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.

Oct. 31, 2008

Internet Now Major Source of Campaign News

Summary of Findings Many more Americans are turning to the internet for campaign news this year as the web becomes a key source of election news. Television remains the dominant source, but the percent who say they get most of their campaign news from the internet has tripled since October 2004 (from 10% then to […]

Oct. 29, 2008

Palin Fatigue Now Rivals Obama Fatigue

Summary of Findings Many Americans say they are hearing too much about Barack Obama in these final days of the 2008 presidential election – just as they did last summer – but a similar percentage now says the same about Sarah Palin. However, the public’s complaints notwithstanding, a relatively small amount of media coverage was […]

Oct. 22, 2008

Most Voters Say News Media Wants Obama to Win

Summary of Findings Voters overwhelmingly believe that the media wants Barack Obama to win the presidential election. By a margin of 70%-9%, Americans say most journalists want to see Obama, not John McCain, win on Nov. 4. Another 8% say journalists don’t favor either candidate, and 13% say they don’t know which candidate most reporters […]

Oct. 16, 2008

Campaign Seen As Increasingly Negative

Summary of Findings With less than three weeks to go before the election, there is a growing sense among the public that the tone of the presidential campaign has changed. A majority of Americans (55%) now say that the campaign is too negative. This is up significantly from 43% a month ago and represents a […]

Oct. 9, 2008

Many Say Press Has Been Too Tough on Palin

Summary of Findings Strong majorities of the public say the press has been fair to John McCain, Barack Obama and Joe Biden. But fewer than four-in-ten (38%) say the press has been fair to Sarah Palin. Many more believe the press has been too tough on Palin (38%) than say it has been too easy […]

Oct. 1, 2008

Interest in Economic News Surges

Summary of Findings Interest in news about the U.S. economy skyrocketed last week, with 70% of Americans following economic developments very closely, up from 56% the previous week. Interest in economic news is broadly bipartisan with equal proportions of Republicans, Democrats and independents following news about current economic conditions very closely. The public also paid […]

Sep. 25, 2008

McCain’s Image Faltered in Week of Wall Street Woes

Summary of Findings Views of John McCain turned somewhat more negative last week, amid record public interest in economic news. In a survey conducted Sept. 19-22, fully half of the public said their opinion of the GOP nominee had changed in the past few days, with 30% saying their opinion has become less favorable and […]

Sep. 18, 2008

Views of Palin Fluid as Spotlight Remains on GOP Ticket

Summary of Findings Sarah Palin continued to be a dominant factor in presidential campaign coverage last week, but her impact on the race remains unclear and her public image is very much in flux. Palin clearly has boosted John McCain’s visibility. From mid-June through the last week of August, Barack Obama consistently led McCain as […]

Sep. 10, 2008

McCain’s Image Improves – With Big Assist From Palin

Summary of Findings The American public paid a lot of attention to the presidential campaign last week as the Republican Party took center stage. More than half watched at least some television coverage of the Republican convention in St. Paul, and the speech by GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin stands out as the highlight […]

Sep. 3, 2008

After Busy Week, Views of Both Candidates Improve

Summary of Findings Interest in the presidential election surged last week, with the public following campaign news more closely than at any point since the Super Tuesday primaries in February. As attention to the campaign has increased, the images of both Barack Obama and John McCain have improved in recent days. In a survey conducted […]

Aug. 27, 2008

Obama’s Background Better Known Than His Issue Positions

Summary of Findings As Barack Obama prepares to accept the Democratic Party’s nomination for president and frame his campaign message for the fall, many Americans still do not have a clear understanding of where he stands on the issues. Public awareness of Obama’s policy positions has increased modestly over the past month. Still, fewer than […]

Aug. 21, 2008

Strong Advance Interest in Democratic Convention

Summary of Findings The upcoming Democratic National Convention is generating much more public interest than did the party’s convention four years ago. Fully 59% of Americans say they are interested in following what happens at the Democratic convention, up from 36% in 2004. Nearly a third (31%) say they are very interested, while 28% say […]

Aug. 14, 2008

China Olympics Attract Considerable Public Attention

Summary of Findings The China Olympics are catching on with the American public and attracting a sizeable news audience. A majority of Americans say they are watching at least some of the Olympic coverage. Public interest in the Beijing games is comparable to that of the 2000 summer Olympics in Sydney; yet substantially lower than […]

Aug. 6, 2008

Obama Fatigue – 48% Hearing Too Much About Him

Summary of Findings As he has since January, this week, Barack Obama enjoyed much more visibility as far as the public was concerned than did John McCain. By a margin of 76% to 11% respondents in Pew’s weekly News Interest Index survey named Obama over McCain as the candidate they have heard the most about […]

Jul. 31, 2008

Obama’s Trip a Top Campaign Event for Public

Summary of Findings Barack Obama’s weeklong tour of the Middle East and Europe dominated campaign coverage last week, and 90% of the public heard at least something about his travels. Obama’s trip became one of the biggest campaign events thus far, with 62% saying they heard a lot about it. The only campaign development more […]

Jul. 24, 2008

Democrats Highly Critical of New Yorker Cover, Republicans Say It Was Okay

Summary of Findings As Barack Obama prepared for a major international trip last week, a controversial magazine cover here at home drew more public attention. Fully four-in-ten Americans heard a lot about a satirical cartoon on the cover of the New Yorker magazine showing Obama and his wife in the Oval Office — the candidate […]

Jul. 16, 2008

Candidates’ Policy Positions Still Not Widely Known

Summary of Findings While Barack Obama has been the dominant figure in the presidential campaign, both in press coverage and public visibility, most Americans say they do not know very much about his policy positions. Only 40% say they know a lot or a fair amount about his positions on foreign policy; 59% say they […]

Jul. 9, 2008

Interest In Gas Prices Remains High

Summary of Findings The public’s top story last week was the rising price of gasoline. Fully 62% of Americans followed news about gas prices very closely, and four-in-ten said it was the story they followed more closely than any other. Gas prices overshadowed the presidential campaign as the public’s most closely followed story by a […]

Jul. 2, 2008

For Public, Oil Prices and Economic News Overshadow Campaign

Summary of Findings News organizations continued to focus a great deal of attention on the presidential campaign last week, but the public was more interested in news about the rising price of oil and the overall economy. As the price of oil reached a new record, a solid majority (57%) followed news about rising oil […]

Jun. 25, 2008

Interest in Floods Increases, Still Lower than for ’93 Deluge

Summary of Findings As the floods in the Midwest continued to devastate parts of that region, public interest in the story increased moderately last week, but still remained significantly lower than interest in the massive floods that struck the region in 1993. Roughly four-in-ten (39%) followed the floods in the Midwest very closely, up from […]