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.

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 […]

Apr. 17, 2012

Murder Charge in Trayvon Martin’s Death Top Story

The Trayvon Martin killing continued to top the public’s news interest last week as prosecutors in Florida filed a second-degree murder charge against George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer who shot the African American 17-year-old. About a third of the public (32%) says they followed news about the charges against Zimmerman more closely than […]

Apr. 10, 2012

Majority of Americans See Economic News as Mixed

Most Americans continue to say they are hearing a mix of good and bad news about the nation’s economy, though the percentage hearing mostly bad news has ticked up since last month. Nearly six-in-ten (57%) say they are hearing mixed news about the economy, 30% say they are hearing mostly bad economic news and […]

Apr. 3, 2012

Wide Racial, Partisan Gaps in Reactions to Trayvon Martin Coverage

The Trayvon Martin shooting is the public’s top story for the second consecutive week. But interest in the teenager’s death is deeply divided along partisan, as well as racial, lines. These differences also are apparent in reactions to news coverage of the incident: Far more Republicans (56%) than Democrats (25%) say there has been […]

Mar. 27, 2012

Trayvon Martin Killing Is Public’s Top News Story

The growing controversy over the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Florida was the public’s top story last week, though African Americans express far greater interest in news about the killing than do whites. Overall, a quarter of Americans (25%) say they followed news about the African American teenager killed by a community […]

Mar. 21, 2012

Rising Fuel Prices Top Story for Public

Rising fuel prices topped the public’s news interest last week as the average cost of gasoline neared $4.00 a gallon. About a quarter (26%) say they followed news about rising gas and oil prices more closely than any other story, according to the latest weekly News Interest Index survey, conducted March 15-18 among 1,009 […]

Mar. 15, 2012

Campaign Interest Comparable to Most Previous Elections, Well Below 2008

The presidential campaign again proved to be the top story for the public and the media last week. Overall public interest is comparable to most previous primary election cycles, but well below the high mark set four years ago. Last week, which included Super Tuesday contests in 10 states, 28% say they followed election […]

Mar. 6, 2012

Election Again Top Story for Public and Media

Election news continued to be the public’s top story last week, just ahead of the March 6 Super Tuesday voting. Just more than two-in-ten (22%) say they followed news about the candidates for president more closely than any other news. Somewhat fewer (17%) cite the tornadoes that hit parts of the Midwest, according to […]

Feb. 28, 2012

Elections, Economy Top Public’s News Interest

Americans continued to focus most closely on two interrelated news stories last week: the 2012 elections and the condition of the U.S. economy. About a quarter of the public (24%) says news about candidates for the 2012 presidential elections was their top story. About as many (20%) say they followed news about the economy […]

Feb. 22, 2012

Public’s Top Stories: Whitney Houston, Election, Economy

The death of singer Whitney Houston, the presidential campaign and the state of the economy topped the public’s news interest last week. About two-in-ten (19%) say Houston’s sudden death at 48 was their top story of the week; 18% say they followed news about candidates for the presidential election most closely, while 15% say […]

Feb. 14, 2012

Despite Santorum Rise, Romney Still Most Visible

Rick Santorum’s recent electoral wins may have propelled him to the top of the Republican field, but by a better than two-to-one margin, Mitt Romney remains the candidate Americans say they are hearing about most in the news. Half (50%) say they have heard the most about Romney recently, compared with 19% who say […]

Feb. 7, 2012

Election News Tops Public Interest and Coverage

With a critical Republican primary in Florida, the 2012 presidential campaign was the public’s top story last week, closely followed by news about the economy. About a quarter (23%) say they followed news about the candidates for president most closely. Another 18% say the economy was their top story. Nearly as many (15%) say […]

Jan. 31, 2012

Primary Fight and Obama Speech Top News Interest

In the days before Tuesday’s hard-fought Florida primary and just after the president’s State of the Union address, political stories topped the public’s news interest. About two-in-ten (22%) say they followed news about candidates for the 2012 presidential elections more closely than any other news last week. About as many (18%) say their top […]

Jan. 24, 2012

Cruise Ship Accident, Election Top Public’s Interest

The deadly crash of a cruise ship off of the coast of Italy and the latest developments in the 2012 presidential campaign topped the public’s news interests last week. About a quarter (26%) say they followed news about the cruise ship accident more closely than any other news. A comparable percentage (23%) say they […]

Jan. 18, 2012

Campaign 2012: Too Negative, Too Long, Dull

As the Republican candidates battle for the chance to challenge Barack Obama in November, many Americans are highly critical of the presidential campaign. Half (50%) say the campaign has been too negative. By comparison, four years ago, amidst primary fights in both parties, just 28% said the campaign at that point was too negative. […]

Jan. 11, 2012

Perceptions of Economic News Continue to Improve

The number of Americans hearing mostly bad news about the nation’s economy continues to decline. Three-in-ten (30%) now say they are hearing mostly bad economic news, less than half the number that said this in early August (67%). The percentage saying they are hearing a mix of good and bad news about the economy […]