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 – […]

Commentary May. 11, 2011

Bush Lost Battle Over the Surplus, But Won Tax Cut War

A decade ago, Washington grappled with a problem that seems unreal in today’s economic climate – what to do with the budget surplus? In 2000, George W. Bush had campaigned on a pledge to return part of the surplus to taxpayers in the form of an across-the-board tax cut. Bush’s opponent, Al Gore, countered with […]

Weekly News Interest Index May. 11, 2011

Death of bin Laden: More Coverage than Interest

While the killing of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan by U.S. military forces attracted a near-record amount of news coverage, public interest in the story has been comparatively modest. Just more than four-in-ten (42%) say they followed news about the Al Qaeda leader’s  killing more closely than any other news last week. One-in-five (20%) […]

Survey Reports May. 9, 2011

Obama Bump Recedes a Bit

Barack Obama’s job approval rating has fallen slightly since the day after Osama bin Laden’s death was announced. But the balance of opinion regarding Obama’s job performance remains more positive than it was in early April. There also continues to be more optimism about the U.S. achieving its goals in Afghanistan than there was […]

Survey Reports May. 5, 2011

Why Are Gas Prices Rising? A Mix of Reasons

As gas prices soar, many Americans pin the blame on greed or a push for higher profits among oil companies, speculators and oil-producing nations. About three-in-ten (31%) offer a variation on this theme – greed, oil companies or speculation – when asked what they think is the main reason gasoline prices have gone up recently, […]

May. 4, 2011

How We Identified Your Group

Identifying which group is the best fit for you involved matching the pattern of your answers to the political value questions and party affiliation to the responses of people who took the 2011 typology national survey. This entailed a two step process: first creating the typology groups for the survey and then identifying which typology […]

Survey Reports May. 4, 2011

Beyond Red vs. Blue: The Political Typology

With the economy still struggling and the nation involved in multiple military operations overseas, the public’s political mood is fractious. In this environment, many political attitudes have become more doctrinaire at both ends of the ideological spectrum, a polarization that reflects the current atmosphere in Washington. Yet at the same time, a growing number […]

Weekly News Interest Index May. 3, 2011

Too Much Coverage: Birth Certificate, Royal Wedding

Summary of Findings Majorities of Americans say news organizations focused too much last week on both the royal wedding in England and the release of the long-form version of Barack Obama’s birth certificate. Nearly two-thirds (64%) say the press gave too much coverage to the April 29 wedding in London of Prince William and Kate […]

Survey Reports May. 3, 2011

More Optimism about Afghanistan, But No Boost in Support for Troop Presence

The killing of Osama bin Laden has bolstered the public’s confidence on two fronts: that the government can prevent a possible terrorist attack, and that the U.S. will succeed in achieving its goals in Afghanistan. However, the public’s basic views about U.S. forces in Afghanistan and the threat of terrorism in the United States […]