Weekly News Interest Index Mar. 27, 2012

Trayvon Martin Killing Is Public’s Top News Story

The growing controversy over the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Florida was the public’s top story last week, though African Americans express far greater interest in news about the killing than do whites. Overall, a quarter of Americans (25%) say they followed news about the African American teenager killed by a community […]

Commentary Mar. 26, 2012

Public Remains Split on Health Care Bill, Opposed to Mandate

As the 2010 Affordable Care Act comes before the U.S. Supreme Court this week, surveys show that the public remains divided over the basic law. However, majorities continue to oppose the key element of the bill before the Court this week – the requirement that all Americans buy health insurance or face a penalty. A […]

Survey Reports Mar. 22, 2012

Top One-Word Reactions to GOP Candidates

When Americans are asked what one word comes to mind when thinking about Mitt Romney, no single term stands out. The most frequent responses are “no” or “no way,” and “rich.” That represents a shift from October and December 2011. In both of those surveys, far more mentioned the Republican presidential candidate’s Mormon faith than […]

Survey Reports Mar. 21, 2012

More See “Too Much” Religious Talk by Politicians

Weekly News Interest Index Mar. 21, 2012

Rising Fuel Prices Top Story for Public

Rising fuel prices topped the public’s news interest last week as the average cost of gasoline neared $4.00 a gallon. About a quarter (26%) say they followed news about rising gas and oil prices more closely than any other story, according to the latest weekly News Interest Index survey, conducted March 15-18 among 1,009 […]

Survey Reports Mar. 19, 2012

As Gas Prices Pinch, Support for Oil and Gas Production Grows

At a time of rising gas prices, the public’s energy priorities have changed. More Americans continue to view the development of alternative energy sources as a higher priority than the increased production of oil, coal and natural gas, but the gap has narrowed considerably over the past year. Moreover, support for allowing more offshore […]

Weekly News Interest Index Mar. 15, 2012

Campaign Interest Comparable to Most Previous Elections, Well Below 2008

The presidential campaign again proved to be the top story for the public and the media last week. Overall public interest is comparable to most previous primary election cycles, but well below the high mark set four years ago. Last week, which included Super Tuesday contests in 10 states, 28% say they followed election […]

Survey Reports Mar. 15, 2012

Little Support for U.S. Intervention in Syrian Conflict

There is strong public sentiment against the United States intervening in the fighting in Syria between government forces and anti-government groups. Nearly two-thirds (64%) say the United States does not have a responsibility to do something about the conflict in Syria. Similar percentages oppose the U.S. and its allies bombing Syrian military forces to […]

Survey Reports Mar. 15, 2012

The Viral Kony 2012 Video

Survey Reports Mar. 14, 2012

Romney Leads GOP Contest, Trails in Matchup with Obama

Mitt Romney has retaken a significant lead nationally in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, even as he has fallen further behind Barack Obama in a general election matchup. Moreover, Obama’s own job approval rating has reached 50% for the first time since last May, shortly after the killing of Osama bin Laden. […]

Weekly News Interest Index Mar. 6, 2012

Election Again Top Story for Public and Media

Election news continued to be the public’s top story last week, just ahead of the March 6 Super Tuesday voting. Just more than two-in-ten (22%) say they followed news about the candidates for president more closely than any other news. Somewhat fewer (17%) cite the tornadoes that hit parts of the Midwest, according to […]

Survey Reports Mar. 5, 2012

GOP Race Is Rallying Democrats

The Republican nomination battle is rallying Democrats behind Barack Obama. Currently, 49% of Democrats say that as they learn more about the GOP candidates, their impression of Obama is getting better. Just 36% of Democrats expressed this view in December, before the Republican primaries began. In contrast, there has been virtually no change in Republicans’ […]

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 […]