News Interest Index: Widespread Interest in Rising Oil Prices

  • November 15, 2007

While the press focused heavily on the political turmoil in Pakistan last week, the public was interested in other things. The three news stories the public followed most closely last week, rising oil prices, the Iraq war and the recall of Chinese-made toys, received relatively little press coverage. The public's top story was the rising price of oil. Fully 44% followed this story very closely and 23% listed it as the single news story they followed more closely than any other. Only 3% of the overall newshole was devoted to this story. While oil and gas prices were featured somewhat more prominently in newspapers and on network television, this was not a top ten story on cable television news, radio news or online news sources.

The rising price of oil ranks among the top news stories of the year in terms of news interest. Only gas prices in May and the Virginia Tech shootings in April drew larger news audiences. Interest in oil prices is fairly consistent across major demographic groups, with a couple of exceptions. Older Americans (those ages 50 and older) are paying closer attention than younger Americans to this story, and men are following it somewhat more closely than women.

Read the full report Widespread Interest in Rising Oil Prices on the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press Web site.