Weekly News Interest Index Jun. 22, 2011

Economy, Weiner Top Public’s News Interests

Americans last week followed news about the struggling economy and the resignation of Rep. Anthony Weiner from Congress more closely than other top stories, while the early stages of the 2012 presidential election led news coverage for this first time this year. Two-in-ten (20%) say they followed reports about the condition of the U.S. […]

Survey Reports Jun. 21, 2011

Record Number Favors Removing U.S. Troops from Afghanistan

As President Obama prepares to announce his policy for drawing down U.S. forces in Afghanistan, the percentage of Americans who favor removing the troops as soon as possible has reached an all-time high in Pew Research Center surveys. For the first time, a majority (56%) says that U.S. troops should be brought home as […]

Survey Reports Jun. 20, 2011

More Say GOP Would Be Mainly Responsible If No Increase In Debt Limit

More Americans believe Republicans in Congress, rather than the Obama administration, would be mainly responsible if the two sides cannot agree on a plan to increase the federal debt limit. About four-in-ten (42%) say Republicans would bear the most responsibility if the debt limit is not raised and the government is unable to borrow more […]

Commentary Jun. 20, 2011

Ideological Chasm Over Interpreting Constitution

As the Supreme Court’s current term concludes, public opinion is evenly divided about how the justices should interpret the Constitution when determining their rulings. Half of Americans (50%) say the Court’s rulings should be based on its understanding of what the U.S. Constitution means in current times, while about as many (45%) say rulings should […]

Commentary Jun. 16, 2011

In Shift from Bush Era, More Conservatives Say “Come Home, America”

In their first major presidential debate June 13, the Republican candidates sketched out a cautious approach to U.S. global engagement that would represent a departure from the policies of the Bush administration. Yet their ideas are very much in tune with the evolving views of the GOP base. In the Pew Research Center’s political typology […]

Weekly News Interest Index Jun. 15, 2011

Public Focused on Economy, Media on Weiner Scandal

Americans focused most closely last week on economic news amid continued reports about the weakness of the recovery, while the media gave the most coverage to the scandal involving New York Rep. Anthony Weiner. About a quarter of the public (23%) says the economy was their top story of the week, according to the […]

Survey Reports Jun. 14, 2011

Most Say Political Sex Scandals Due to Greater Scrutiny, Not Lower Morality

Most Americans attribute the series of public sex scandals in recent years involving politicians more to the heightened scrutiny they face than to lower moral standards among elected officials. A 57% majority say elected officials just get caught more often because they are under greater scrutiny. About two-in-ten (19%), on the other hand, say elected […]

Survey Reports Jun. 10, 2011

Views of Middle East Unchanged by Recent Events

Major events in the Middle East –including tensions between the U.S. and Israel, growing political unrest in many Arab countries, and the death of Osama bin Laden – have had little effect on public attitudes toward the region. Regarding the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, far more Americans continue to say they sympathize with Israel rather than […]

Weekly News Interest Index Jun. 8, 2011

Number Hearing “Mostly Bad” Economic News Highest Since March 2009

Following a series of downbeat reports about housing, jobs and the stock market, the public’s perceptions of economic news have turned much more negative. Fully 46% say they are hearing mostly bad news about the nation’s economy, up nine points since last month and the highest percentage since March 2009. Nearly as many now […]

Survey Reports Jun. 7, 2011

More Blame Wars than Domestic Spending or Tax Cuts for Nation’s Debt

Far more Americans say that the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has contributed a great deal to the nation’s debt than say that about increased domestic spending or the tax cuts enacted over the past decade. Six-in-ten (60%) say the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has contributed a […]

Survey Reports Jun. 6, 2011

Opposition to Ryan Medicare Plan from Older, Attentive Americans

The public offers a mixed reaction to a proposal to change Medicare into a program that would give future participants a credit toward purchasing private health insurance coverage: 41% oppose such a change, 36% favor it, and nearly a quarter (23%) have no opinion either way. Despite this even division of opinion overall, […]

Survey Reports Jun. 2, 2011

Republican Candidates Stir Little Enthusiasm

The emerging Republican presidential field draws tepid ratings. Just a quarter of voters (25%) have an excellent or good impression of the possible GOP candidates, and a separate survey conducted jointly with The Washington Post finds that negative descriptions of the field far outnumber positive ones. Asked for a single word to describe the […]

Weekly News Interest Index Jun. 1, 2011

Midwest Tornadoes Top Story for Public and Press

The devastating tornadoes that ripped through the Midwest last week dominated the public’s news interest and received much more coverage than any other story. About half of the public (48%) says they followed news about the powerful tornadoes that struck Joplin, Mo., more closely than any other news last week. None of the week’s […]

Survey Reports Jun. 1, 2011

Top Reaction to GOP Field – “Unimpressed”

Americans have decidedly negative reactions to the candidates running for the Republican presidential nomination. Asked for a single word to describe the GOP field, the top response is a variation on “unimpressed,” with 42 mentions. Overall, 44% offer negative words to describe the Republican candidates, 19% use neutral words and just 12% use positive words. […]

Commentary May. 26, 2011

’Staunch Conservatives’ Are Wary of Wall Street

Nearly three years after the financial crisis that sent the nation’s economy into a tailspin, the public expresses mixed views of Wall Street. Nearly half of Americans (47%) say that Wall Street hurts the U.S. economy more than it helps, while 38% say it helps more than hurts; 15% offer no opinion. These findings, from […]

Weekly News Interest Index May. 25, 2011

Public Stays with bin Laden Story; Media Focus Shifts

Americans continued to express strong interest in news about the death of Osama bin Laden and its ramifications last week, even as news coverage of the story continued to decline. About a quarter of the public  (27%) says they followed reports about the killing of bin Laden and its impact on U.S. relations […]

Survey Reports May. 24, 2011

More Concern about Raising Debt Limit than Government Default

The public is concerned about both of the possible outcomes of the debt limit debate – raising the debt limit and failing to do so. But more say they are very concerned about the possible consequences of raising the debt limit than of not raising it. And by a 48% to 35% margin, Americans say […]

Weekly News Interest Index May. 18, 2011

Interest in bin Laden Now Tops News Coverage

Public interest in the killing of Osama bin Laden has declined since the week U.S. forces raided his compound in Pakistan. But news coverage of bin Laden’s death has fallen more precipitously. About a third of the public (32%) says they followed this news more closely than any other story last week, down from […]

Commentary May. 16, 2011

When Private Lives Become Public

For more on how a candidate’s marital and family life affects voters’ views, click here. Generally, the issues matter most in voters’ judgments about presidential candidates, but personality, character and values are not far behind. This is especially the case in the primaries where differences between candidates of the same party tend to be modest. […]

Commentary May. 13, 2011

Most Say Homosexuality Should Be Accepted By Society

While the public is divided over same-sex marriage, a majority of Americans (58%) say that homosexuality should be accepted, rather than discouraged, by society. Among younger people in particular, there is broad support for societal acceptance of homosexuality. More than six-in-ten (63%) of those younger than 50 – 69% of those younger than 30 – […]