Nearly identical percentages of Republicans (36%) and Democrats (35%) say they very closely followed the debate over the automatic spending cuts and tax increases that will take effect at the beginning of next year unless the president and Congress act.
Just over half of the public (53%) say they followed news about Hurricane Sandy and the storm’s impact very closely last week, outpacing interest in the 2012 presidential election (47% very closely) and news about the U.S. economy (38% very closely).
Just as the presidential race is deadlocked, the candidates are running about even when it comes to the ground game. Voters report being contacted at about the same rates by each campaign. And neither candidate has a clear advantage among early voters.
Heading into Wednesday's first presidential debate, voters expect that Barack Obama will do a better job than Mitt Romney. About half (51%) say Obama will do the better job in the debate, while 29% say Romney will. Most voters plan to watch
About four-in-ten Americans (43%) have followed news about the attacks on U.S. embassies in the Middle East and the killing of an American ambassador very closely. Those following have much more positive opinions about Barack Obama's handling of the situation than Mitt Romney's comments on the crisis.
In the wake of the party conventions, Democrats express increasingly positive views of the presidential campaign.
The public paid far less attention to this year's Republican convention in Tampa. Among those who watched at least a little of the event last week, 20% said Clint Eastwood's speech was the highlight of the event and 17% said the same for Mitt Romney's speech.
As the Republican convention gets underway, more Americans express interest in learning about what's in the GOP platform than in speeches by either Mitt Romney or his running mate, Paul Ryan.
In the final two weeks of July, Americans kept a close watch on news about a deadly shooting rampage at a Colorado movie theater, but they also closely tracked news about two long-running stories – the condition of the nation’s economy and the 2012 presidential campaign.
The shooting rampage that killed 12 at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., has become one of the most closely followed news stories in 2012. Polling done earlier this year shows the public remains divided about gun control.