to bolster the economy – the 2008 bank bailout and the 2009 stimulus plan. Americans also are of two minds when it comes to government regulation of business. While […]

Weekly News Interest Index Feb. 22, 2012

Public’s Top Stories: Whitney Houston, Election, Economy

The death of singer Whitney Houston, the presidential campaign and the state of the economy topped the public’s news interest last week. About two-in-ten (19%) say Houston’s sudden death at 48 was their top story of the week; 18% say they followed news about candidates for the presidential election most closely, while 15% say […]

Survey Reports Feb. 16, 2012

Public More Optimistic about Economy, But Concerns Persist

Optimism about the national economy, which sagged in 2011, has rebounded in the first two months of this year. Currently, 44% say they expect economic conditions to be better a year from now, up from 34% last month and 28% in December. Moreover, 54% say either that the economy is already recovering (25%) or […]

Survey Reports Feb. 15, 2012

Public Takes Strong Stance Against Iran’s Nuclear Program

The public supports tough measures – including the possible use of military force – to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Nearly six-in-ten (58%) say it is more important to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, even if it means taking military action. Just 30% say it is more important to avoid a military […]

Weekly News Interest Index Feb. 14, 2012

Despite Santorum Rise, Romney Still Most Visible

Rick Santorum’s recent electoral wins may have propelled him to the top of the Republican field, but by a better than two-to-one margin, Mitt Romney remains the candidate Americans say they are hearing about most in the news. Half (50%) say they have heard the most about Romney recently, compared with 19% who say […]

Survey Reports Feb. 14, 2012

Public Divided Over Birth Control Insurance Mandate

About six-in-ten Americans (62%) have heard about the proposed federal rule that would require employers, including most religiously affiliated institutions, to cover birth control as part of their health care benefits. Among those aware of the issue, opinion is closely divided over whether these institutions should be given an exemption to the rule if […]

Survey Reports Feb. 13, 2012

Santorum Catches Romney in GOP Race

Rick Santorum’s support among Tea Party Republicans and white evangelicals is surging, and he now has pulled into a virtual tie with Mitt Romney in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. In polling conducted Feb. 8-12, 30% of Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters favor Santorum while 28% favor Romney. As recently as a […]

Commentary Feb. 7, 2012

Growing Public Support for Same-Sex Marriage

UPDATED FEBRUARY 16, 2012, WITH MORE COMPLETE DATA. As courts and legislatures address the question of whether same-sex couples should be allowed to legally marry, public support for gay marriage continues to grow. Polls in 2011 by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press found that an average of 46% favor allowing […]

Weekly News Interest Index Feb. 7, 2012

Election News Tops Public Interest and Coverage

With a critical Republican primary in Florida, the 2012 presidential campaign was the public’s top story last week, closely followed by news about the economy. About a quarter (23%) say they followed news about the candidates for president most closely. Another 18% say the economy was their top story. Nearly as many (15%) say […]

Survey Reports Feb. 7, 2012

Cable Leads the Pack as Campaign News Source

With a contested primary in only one party this year, fewer Americans are closely following news about the presidential campaign than four years ago. As a consequence, long-term declines in the number of people getting campaign news from such sources as local TV and network news have steepened, and even the number gathering campaign […]

Commentary Feb. 2, 2012

Lower-Income Republicans Say Government Does Too Little for Poor People

Mitt Romney’s statement that he is focused solely on the problems of middle class Americans, not the poor, may not sit well with lower-income voters within his own party. Roughly a quarter of Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters have annual family incomes under $30,000, and most of them say that the government does not do […]

Weekly News Interest Index Jan. 31, 2012

Primary Fight and Obama Speech Top News Interest

In the days before Tuesday’s hard-fought Florida primary and just after the president’s State of the Union address, political stories topped the public’s news interest. About two-in-ten (22%) say they followed news about candidates for the 2012 presidential elections more closely than any other news last week. About as many (18%) say their top […]

Survey Reports Jan. 30, 2012

GOP Voters Continue to Give Field Subpar Ratings

Amid a bruising primary campaign, Republicans remain unimpressed with their party’s presidential field. In fact, more Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters say the GOP field is only fair or poor (52%) than did so in early January (44%). By comparison, just 46% of Republican voters have positive opinions of the GOP field, according to the […]

Commentary Jan. 27, 2012

It’s About Fairness, Not Class Warfare

Income inequality has become a hot-button issue during this political campaign. A recent Pew Research Center poll, for example, attracted an extraordinary amount of attention when it found that 66 percent of Americans believed there were “very strong” or “strong” conflicts between the rich and the poor — an increase of 19 percentage points since […]

Weekly News Interest Index Jan. 24, 2012

Cruise Ship Accident, Election Top Public’s Interest

The deadly crash of a cruise ship off of the coast of Italy and the latest developments in the 2012 presidential campaign topped the public’s news interests last week. About a quarter (26%) say they followed news about the cruise ship accident more closely than any other news. A comparable percentage (23%) say they […]