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.

Nov. 19, 2012

More Following ’Fiscal Cliff’ Debate than Petraeus Investigation

In a busy news week, more Americans say they followed the debate over the “fiscal cliff” very closely than the investigations into the Libya embassy attack, renewed violence in the Middle East or the FBI investigation that led to David Petraeus’s resignation as CIA Director after it found he was having an extra-marital affair. […]

Nov. 13, 2012

Broad Concern about ’Fiscal Cliff’ Consequences

As the president and congressional leaders begin negotiations to avoid the “fiscal cliff” deadline at the end of the year, there is widespread public concern about the possible financial consequences. More say the automatic spending cuts and tax increases scheduled to take effect in January would have a major effect on the U.S. economy […]

Nov. 5, 2012

More Interest in Hurricane Sandy than Election

Just over half of the public (53%) say they followed news about Hurricane Sandy and the storm’s impact very closely last week, outpacing interest in the 2012 presidential election (47% very closely) and news about the U.S. economy (38% very closely). The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & […]

Oct. 31, 2012

In Deadlocked Race, Neither Side Has Ground Game Advantage

Just as the presidential race is deadlocked in the campaign’s final days, the candidates are also running about even when it comes to the ground game. Voters nationally, as well those in the closely contested battleground states, report being contacted at about the same rates by each of the campaigns. And with a fifth […]

Oct. 2, 2012

Obama Expected to Win First Presidential Debate

Heading into Wednesday night’s first presidential debate, voters expect that Barack Obama will do a better job than Mitt Romney. A substantial majority of voters plan to watch the debate: 62% say they are very likely to watch, another 21% say they are somewhat likely. The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center […]

Sep. 17, 2012

Middle East Turmoil Closely Followed; Romney’s Comments Viewed Negatively

About four-in-ten Americans (43%) have followed news about the attacks on U.S. embassies in the Middle East and the killing of an American ambassador very closely, making it by far the most closely followed foreign news story of the year. Those who have followed this story have much more positive opinions about Barack Obama’s […]

Sep. 12, 2012

Democrats Now More Positive on Campaign 2012

In the wake of the party conventions, Democrats express increasingly positive views of the presidential campaign. And today, substantially more Democrats than Republicans view the campaign as interesting and informative. The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted Sept. 7-9 among 1,012 adults, finds that 66% […]

Sep. 5, 2012

RNC Highlights: Romney Shares Top Billing With Eastwood

The public paid far less attention to this year’s Republican convention than it did to the GOP convention four years ago. Just 37% say they watched all or some of the Republican convention, down from 56% in 2008. And while there has been a modest increase in the percentage saying they view Mitt Romney […]

Aug. 27, 2012

More Interest in GOP Platform than Romney’s Speech

As the Republican convention gets underway, more Americans express interest in learning about what’s in the GOP platform than in the speeches by either Mitt Romney or his running mate. About half of the public (52%) is interested in learning about the Republican Party’s platform, while 44% are interested in Romney’s acceptance speech and […]

Aug. 1, 2012

Colorado Rampage Tops News Interest for July

In the final two weeks of July, Americans kept a close watch on news about a deadly shooting rampage at a Colorado movie theater, but they also closely tracked news about two long-running stories – the condition of the nation’s economy and the 2012 presidential campaign. News about the shootings, which left 12 dead […]

Jul. 23, 2012

Colorado Shootings Capture Public’s Interest

About half of the public says they very closely followed news about the deadly shooting rampage shortly after midnight Friday morning in a movie theater in Colorado, making this one of the most closely followed stories so far in 2012. Fully 48% say they followed this news very closely, according to the latest survey […]

Jul. 2, 2012

Division, Uncertainty over Court’s Health Care Ruling

The public has long been divided in its opinions about the 2010 health care law. There is now a similar division of opinion over last week’s Supreme Court decision to uphold the law – 40% say they disapprove of the decision, while 36% approve and nearly a quarter (24%) offer no opinion. Despite extensive […]

Jun. 12, 2012

Economy, Election Are Public’s Top Stories

The public continued to track news about the economy and the presidential election, while paying less attention to another important political story – Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s victory in a hard-fought recall election. The latest weekly News Interest Index, conducted June 7-10 among 1,000 adults by the Pew Research Center for the People & […]

Jun. 6, 2012

Interest in Foreign News Declines

Public interest in foreign news stories has been modest so far this year, in stark contrast to 2011 when several overseas news stories, from the Japanese tsunami and nuclear disaster to the “Arab spring,” attracted substantial attention. The latest weekly News Interest Index, conducted May 31 to June 2 among 1,012 adults, is fairly […]

May. 31, 2012

Presidential Campaign Public’s Top Story

Americans continued to follow news about the presidential campaign more closely than any other news last week, though they also closely followed news about the price of gasoline. Nearly three-in-ten (28%) say news about the candidates for president was their top story, while 17% say they followed news about gas prices most closely. One-in-ten […]

May. 22, 2012

Presidential Campaign Tops Public’s News Interest

Americans focused most closely last week on news about the presidential election, as the race increasingly shifted from the Republican primary contest to the head-to-head fight between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. Nearly three-in-ten (28%) say the campaign was their top story, while 16% say they most closely followed news about the economy, according […]

May. 15, 2012

Obama Support for Gay Marriage Public’s Top Story

President Obama’s expression of support for same-sex marriage proved to be the public’s top news story last week. About a quarter of Americans (26%) say they followed news about Obama’s statements on the divisive topic more closely than any other news, according to the latest weekly News Interest Index survey, conducted May 10-13 among […]

May. 9, 2012

Public Attention Focused on U.S. Economy

Americans followed news about the nation’s economy more closely than any other news last week amid new signs the pace of the recovery has slowed. A quarter of the public (25%) says their top story was reports about the condition of the U.S. economy, while 18% say they followed news about the 2012 presidential […]

May. 1, 2012

Public’s Top Stories: Martin Case, Election, Economy

Developments in the Trayvon Martin murder case and news about the candidates for president topped the public’s news interest last week, with about as many saying they followed news about the economy most closely. Roughly two-in-ten (22%) say their top story was developments in the legal case against George Zimmerman, the community watch volunteer […]

Apr. 24, 2012

News about Trayvon Martin Case Still Top Story

With a Florida judge clearing the way for George Zimmerman to get out of jail on bail, developments in the case against the man charged in the killing of Trayvon Martin topped Americans’ news interest last week. About a quarter of the public (26%) says they followed developments in the case more closely than […]