The News Interest Index is an ongoing project of the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press which builds on the Center's longstanding research into public attentiveness to major news stories and examines news interest as it relates to the news media's agenda.

Mar. 27, 2008

Obama and Wright Controversy Dominate News Cycle

Summary of Findings Barack Obama’s March 18th speech on race and politics is arguably the biggest political event of the campaign so far. Fully 85% of Americans say they heard at least a little about Obama’s speech, and most (54%) say they heard a lot about it. Not surprisingly, Barack Obama has been far and […]

Mar. 20, 2008

Most Aware of Ferraro’s Comments, Wright Videos

Summary of Findings On the eve of Barack Obama’s major speech on race and politics, most Americans said they had heard at least a little about the videos showing the Rev. Jeremiah Wright making racially-charged statements to his Chicago congregation. At the time of the survey, however, there was greater public awareness of other recent […]

Mar. 13, 2008

Public Closely Tracking Details of Campaign

Summary of Findings Not only are Americans following election news in record numbers this year, they are tracking the details of the campaign — the charges, countercharges and controversial advertisements — extremely closely. Large majorities say they have heard at least something about rumors that Barack Obama is a Muslim; Hillary Clinton’s 3:00 a.m. phone […]

Mar. 6, 2008

Just 28% Say Media Going Easy on Obama

Summary of Findings As is often the case, voters say they would like to see more coverage of the candidates’ positions on the issues and less coverage of which candidate is leading in the latest polls. More than three-quarters of the public (78%) would like to see more coverage of the candidates’ positions on domestic […]

Feb. 27, 2008

NY Times’ McCain Story Draws Public Interest – And Disapproval

Summary of Findings An overwhelming majority of Americans (81%) are aware of news reports that John McCain may have had an improper relationship with a female lobbyist several years ago. About half (48%) of the public has heard a lot about this story, which first appeared in the New York Times late last week. Another […]

Feb. 21, 2008

Campaign Seen as Less Negative than 2004 Contest

Summary of Findings The public remains highly engaged in the presidential campaign, and strong majorities say the campaign is important, easy to follow, interesting and informative. The public’s only major complaint about the campaign is its length: 57% say it is too long, while 40% disagree. However, campaign fatigue has not increased in recent months. […]

Feb. 13, 2008

Obama Inspiring But Inexperienced, Clinton Prepared to Lead But “Hard To Like”

Summary of Findings Barack Obama is seen by most Democrats as inspiring and as most likely to bring about change. Hillary Clinton is widely viewed as prepared to lead the country, but also hard to like. These are some of the major themes in campaign news coverage — identified by the Project for Excellence in […]

Feb. 7, 2008

Public Sees Candidates Focusing on Economy

Summary of Findings Public interest in economic news remained high last week as 40% of Americans followed news about the condition of the U.S. economy very closely. Nearly one-in-four Americans (23%) listed the economy as the single news story they were following more closely than any other, placing it second only to the presidential campaign. […]

Jan. 30, 2008

Campaign and Economy Dominate News Interest

Summary of Findings The presidential campaign continued to dominate national news coverage last week, and the public remained highly engaged in the ongoing contest. Nearly 40% of the national newshole was devoted to the campaign, and 36% of the public listed the campaign as the single news story they were following more closely than any […]

Jan. 24, 2008

Housing Crisis More Visible Than Other Economic Problems

Summary of Findings Public interest in economic news soared last week amid continued stock market volatility and concerns about a possible recession. More than four-in-ten Americans (42%) followed news about the condition of the U.S. economy very closely and 20% listed this as the single news story they followed more closely than any other. That […]

Jan. 17, 2008

Democratic Primaries Register Strongly with Public

Summary of Findings There has been no shortage of drama in either party’s early presidential primaries, but in the public’s view the Democratic contest has been far more compelling. Four-in-ten Americans (40%) say they find the Democratic primary race very interesting, nearly double the proportion describing the Republican race as very interesting (21%). While press […]

Jan. 10, 2008

Intense Iowa Coverage Leads Many to Say “Too Much”

Summary of Findings In the wake of his victory in the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses, Barack Obama for the first time supplanted Hillary Clinton as the most visible presidential candidate. Overall, 38% of Americans say they heard the most about Obama in the days immediately after the caucuses (Jan. 4-7), while 28% named Clinton as […]