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.

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 […]

Dec. 19, 2007

Gas Prices, Disasters Top Public’s News Interests In 2007

Summary of Findings Man-made and natural disasters dominated the list of the public’s top news stories in 2007. Nearly half of Americans (45%) tracked news about the shootings of 33 students at Virginia Tech University very closely, while nearly as many paid very close attention to reports on the Minneapolis bridge collapse and the California […]

Dec. 13, 2007

Oprah Boosts Obama’s Visibility

Summary of Findings Oprah Winfrey’s well-publicized appearances with Barack Obama have raised Obama’s visibility, especially among African Americans. Roughly a quarter of Americans (26%) say they have heard more about Obama recently than any other presidential candidate, up from just 10% in November. Meanwhile, though Hillary Clinton remains the most visible candidate overall, the proportion […]

Dec. 5, 2007

Public Still Getting to Know Leading GOP Candidates

Summary of Findings Even as the 2008 presidential campaign draws increasing news coverage, the public shows limited awareness of the personal backgrounds of some of the top GOP candidates. While 86% of the public is able to name Rudy Giuliani as the former mayor of New York City, only about half as many — 42% […]

Nov. 21, 2007

Public’s News Interests: Campaign, War and Returning Troops

Summary of Findings While the national news media focused heavily on the 2008 presidential campaign last week, the public divided its interest between the campaign and the Iraq war. More than one-fifth of the national newshole (21%) was devoted to the presidential campaign, while news about the war — including the situation in Iraq, returning […]

Nov. 15, 2007

Widespread Interest in Rising Oil Prices

Summary of Findings While the press focused heavily on the political turmoil in Pakistan last week, the public was interested in other things. The three news stories the public followed most closely last week, rising oil prices, the Iraq war and the recall of Chinese-made toys, received relatively little press coverage. The public’s top story […]

Nov. 9, 2007

Iraq News: Less Dominant, Still Important

Summary of Findings News about the Iraq war does not dominate the public’s consciousness nearly as much as it did last winter. Currently, just 16% of Americans name the Iraq war as the news story that first comes to mind when asked what has been in the news lately. In December and January, a period […]

Nov. 8, 2007

Heavy Campaign Coverage Draws Large Audience

Summary of Findings The 2008 presidential campaign dominated the national news last week, driven in large part by the lively Democratic debate in Philadelphia. Public interest in the campaign was up somewhat from previous weeks with 27% of Americans paying very close attention to campaign news. More than one-in-five named the campaign as the single […]

Nov. 1, 2007

California Wildfires Draw Large Audience

Summary of Findings The California wildfires overshadowed all other news stories last week both in terms of public interest and news coverage. Four-in-ten Americans followed news about the fires very closely, making it the fourth most closely followed news story of the year. The only stories that have attracted a larger audience this year were […]

Oct. 25, 2007

Public Tunes out Ellen DeGeneres Controversy

Summary of Findings News about the dangers of an antibiotic-resistant staph infection (MRSA) caught the public’s attention last week. More than a quarter of Americans paid very close attention to this story and 18% listed it as the single news story they followed more closely than any other — placing it at the top of […]

Oct. 23, 2007

Modest Interest in 2008 Campaign News

Summary of Findings The 2008 presidential campaign began much earlier than usual, but public interest in the campaign is at most only modestly higher than in previous campaigns. While Democrats are following the campaign more closely than at the same stage in previous primary contests, Republicans are no more engaged than in the past, resulting […]

Oct. 18, 2007

Cleveland High School Shooting Attracts Small Audience

Summary of Findings In the news last week, no single story captured the interest of the American public. The war in Iraq was the most closely followed news story — 26% of the public followed news of the war very closely and 20% listed this as their most closely followed story. The shooting at a […]

Oct. 12, 2007

Too Much Celebrity News, Too Little Good News

Summary of Findings When asked about which issues, if any, get too much attention from the news media, fully 40% of the public cites celebrity news. That is more than three times the number citing any other subject. About one-in-ten Americans (12%) say the news media has devoted too much attention to the Iraq war, […]

Oct. 4, 2007

Ahmadinejad Visit Draws Large Audience

Summary of Findings Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s visit to the U.S. drew a large news audience last week. Aside from the Iraq war it was the most closely followed news story, with 23% of the public following the story very closely, and 14% listing it as the single news story they followed most closely. Ahmadinejad’s […]

Sep. 27, 2007

Modest Interest in O.J. Simpson Arrest

Summary of Findings O.J. Simpson’s recent arrest on robbery and assault charges was the most heavily covered news story last week. Yet public interest in the Simpson case was fairly modest. Overall, just 13% of Americans say they followed reports about Simpson’s arrest very closely, while 17% listed it as the single story they followed […]

Sep. 20, 2007

The Oprah Factor and Campaign 2008

Summary of Findings Hillary Clinton continues to lead Barack Obama by a wide margin in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. But Obama has something Clinton doesn’t have — the support of Oprah Winfrey. Winfrey endorsed Obama in May of this year and recently held a fundraiser for him at her Malibu, Calif. home. […]