report | Jan 20, 2010

Haiti Dominates Public’s Consciousness

Summary of Findings Americans have been highly focused on the massive earthquake that struck Haiti Jan. 12. Not only is the disaster clearly the public’s top news story, fully 70% say it is the story they are talking about with friends. Overall interest in news about the Haiti earthquake is on par with interest in […]

report | Jan 13, 2010

Public Stays with Health Care, Media Focuses on Terror

Summary of Findings The public and the media went their own ways on the news last week. The media kept up heavy coverage of the aftermath of the attempt to blow up a Detroit-bound jet on Christmas Day, while the public focused most closely on the health care debate in Washington. About a quarter (26%) […]

report | Dec 29, 2009

Top Stories of 2009: Economy, Obama and Health Care

Summary of Findings The troubled economy and efforts to revamp the nation’s health care system dominated the public’s news interest in 2009. From the year’s start, Americans kept a close watch on the unfolding economic crisis, as well as Barack Obama’s efforts to grapple with the crisis while trying to make good on campaign promises. […]

report | Dec 22, 2009

More Now Think Health Reform Bill Will Pass

Summary of Findings Americans continued to follow the health care debate more closely than any other news story last week, and the public sees the odds of a reform bill ultimately being passed increasing. In the latest weekly News Interest Index survey, conducted Dec. 18-21 among 1,018 adults nationwide, 61% say they think a health […]

report | Dec 16, 2009

Public Closely Tracking Health Care Debate

Summary of Findings Americans followed the health care debate more closely than any other news story last week as Senate Democrats struggled to find a compromise that would allow them to move legislation through their chamber despite strong Republican opposition. About three-in-ten (31%) say the health care debate was the story they followed most closely, […]

report | Dec 10, 2009

News Interest In Afghanistan Surges

Summary of Findings The public took a renewed interest in the war in Afghanistan last week as President Obama unveiled plans to send more troops there while vowing to start bringing them home in 2011. Still, as many people say they talked with friends about Tiger Woods’ troubles as Afghanistan. More than four-in-ten (43%) say […]

report | Nov 25, 2009

Strong Interest in Health Care, Little Interest in Palin

Summary of Findings The debate over health care reform dominated the public’s news interests last week, even as other stories – including the furor over new mammogram guidelines and Sarah Palin’s book tour – vied for the news media’s attention. Fully 41% cite the health care debate as their most closely followed story of the […]

report | Nov 19, 2009

Health Care Reform News Tops Public Interest

Summary of Findings The debate over health care reform was the news story followed most closely by the American public last week, though the media devoted more coverage to the investigation into the shooting rampage at the Fort Hood Army base. About a quarter (27%) of the public say they followed news about health care […]

report | Nov 11, 2009

Fort Hood Shootings Top Interest, Coverage

Summary of Findings The November 5 shootings at the Fort Hood Army post in Texas – which resulted in the death of 13 Americans – was the public’s top news story last week. News coverage of the tragedy was also high, with the national media devoting more attention to the story than to any other. […]

report | Nov 5, 2009

Swine Flu Interest Outpaces Coverage

Summary of Findings For the second week in a row, Americans followed news about the swine flu and its vaccine more closely than any other news story – with public interest outpacing the amount of national media coverage devoted to the story. About three-in-ten (29%) name reports about the fast-spreading flu and its vaccine as […]

report | Oct 29, 2009

Fox News Viewed as Most Ideological Network

Summary of Findings The Fox News Channel is viewed by Americans in more ideological terms than other television news networks. And while the public is evenly divided in its view of hosts of cable news programs having strong political opinions, more Fox News viewers see this as a good thing than as a bad thing. […]

report | Oct 22, 2009

Most Say They Lack Background to Follow Afghan News

Summary of Findings In a week that saw passage of health care legislation by the Senate Finance Committee, news about health care reform remained front-and-center on the public’s news agenda, topping both public interest and news coverage. There also has been a sharp increase in the proportion of Americans saying they expect a health care […]

report | Oct 15, 2009

Growing Interest in Swine Flu, Many See Press Overstating its Danger

Summary of Findings As the first vials of swine flu vaccine make their way into American communities, public interest in news about the disease is increasing. Nearly as many people now cite swine flu as their top news story of the week as mention the health care debate – the first time in several months […]

report | Oct 8, 2009

Americans Following Health Care, Economic News

Summary of Findings The public continued to closely track news about health care reform last week, while the media divided its attention across a range of foreign and domestic stories. A third (33%) of the public says they followed the debate over health care reform more closely than other top stories last week, while 22% […]

report | Sep 30, 2009

Media Less Influential in Views on Health Care, Economy Than on Other Issues

Summary of Findings The first week of fall brought little change to the public’s news agenda with the debate over health care reform continuing to top public interest. However, the news media play much less of a role in shaping views of health care reform and the economy – where personal experiences are an important […]

report | Sep 23, 2009

No Increase in “Too Much” Obama Despite Media Blitz

Summary of Findings The number of Americans who say they are hearing too much about President Obama has not increased since mid-summer, despite the president’s high media visibility. Still, 37% say they are hearing too much about Obama. Since Labor Day, Obama has addressed a joint session of Congress about health care legislation, spoken to […]

report | Sep 16, 2009

Health Care Debate Seen as “Rude and Disrespectful”

Summary of Findings With public and media attention focused on President Obama’s Sept. 9 health care address to a joint session of Congress, Americans overwhelmingly cited the health care debate as their top story of the week. And when asked to evaluate the tone of the health care debate, a majority says it has been […]

report | Sep 8, 2009

Health Care Proposals Remain Hard to Follow

Summary of Findings Interest in the health care reform debate has remained extremely high throughout the summer and more than nine-in-ten Americans say the issue is important to them. Still, despite the public focus on health care news, two thirds continue to say the issue is hard to understand. With Congress returning from its August […]

report | Sep 3, 2009

Public Aware of Key Swine Flu Facts

Summary of Findings In a busy late summer news stretch, Americans continued to track news about the health care debate more closely than other major stories last week. The economy, the death of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy and the strange case of a California woman rescued from long-time captors also vied for the public’s attention. […]

report | Aug 26, 2009

Health Care Still the Summer’s Dominant Story

Summary of Findings Despite the emergence of several major international stories – including an election in war-ravaged Afghanistan and the release of the so-called Lockerbie bomber – the public continued to be focused on domestic news, particularly the ongoing debate over health care reform. Fully 45% say they followed health care developments more closely than […]

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