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 […]

Survey Reports Jan. 23, 2012

Public Priorities: Deficit Rising, Terrorism Slipping

As the 2012 State of the Union approaches, the public continues to give the highest priority to economic issues. Fully 86% say that strengthening the economy should be a top priority for the president and Congress this year, and 82% rate improving the job situation as a top priority. None of the other 20 […]

Survey Reports Jan. 19, 2012

Obama: Weak Job Ratings, But Positive Personal Image

Barack Obama begins his fourth year in office facing a struggling economy, an unhappy public, and a lower job approval rating than most of his recent predecessors at a comparable point in their presidencies. In fact, Obama’s job rating today is a bit more negative than it was in December: 48% disapprove of his […]

Weekly News Interest Index Jan. 18, 2012

Campaign 2012: Too Negative, Too Long, Dull

As the Republican candidates battle for the chance to challenge Barack Obama in November, many Americans are highly critical of the presidential campaign. Half (50%) say the campaign has been too negative. By comparison, four years ago, amidst primary fights in both parties, just 28% said the campaign at that point was too negative. […]

Survey Reports Jan. 18, 2012

Unpopular Nationally, Romney Holds Solid GOP Lead

Days ahead of the South Carolina primary, Mitt Romney maintains a substantial lead nationally in the race for the GOP nomination. Yet his image among all voters has slipped since November and he runs no better in a general election matchup with Barack Obama than he did then, despite his advantage as the “electable” […]

Survey Reports Jan. 17, 2012

Super PACs Having Negative Impact, Say Voters Aware of ’Citizens United’ Ruling

As campaign advertisements funded by Super PACs dominate the airwaves in the lead-up to the South Carolina primaries this Saturday, 54% of registered voters say they have heard about the 2010 Supreme Court decision that allows corporations and individuals to spend as much money as they want on political advertising as long as it […]

Survey Reports Jan. 13, 2012

Few GOP Voters Would be Swayed by Endorsements

Political endorsements by prominent Republicans would provide little help for GOP candidates in the primaries and might be more of a liability than a benefit in a general election campaign. Most Republican and Republican-leaning voters say that candidate endorsements by leading GOP figures, including George W. Bush, Sarah Palin and John McCain, would make no […]

Survey Reports Jan. 12, 2012

Many Voters Unaware of Basic Facts about GOP Candidates

Many voters do not know basic facts about the Republican candidates running for president or the early primary calendar. While a sizable majority (69%) knows that Newt Gingrich served as speaker of the House, only about half (53%) identify Massachusetts as the state where Mitt Romney served as governor. Fewer than half of registered […]

Weekly News Interest Index Jan. 11, 2012

Perceptions of Economic News Continue to Improve

The number of Americans hearing mostly bad news about the nation’s economy continues to decline. Three-in-ten (30%) now say they are hearing mostly bad economic news, less than half the number that said this in early August (67%). The percentage saying they are hearing a mix of good and bad news about the economy […]

Survey Reports Jan. 9, 2012

GOP Voters Still Unenthused About Presidential Field

On the eve of the New Hampshire primary, Republican voters continue to express mixed views of the party’s presidential field. Roughly half (51%) of Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters say the candidates are excellent or good, while 44% say they are only fair or poor. The percentage expressing positive views of the GOP presidential […]