Nov. 17, 2010

Midterm Elections Still Top Public Interest

Summary of Findings The public continued to focus most closely on the outcome of the midterm elections last week as news coverage highlighted their impact on the balance of power and the agenda in Washington. A quarter of the public (25%) says they followed news about the election outcome more closely than any other major […]

Nov. 10, 2010

Election Results Draw Big Interest, Heavy Coverage

Summary of Findings The results of the midterm elections dominated both the public’s interest and media attention last week as Republicans easily won control of the House while making big gains in the Senate and in many statehouses. Fully 43% say they followed news about the election outcome more closely than any other news, according […]

Nov. 3, 2010

News Coverage Surpasses Interest at Campaign’s End

Summary of Findings Both the public and the media focused most closely last week on the congressional elections as Tuesday’s midterm vote approached. Still, the public’s interest in election news did not increase in the final days of the campaign, despite heavy news coverage. The latest News Interest Index survey, conducted among 1,003 adults from […]

Oct. 27, 2010

Public Keeps Focus on Economy, Media on Elections

Summary of Findings While the media provided heavy coverage of the congressional elections last week, the public continued to track news about the nation’s struggling economy more closely than news about the midterm vote. About four-in-ten (41%) say they followed news about the economy very closely last week, while 30% say they followed news about […]

Oct. 20, 2010

Miners’ Rescue Dominates News Interest

Summary of Findings The dramatic rescue of 33 Chilean miners trapped underground for more than two months dominated the public’s news interest last week, while the media focused on both the miners’ saga and the midterm Congressional elections. With the Nov. 2 elections fast approaching, the percent of the public tracking election news very closely […]

Oct. 14, 2010

Fewer Journalists Stand Out in Fragmented News Universe

Summary of Findings Reflecting today’s fragmented news landscape, about half of the public offers no specific answer when asked to name the journalist or newsperson they most admire. No journalist is named by more than 5% of the public in response to an open-ended question. While individual mentions are few, the most frequently named journalists […]

Oct. 7, 2010

Public Focuses More on Economy than Election

Summary of Findings The 2010 congressional elections dominated news coverage last week, but not the public’s attention. Americans continued to focus most closely on news about the nation’s struggling economy and about four-in-ten (39%) say news reports portray the economy “about the way it really is.” Smaller, roughly equal percentages say the media make the […]

Sep. 29, 2010

Elections Dominate Coverage, Not Public Interest

Summary of Findings While the 2010 midterm congressional elections dominated media coverage last week, the public focused more on news about the nation’s struggling economy. Nearly a quarter (23%) of the public says they followed news about the economy more closely than any other major story. Just 6% say they followed news about this year’s […]

Sep. 22, 2010

2010 Vote Seen as More Important Than Most

Summary of Findings About two-thirds of the public sees coverage of this year’s elections as focused primarily on strategy and conflict rather than candidate positions, while a comparable percentage says the 2010 congressional elections are more important than most. Nearly six-in-ten (58%) say news coverage of politics makes them angry. Still, few (36%) say election […]

Sep. 15, 2010

Koran Burning Plans Grab Media, Public Attention

Summary of Findings As the nation marked the ninth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks last week, many in the public and the media focused more on current tensions over Islam in America – most notably plans by a Florida pastor to burn copies of the Koran. Nearly two-in-ten (17%) say they followed the […]

Sep. 12, 2010

Americans Spending More Time Following the News

There are many more ways to get the news these days, and as a consequence Americans are spending more time with the news than over much of the past decade. Digital platforms are playing a larger role in news consumption, and they seem to be more than making up for modest declines in the […]

Sep. 9, 2010

Perceptions of Economic News Remain Mixed

Summary of Findings The public’s perceptions of economic news remain mixed, but continue to be much more negative than they were earlier this year. About half of the public (54%) says they are hearing a mix of good and bad news about the economy these days, while 41% say they are hearing mostly bad news. […]

Sep. 1, 2010

Mosque Debate, Egg Recall Top Public Interest

Summary of Findings No one story dominated the public’s news interest last week, as several story lines – including the debate over a mosque near Ground Zero in New York and the recall of hundreds of millions of eggs – vied for Americans’ attention. About two-in-ten (19%) say they followed the debate over plans for […]

Aug. 25, 2010

Mosque Debate Tops Coverage, But Not News Interest

Summary of Findings While the media focused on the emotionally-charged debate over plans to build an Islamic mosque and cultural center near the World Trade Center site in New York City last week, the public continued to track the Gulf oil leak. About a third of the public (34%) says they followed news about the […]

Aug. 19, 2010

Many Say Coverage of the Poor and Minorities Is Too Negative

Summary of Findings In evaluating news coverage of different groups, pluralities of Americans say that coverage of poor people and Muslims is too negative, while somewhat smaller percentages say the same about coverage of blacks and Hispanics. Among eight groups tested, whites and middle-class people are the only groups that majorities say are treated fairly […]

Aug. 11, 2010

More Hearing Good News about Gulf Spill

Summary of Findings In the days following BP’s latest—and apparently successful—effort to seal the oil well in the Gulf of Mexico, public perceptions of news about the spill have become somewhat more positive. Only a quarter of Americans (25%) say they are hearing mostly good news about the oil spill, but that is more than […]

Aug. 3, 2010

Mixed Reactions to Leak of Afghanistan Documents

Summary of Findings The disclosure of more than 75,000 classified documents about the war in Afghanistan by the website WikiLeaks garnered significant media coverage last week, and those familiar with the story were split over the effect of the leak: about equal percentages say the release harms the public interest as say it serves the […]

Jul. 28, 2010

Sherrod Case Draws Heavy Coverage, Modest Interest

Summary of Findings The controversy surrounding the firing of U.S. Department of Agriculture official Shirley Sherrod attracted widespread attention from the news media last week and was the dominant story on cable news networks. The public, however, showed modest interest in the Sherrod affair and, as has been the case since early May, the oil […]

Jul. 21, 2010

Oil Leak News Viewed as Mix of Good and Bad

Summary of Findings Amid reports that BP has been able to at least temporarily stem the flow of oil from its ruptured underwater well, the public and the media last week again focused on the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. And, after several months of relentlessly bad news about the spreading spill, the possibility […]

Jul. 14, 2010

Modest Decline in Oil Leak Interest, Sharp Decline in Coverage

Summary of Findings As the public continues to closely track news about the environmental disaster unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico, few Americans say news organization are giving the oil leak too much coverage. The Gulf oil leak once again topped both public interest and media coverage last week, though the percent following the story […]