Americans are hearing better news coverage about financial markets, real estate and prices. Also, as the health care debate tops interest, town hall protests register widely, with a majority calling the behavior appropriate.
More than two-thirds of Americans have logged on to the internet looking for financial information. Of these "online economic users" most are looking for good deals and job opportunities. More said that what they learned on the internet made them more anxious than said they were made more confident.
Gender gaps emerge on top stories. Men follow the economy and Manny; women prefer the flu and first face transplant operation.
Though the economy remains the top story, more Americans say they heard a lot about the reports of Chris Brown abusing Rihanna than the dispute between Jon Stewart and Jim Cramer.
Americans overwhelmingly feel better knowing what's going on even if it's bad news, but significantly more now say that reports about the economy have some good sides.
The slowing economy has replaced Iraq as the second most intensely covered story so far in 2008 according to a new study of media content. However, it still trails far behind the presidential campaign.
Last week marked the largest partisan gap in campaign interest since the start of the presidential race in early 2007. Democrats were almost twice as likely as Republicans to say they followed the campaign very closely (52% vs. 28%).
As economic news continues to register at an almost record level with the public, no other issue gets close to the level of attention accorded the price of oil and gas. Fully 72% of Americans say it is the economic or fiscal problem they've heard the most about.
Public views of the U.S. economy, already quite negative, have plummeted since January. Just 17% currently rate the nation's economy as excellent or good, down from 26% last month.
Public interest in economic news reached its highest level in five years. Interest was only somewhat greater during the recession of the early 1990s.