January 2, 2007

At the Top of the Public’s Mind in 2006: Gas Prices

69%

That’s the number of Americans who said in May that they were following the news about high gas prices very closely–making prices at the pump the most closely tracked of any other story, including Iraq, during 2006.

A perennial concern of the American public — high gasoline prices — topped the list of stories claiming the most interest in 2006; while gas prices drew close attention throughout much of the year, interest peaked in May, at the start of the summer driving season when nearly seven-in-ten Americans (69%) said they were paying very close attention to the story. Some other 2006 trends in public opinion also carried over from previous years — notably growing concern about the Iraq war and mounting dissatisfaction with the performance of the Republican-controlled Congress. In the case of another continuing story, the succession of scandalous revelations involving lobbyists, members of Congress and other high-profile figures, intense media coverage failed to ignite immediate public outrage, but the cumulative effect was nonetheless apparent on election day. For the full story Pew Research Center’s yearly roundup of the top stories, “What Was — and Wasn’t on the Public’s Mind…And How Opinions Changed During 2006.” Read More