Public’s Top Stories of the Decade — 9/11 and Katrina
The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 drew more public interest than any other story in the past decade. The 2005 hurricanes in the Gulf, high gasoline prices and the collapse of the economy in 2008 also grabbed overwhelming public attention.
Top Stories of 2010: Haiti Earthquake, Gulf Oil Spill
Two major disasters captured the public’s attention more than any other major stories in 2010, but Americans also kept a consistent eye on the nation’s struggling economy.
Public Closely Tracks Tax Deal News
The debate over taxes and the economy grabbed the public’s attention more than most Washington policy discussions. Republicans are more likely than Democrats or independents to say they followed news closely.
Public Sees WikiLeaks as Harmful
Most Americans following news about the WikiLeaks’s release of classified documents about U.S. diplomatic relations see the revelations doing more harm than good.
Economy, Elections and Pat Downs
While the economy and election continued to draw the most news interest, a third of the public followed the debate over airport screening procedures. Also, most have heard about the FDA’s warnings about alcoholic energy drinks.
Election Fallout Tops News Interest
A stranded cruise ship vied for attention while most say they heard at least a little about the graphic warning labels for cigarette packages proposed by the FDA and a mysterious trail in the sky off the coast of Southern California.
Election Results Draw Big Interest
Among those who followed election results the night of the vote, fully 91% did so on television while 28% tracked the returns on the internet.
No Late Surge in Campaign Interest
The public’s interest in election news did not increase in the final days of the campaign, despite heavy news coverage. While most heard at least a little about the California proposition to legalize marijuana, a majority heard nothing about the Stewart-Colbert rally.
Public Still More Interested in Economy than Elections
The public gives mixed ratings to the media for the job they have done covering the midterms. Also, nearly half say the GOP will gain control of the House.
Chilean Miners Captivate Public News Interest
While the public appears increasingly attentive to election news, far more followed news about the dramatic rescue in Chile.