PublicationsSeptember 30, 2009

Media Less Influential in Views on Health Care, Economy Than on Other Issues

Summary of Findings The first week of fall brought little change to the public’s news agenda with the debate over health care reform continuing to top public interest. However, the news media play much less of a role in shaping views of health care reform and the economy – where personal experiences are an important […]

PublicationsSeptember 23, 2009

No Increase in “Too Much” Obama Despite Media Blitz

Summary of Findings The number of Americans who say they are hearing too much about President Obama has not increased since mid-summer, despite the president’s high media visibility. Still, 37% say they are hearing too much about Obama. Since Labor Day, Obama has addressed a joint session of Congress about health care legislation, spoken to […]

PublicationsSeptember 16, 2009

Health Care Debate Seen as “Rude and Disrespectful”

Summary of Findings With public and media attention focused on President Obama’s Sept. 9 health care address to a joint session of Congress, Americans overwhelmingly cited the health care debate as their top story of the week. And when asked to evaluate the tone of the health care debate, a majority says it has been […]

PublicationsSeptember 8, 2009

Health Care Proposals Remain Hard to Follow

Summary of Findings Interest in the health care reform debate has remained extremely high throughout the summer and more than nine-in-ten Americans say the issue is important to them. Still, despite the public focus on health care news, two thirds continue to say the issue is hard to understand. With Congress returning from its August […]

PublicationsSeptember 3, 2009

Public Aware of Key Swine Flu Facts

Summary of Findings In a busy late summer news stretch, Americans continued to track news about the health care debate more closely than other major stories last week. The economy, the death of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy and the strange case of a California woman rescued from long-time captors also vied for the public’s attention. […]

PublicationsAugust 26, 2009

Health Care Still the Summer’s Dominant Story

Summary of Findings Despite the emergence of several major international stories – including an election in war-ravaged Afghanistan and the release of the so-called Lockerbie bomber – the public continued to be focused on domestic news, particularly the ongoing debate over health care reform. Fully 45% say they followed health care developments more closely than […]

PublicationsAugust 20, 2009

Health Care Reform Closely Followed, Much Discussed

Summary of Findings Public interest in health care reform shows no signs of slackening, with news about the debate continuing to top the public’s news agenda. Fully 46% name health care as the story they followed more closely than any other last week – double the percentage who named the week’s second most closely followed […]

PublicationsAugust 12, 2009

News About Economy Seen as Less Dire, More Hopeful

Summary of Findings News about the economy and the debate over health care reform continue to dominate public attention. A growing proportion of Americans say they are hearing mostly good news about the economy, while the percentage saying the news is mostly bad has fallen since July. On health care, protests at contentious town hall […]

PublicationsAugust 6, 2009

Many Fault Media Coverage of Health Care Debate

Summary of Findings As the fight in Washington over health care reform continues to dominate public attention and media coverage, most Americans are critical of the way news organizations are explaining key elements of the debate. News about proposed health care legislation was the most closely followed story of last week, just as it had […]

PublicationsJuly 30, 2009

Health Care Front-And-Center on Public’s News Agenda

Summary of Findings The public sharpened its focus on health care reform last week, following news about the debate in Washington more closely than any other story. Interest in health care reform has steadily increased in recent weeks as coverage – including a prime-time presidential news conference – has intensified. Nearly a third (31%) name […]

PublicationsJuly 22, 2009

Health Care: Important, Interesting, But Hard to Follow

Summary of Findings The debate over revamping the nation’s health care system is drawing increased public attention. A third (33%) say they are following the health care debate very closely, up from 24% the previous week. And while news coverage of health care also increased over the past week, a sizable minority of Americans (45%) […]

PublicationsJuly 15, 2009

Americans Remained Focused on Michael Jackson

Summary of Findings The death of pop star Michael Jackson continued to grab public attention last week, with Americans saying it was the story they followed most closely for the third straight week. Moreover, Jackson’s death was by far the week’s most talked about news story. About three-in-ten (29%) say they followed Jackson’s memorial service […]

PublicationsJuly 8, 2009

Public Hearing More Negative News About Economy

Summary of Findings From January through May, a growing proportion of Americans said they were hearing a mix of good and bad news about the economy. More recently, however, there has been a steady increase in the share saying that the economic news is mostly bad. Currently, 41% say they are hearing mostly bad news […]

PublicationsJuly 1, 2009

Coverage of Jackson’s Death Seen As Excessive

Summary of Findings The public closely tracked the sudden death of pop superstar Michael Jackson last week, though nearly two-in-three Americans say news organizations gave too much coverage to the story. At the same time, half say the media struck the right balance between reporting on Jackson’s musical legacy and the problems in his personal […]

PublicationsJune 24, 2009

Strong Public Interest in Iranian Election Protests

Summary of Findings The dramatic events in Iran last week captured the attention of both the public and the media as Americans tracked news about post-election protests in Tehran nearly as closely as they followed news about the troubled U.S. economy. Two-in-ten say they followed news about the street protests over disputed election results – […]

PublicationsJune 17, 2009

Employment News Seen As Overwhelmingly Bad

Summary of Findings Americans by a wide margin say they are hearing mostly negative news about the nation’s job situation, though they are more likely to sense a mix of good and bad news about other elements of the economy. With the jobless rate climbing, seven-in-ten (71%) say they are hearing mostly bad news about […]

PublicationsJune 11, 2009

Week’s Major News Stories Draw Different Audiences

Summary of Findings Americans divided their attention among several major stories last week as President Obama reached out to the Muslim world in a major speech, a jetliner crashed into the Atlantic Ocean and General Motors filed for bankruptcy protection. At the same time, they continued to keep a close watch on news about the […]

PublicationsJune 4, 2009

First Impressions of Sotomayor Mostly Positive

Summary of Findings Americans who have learned at least a little about Judge Sonia Sotomayor are more likely to offer traits or aspects they like about President Obama’s first Supreme Court nominee than things they do not like about the federal appellate court judge from New York. Asked if there was anything they have learned […]

PublicationsMay 28, 2009

Public Tracks Economy, Media Focuses on Terror Debate

Summary of Findings Americans continued to closely track news about the struggling economy and the spread of the swine flu last week, though the media devoted the largest share of coverage to the sharp debate in Washington over how best to protect the nation from terrorism. About a quarter of the public (24%) says they […]

PublicationsMay 20, 2009

Public Stays Focused on the Economy

Summary of Findings Americans followed reports about the U.S. economy more closely than other major stories last week as President Obama pushed for new restrictions on the credit card industry and automakers announced plans to cut ties with some 1,900 dealerships nationwide. More than four-in-ten (44%) say they followed economic news very closely, according to […]