Weekly News Interest Index Apr. 17, 2012

Murder Charge in Trayvon Martin’s Death Top Story

The Trayvon Martin killing continued to top the public’s news interest last week as prosecutors in Florida filed a second-degree murder charge against George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer who shot the African American 17-year-old. About a third of the public (32%) says they followed news about the charges against Zimmerman more closely than […]

Survey Reports Apr. 17, 2012

With Voters Focused on Economy, Obama Lead Narrows

With voters continuing to focus on economic issues, Barack Obama holds a slim 49% to 45% advantage over Mitt Romney in the latest Pew Research Center survey of nearly 2,400 registered voters nationwide. Obama’s lead has narrowed since last month, when he had a 12-point advantage, though it is comparable to margins from earlier […]

Commentary Apr. 16, 2012

Obama vs. Romney: Which One Can Defy Political History to Win?

With the focus now fully on the campaign between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, commentary about the issues, the voting blocs and the strategies of the two campaigns dominates political discourse. But having polled on the last 10 presidential elections, I’m struck by a meta-question about each candidate’s viability that may trump all else. Obama […]

Commentary Apr. 16, 2012

Gay Marriage: The Electorate Changes, and Politics Follow

Seems like just yesterday that opposition to gay marriage was the strategy of choice to rally and energize the conservative base. In the 2004 presidential election, analysts believed that proposed state constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage increased the turnout of socially conservative voters in as many as 11 states, where the measures appeared on the […]

Survey Reports Apr. 11, 2012

What the Public Knows about the Political Parties

Most Americans can correctly identify the relative positions of the Republican and Democratic parties on the major issues of the day. But a review of what Americans know about the political parties shows that the public is better informed about the partisan affiliations of two popular recent presidents – Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton […]

Weekly News Interest Index Apr. 10, 2012

Majority of Americans See Economic News as Mixed

Most Americans continue to say they are hearing a mix of good and bad news about the nation’s economy, though the percentage hearing mostly bad news has ticked up since last month. Nearly six-in-ten (57%) say they are hearing mixed news about the economy, 30% say they are hearing mostly bad economic news and […]

Survey Reports Apr. 9, 2012

74% of Republicans Say Romney ’Definitely’ the Nominee

Following primary victories in Wisconsin, Maryland and the District of Columbia last Tuesday, Mitt Romney is clearly seen as the inevitable GOP nominee, and Republicans now see continued primaries as bad for the party. In the latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, conducted April 5-8, 2012, […]

Weekly News Interest Index Apr. 3, 2012

Wide Racial, Partisan Gaps in Reactions to Trayvon Martin Coverage

The Trayvon Martin shooting is the public’s top story for the second consecutive week. But interest in the teenager’s death is deeply divided along partisan, as well as racial, lines. These differences also are apparent in reactions to news coverage of the incident: Far more Republicans (56%) than Democrats (25%) say there has been […]

Survey Reports Apr. 2, 2012

Hearings Hurt Public Regard for both Health Care Law and Supreme Court

While most Americans say last week’s Supreme Court hearings on the 2010 health care law did not change their views of the law or of the Court, they did more harm than good to the image of both. In the latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press and […]

Commentary Mar. 30, 2012

Views of Law Enforcement, Racial Progress and News Coverage of Race

The controversy over the death of Trayvon Martin has highlighted issues relating to the treatment of blacks by local police departments, the state of race relations in the U.S. and press coverage of African Americans. Pew Research Center surveys in recent years have covered the opinions of blacks and whites on these and other issues. […]

Commentary Mar. 29, 2012

The Gender Gap: Three Decades Old, as Wide as Ever

The gender gap in presidential politics is not new. Democratic candidates have gotten more support from women than men for more than 30 years. Even so, Barack Obama’s advantages among women voters over his GOP rivals are striking. In the Pew Research Center’s most recent national survey, conducted March 7-11, Obama led Mitt Romney by […]

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