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 […]

Commentary Dec. 8, 2011

For Gingrich, Age May Just Be a Number

As the newly anointed GOP frontrunner, Newt Gingrich is facing increased scrutiny about his record, policy proposals and temperament. But so far, Gingrich’s age – he will turn 69 next summer – has virtually escaped notice. This marks quite a change from the last presidential campaign, when then 72-year-old John McCain faced persistent questions about […]

Weekly News Interest Index Dec. 7, 2011

Many Fewer Hearing Mostly Bad Economic News

The number of Americans hearing mostly bad news about the economy has fallen 12 points over the past month and 31 points since fears of a new recession intensified in August. Currently, 56% say the news they are hearing about the economy is a mix of good and bad, while 36% say the news […]

Survey Reports Dec. 6, 2011

Illegal Immigration: Gaps Between and Within Parties

The public continues to support tough measures to crack down on illegal immigration, but also a path to citizenship for those in the country illegally. A plurality (43%) says the priority should be better border security and enforcement, as well as creating a way for illegal immigrants to become citizens if they meet certain […]

Survey Reports Dec. 6, 2011

Nomination Race Hurting GOP, But Not Helping Obama

As the fight for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination unfolds, more Americans say their impression of the GOP field is worsening than improving. Those views, however, have not resulted in a better view of President Barack Obama at this point. By a margin of two-to-one, more say that their impression of the GOP field is […]

Commentary Dec. 6, 2011

An ‘Iron Hand’ Is No Substitute For Democracy

Two decades ago, a survey conducted by the Times Mirror Center of the Soviet Union during perestroika showed a huge divide between hardline communists and the young, urban Russians who backed Boris Yeltsin and favoured a free market economy. Last weekend’s election results show how the divide endures 20 years on. A new Pew Research […]

Survey Reports Dec. 1, 2011

Modest Rise in Number Saying There Is ’Solid Evidence’ of Global Warming

The percentage of Americans who say there is solid evidence of global warming has increased modestly over the past two years. Currently, 63% say there is solid evidence that the earth’s average temperature has been getting warmer over the past few decades. In October 2009, 57% expressed this view. The number saying global warming […]

Commentary Nov. 29, 2011

More Now Disagree with Tea Party – Even in Tea Party Districts

Since the 2010 midterm elections, the Tea Party has not only lost support nationwide, but also in the congressional districts represented by members of the House Tea Party Caucus. And this year, the image of the Republican Party has declined even more sharply in these GOP-controlled districts than across the country at large. In the […]

Survey Reports Nov. 23, 2011

Romney’s Mormon Faith Likely a Factor in Primaries, Not in a General Election

A new survey finds that there has been virtually no change in Americans’ impressions of the Mormon faith over the past four years. Meanwhile, about half of all voters, and 60% of evangelical Republicans, know that Mitt Romney is a Mormon. Romney’s religion has implications for his nomination run but not for the general election […]

Weekly News Interest Index Nov. 22, 2011

Deficit ’Super Committee’ Draws Little Attention

 Overview Few Americans (17%) paid very close attention to news about the congressional “super committee” last week as the panel approached its deadline to agree on a plan to cut federal spending and reduce the national deficit. Another 24% say they followed news about the super committee fairly closely. Most (58%) followed news about the […]

Survey Reports Nov. 17, 2011

Obama Job Approval Improves, GOP Contest Remains Fluid

With much of the recent political focus on the ever-changing Republican presidential nomination race, Barack Obama’s job rating has improved modestly over the past month. And a majority of Americans continue to hold a favorable personal opinion of Obama. This is not the case for his main GOP rivals, whom he mostly bests in […]

Weekly News Interest Index Nov. 15, 2011

Fewer Hearing Mostly Bad News about Economy

The Penn State child sex abuse scandal topped the public’s news interest last week, but Americans also continued to closely track news about the nation’s economy. The public’s perceptions of economic news, which took a decided downturn in August, are much less negative today. Currently, 48% say they are hearing mostly bad news about […]

Survey Reports Nov. 10, 2011

Partisan Divide Over Alternative Energy Widens

Public support for increased federal funding on research into alternative energy technology, including solar technology, has decreased substantially since the early months of the Obama administration, with nearly all the decline coming from Republicans and Republican-leaning independents. Overall, 68% of the public favors increasing federal funding for research on wind, solar and hydrogen energy […]

Weekly News Interest Index Nov. 9, 2011

Campaign News Draws More Coverage than Interest

Public interest in the presidential campaign showed no increase this week, despite the news media’s increasing coverage of sexual harassment allegations against Herman Cain. About one-in-five Americans (22%) say they followed news about the 2012 candidates very closely, little changed from a week earlier (21%), according to the latest weekly News Interest Index survey, […]

Survey Reports Nov. 7, 2011

39% Think Cain Allegations True, 24% False

Americans who have heard about the sexual harassment allegations against Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain, on balance, think they are true rather than false. At the same time, a plurality thinks that recent coverage of Cain has been fair. Three-quarters of the public say they have heard a lot (51%) or a little (24%) […]

Survey Reports Nov. 7, 2011

What the Public Knows – In Words and Pictures

Before you read the report, test your own News IQ by taking the interactive knowledge quiz. The short quiz includes many of the questions that were included in a national poll. Participants will instantly learn how they did on the quiz in comparison with the general public as well as with people like them. […]

Survey Reports Nov. 3, 2011

The Generation Gap and the 2012 Election

In the last four national elections, generational differences have mattered more than they have in decades. According to the exit polls, younger people have voted substantially more Democratic than other age groups in each election since 2004, while older voters have cast more ballots for Republican candidates in each election since 2006. The latest […]

Weekly News Interest Index Nov. 2, 2011

Public Closely Tracking Economic and Political News

A combination of intertwined economic and political stories topped the public’s news interest last week. No single story dominated Americans’ attention. Nearly two-in-ten (17%) say reports about the condition of the economy was their top story, while 14% cite news about the candidates for president in 2012 as the story they followed most closely. […]

Weekly News Interest Index Oct. 26, 2011

Modest Interest in Gadhafi Death, Iraq Withdrawal

Americans divided their attention last week among several breaking news stories – from the death of Moammar Gadhafi in Libya to the release of dozens of dangerous wild animals in Ohio to the announced withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq– while still keeping a close watch on news about the nation’s economy. No single […]