Commentary Jul. 3, 2012

PBS NewsHour’s Jim Lehrer and Pew Research Center President Andrew Kohut Discuss the 2012 Election

  On Monday, July 2, retiring “PBS NewsHour” anchor Jim Lehrer interviewed Pew Research Center President Andrew Kohut at the Chautauqua Institution’s Morning Lecture Series, titled, “The Lehrer Report: What Informed Voters Need to Know.” The discussion was part of the New York institution’s annual summer event held before an audience of 3,500. Lehrer and Kohut discussed the […]

Survey Reports, Weekly News Interest Index Jul. 2, 2012

Division, Uncertainty over Court’s Health Care Ruling

The public has long been divided in its opinions about the 2010 health care law. There is now a similar division of opinion over last week’s Supreme Court decision to uphold the law – 40% say they disapprove of the decision, while 36% approve and nearly a quarter (24%) offer no opinion. Despite extensive […]

Survey Reports Jun. 21, 2012

GOP Holds Early Turnout Edge, But Little Enthusiasm for Romney

Less than five months before Election Day, voters are not as engaged with the presidential campaign as they were at this point four years ago, when interest in the campaign reached record levels. But voter engagement today generally equals or surpasses levels from the four campaigns prior to 2008, indicating that 2012 could be […]

Survey Reports Jun. 18, 2012

Any Court Health Care Decision Unlikely to Please

The public is unlikely to be satisfied with the Supreme Court’s upcoming ruling on the 2010 Affordable Care Act – no matter what the Court decides. Whether the Court decides to uphold the entire law, overturn the entire law, or reject the “individual mandate” while allowing the rest of the law to remain in […]

Commentary Jun. 15, 2012

Obama Health Care Law: Where Does the Public Stand?

The American public has been deeply divided from the start over the health care reform law now before the U.S. Supreme Court, though opinion has generally tilted more negative than positive over the past two years.  A majority of Americans disapprove of a key component of the law, which requires most individuals to be covered […]

Commentary Jun. 14, 2012

Debt and Deficit: A Public Opinion Dilemma

The issue of the debt and the deficit – and what to do about it – has paralyzed Washington lawmakers. But when it comes to measures for reducing the deficit on which they might reach common ground, they will get little help in building support for an agreement by turning to public opinion. In my […]

Weekly News Interest Index Jun. 12, 2012

Economy, Election Are Public’s Top Stories

The public continued to track news about the economy and the presidential election, while paying less attention to another important political story – Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s victory in a hard-fought recall election. The latest weekly News Interest Index, conducted June 7-10 among 1,000 adults by the Pew Research Center for the People & […]

Weekly News Interest Index Jun. 6, 2012

Interest in Foreign News Declines

Public interest in foreign news stories has been modest so far this year, in stark contrast to 2011 when several overseas news stories, from the Japanese tsunami and nuclear disaster to the “Arab spring,” attracted substantial attention. The latest weekly News Interest Index, conducted May 31 to June 2 among 1,012 adults, is fairly […]

Survey Reports Jun. 5, 2012

Perceptions of Economic News Turn More Negative

The public’s perceptions of economic news have taken a turn for the worse. And that could be bad news for Barack Obama, who held a lead over Mitt Romney in polling conducted mostly before last week’s disappointing jobs report and stock market slide. Currently 37% say they are hearing mostly bad news about the […]

Survey Reports Jun. 4, 2012

Partisan Polarization Surges in Bush, Obama Years

As Americans head to the polls this November, their values and basic beliefs are more polarized along partisan lines than at any point in the past 25 years. Unlike in 1987, when this series of surveys began, the values gap between Republicans and Democrats is now greater than gender, age, race or class divides. […]

Weekly News Interest Index May. 31, 2012

Presidential Campaign Public’s Top Story

Americans continued to follow news about the presidential campaign more closely than any other news last week, though they also closely followed news about the price of gasoline. Nearly three-in-ten (28%) say news about the candidates for president was their top story, while 17% say they followed news about gas prices most closely. One-in-ten […]

Survey Reports May. 31, 2012

Public Sees Gas Prices Down A Little Across Much of Nation

About half of Americans say the price of gasoline has gone down over the past month. But West Coast residents are much more likely to see gasoline prices going up, which is consistent with a rise in prices at the pump in that part of the country. In total, 51% of the public says that […]

Commentary May. 23, 2012

Changing Views of Gay Marriage: A Deeper Analysis

President Obama’s recent expression of support for same-sex marriage has highlighted long-term changes in opinion on the issue. In interviews with more than 5,000 adults conducted in 2011-2012, prior to Obama’s announcement, 46% favored gay marriage while 44% were opposed. (See detailed tables for a breakdown among subgroups by year). Four years ago, a majority […]

Weekly News Interest Index May. 22, 2012

Presidential Campaign Tops Public’s News Interest

Americans focused most closely last week on news about the presidential election, as the race increasingly shifted from the Republican primary contest to the head-to-head fight between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. Nearly three-in-ten (28%) say the campaign was their top story, while 16% say they most closely followed news about the economy, according […]

Commentary May. 17, 2012

Public Yawns at European Economic Woes

As the G-8 leaders prepare to meet at Camp David on Friday, the dominant topic of conversation will be the European debt crisis. Yet it is a crisis that has attracted minimal interest or concern among the U.S. public, despite warnings from economists that Europe’s problems may threaten this country’s fragile recovery. Last week was […]

Weekly News Interest Index May. 15, 2012

Obama Support for Gay Marriage Public’s Top Story

President Obama’s expression of support for same-sex marriage proved to be the public’s top news story last week. About a quarter of Americans (26%) say they followed news about Obama’s statements on the divisive topic more closely than any other news, according to the latest weekly News Interest Index survey, conducted May 10-13 among […]

Methodology Reports, Survey Reports May. 15, 2012

Assessing the Representativeness of Public Opinion Surveys

For decades survey research has provided trusted data about political attitudes and voting behavior, the economy, health, education, demography and many other topics. But political and media surveys are facing significant challenges as a consequence of societal and technological changes. It has become increasingly difficult to contact potential respondents and to persuade them to […]

Survey Reports May. 14, 2012

Half Say View of Obama Not Affected by Gay Marriage Decision

Roughly half of Americans (52%) say Barack Obama’s expression of support for gay marriage did not affect their opinion of the president. A quarter (25%) say they feel less favorably toward Obama because of this while 19% feel more favorably. There are wide partisan and age differences in reactions to Obama’s expression of support […]

Weekly News Interest Index May. 9, 2012

Public Attention Focused on U.S. Economy

Americans followed news about the nation’s economy more closely than any other news last week amid new signs the pace of the recovery has slowed. A quarter of the public (25%) says their top story was reports about the condition of the U.S. economy, while 18% say they followed news about the 2012 presidential […]

Weekly News Interest Index May. 1, 2012

Public’s Top Stories: Martin Case, Election, Economy

Developments in the Trayvon Martin murder case and news about the candidates for president topped the public’s news interest last week, with about as many saying they followed news about the economy most closely. Roughly two-in-ten (22%) say their top story was developments in the legal case against George Zimmerman, the community watch volunteer […]