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 […]

Survey Reports Jan. 6, 2012

Continued Majority Support for Death Penalty

Public opinion about the death penalty has changed only modestly in recent years, but there continues to be far less support for the death penalty than there was in the mid-1990s. A survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press and the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, conducted […]

Commentary Jan. 4, 2012

Six Telling Findings from the Iowa Caucuses

Here are several findings from polling of voters on the day of the Iowa caucuses that may — or may not — prove to be important as the GOP race moves on to New Hampshire and beyond.  Romney Gets 1% of “True Conservative” Voters.  A quarter of Iowa caucus voters said the most important candidate […]

Survey Reports Dec. 28, 2011

Little Change in Public’s Response to ’Capitalism,’ ’Socialism’

The recent Occupy Wall Street protests have focused public attention on what organizers see as the excesses of America’s free market system, but perceptions of capitalism – and even of socialism – have changed little since early 2010 despite the recent tumult. The American public’s take on capitalism remains mixed, with just slightly more […]

Weekly News Interest Index Dec. 21, 2011

2011: A Year of Big Stories Both Foreign and Domestic

The threat of nuclear disaster in Japan and the killing of Osama bin Laden by Navy SEALs were two of the breaking news stories that captured the greatest amount of public attention in 2011. But Americans also kept a steady watch on the economy at home. More than half said they followed news about […]

Commentary Dec. 20, 2011

In 2007, Mood Just Beginning to Sour, Democrats Better Regarded

Four years ago, as voters were about to cast the first ballots in the 2008 election, the public’s mood was not very good, but still a lot better than it is today. In late 2007, the economic recession was gaining strength and the public’s view of the economy had grown more negative. Only about a […]

Survey Reports Dec. 20, 2011

Tax System Seen as Unfair, in Need of Overhaul

Public dissatisfaction with the tax system has grown over the past decade, and the focus of the public’s frustration is not how much they themselves pay, but rather the impression that wealthy people are not paying their fair share. The number of Americans who feel they pay more than their fair share in federal […]

Survey Reports Dec. 15, 2011

Frustration with Congress Could Hurt Republican Incumbents

Public discontent with Congress has reached record levels, and the implications for incumbents in next year’s elections could be stark. Two-in-three voters say most members of Congress should be voted out of office in 2012 – the highest on record. And the number who say their own member should be replaced matches the all-time […]

Survey Reports Dec. 14, 2011

Top One-Word Reactions to GOP Frontrunners

When Americans are asked what comes to mind when they hear Newt Gingrich’s name, no single word stands out. Some refer to the Republican frontrunner’s intellect and conservatism.Others see him as “old school” or even as an “idiot.” Most frequently, they offer a quick negative assessment of Gingrich’s White House bid: “no” or “no way.” […]

Weekly News Interest Index Dec. 13, 2011

Public Focuses on Elections, Economy and Penn State

The latest allegations in the child sex abuse scandal at Penn State University rivaled news about the 2012 elections and the economy for the public’s attention last week. About two-in-ten (19%) say news about the candidates for the 2012 presidential elections was their top story, while 18% each say they followed news about the […]

Survey Reports Dec. 13, 2011

Gingrich Leads, But Likely GOP Primary Voters Have Not Ruled Out Romney

Newt Gingrich holds a substantial 35% to 21% lead over Mitt Romney among Republican and Republican-leaning independent voters who say they are very likely to vote in the GOP primaries or caucuses. But clear majorities say there is at least a chance they would vote for either Gingrich or Romney in Republican primaries in […]