From news about the economy to controversy over Hillary Clinton’s emails and the trial of the Boston marathon bomber, no single story dominated the public’s news interest last week.
Two stories drew far more interest from Republicans than Democrats: 34% of Republicans followed reports about Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email address as secretary of state very closely, compared with just 16% of Democrats. Similarly, about twice as many Republicans (34%) as Democrats (18%) closely followed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress last Tuesday.
There are smaller partisan differences in interest in the week’s other stories. For instance, comparable percentages of Democrats (26%) and Republicans (22%) paid very close attention to arguments at the Supreme Court over the Affordable Care Act; 30% of Democrats and 24% of Republicans very closely followed news about the Department of Justice report on race and policing in Ferguson, Mo.
The new national survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted March 5-8 among 1,000 adults, finds wide racial and ideological differences in interest in the Ferguson report. Roughly four-in-ten blacks (42%) followed news about the report very closely, compared with 18% of whites and 13% of Hispanics. Nearly half of liberal Democrats (46%) paid very close attention to the Ferguson report, making it the top story of the week for liberal Democrats.
By contrast, 29% of conservative Republicans followed the Justice Department report on Ferguson very closely. The top stories of the week for conservative Republicans are news about Clinton’s emails (44% following very closely) and Netanyahu’s speech to Congress (43%).
As is typically the case, there are substantial age differences in news interest, with adults 50 and older paying more attention than those under 30 to the week’s stories. But young people expressed especially low interest in stories about Netanyahu and Clinton’s emails: Just 3% followed news about Netanyahu’s address to C0ngress very closely, while just 4% said the same regarding news about Clinton’s emails as secretary of state. Among those 50 and older, 29% followed news on Netanyahu’s speech very closely and 22% tracked Clinton’s emails very closely.