Report

News Interest Index: Policy Issues Overshadow Personal Stories in Obama's First Weeks

  • February 04, 2009

The public focused much more on President Obama's major policy proposals and decisions than on lighter, more personal stories about the new president and his family in the early days of his administration. Nearly seven-in-ten Americans (69%) say they heard a lot about Obama's push for quick action on his economic stimulus plan. In contrast, just 26% say they heard a lot about Obama's successful bid to keep his Blackberry phone.

A majority (57%) say they heard a lot about Obama's executive order to close the Guantanamo Bay prison camp in Cuba within a year, according to the latest Pew Research Center weekly News Interest Index survey.

Close to half of the public (46%) also heard a lot about Obama's sharp criticism of leading financial services companies that have awarded huge bonuses to their executives, at a time when many of these companies have sought aid from the federal bailout program. And four-in-ten heard a lot about Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner's failure to pay some of his taxes on time. The survey, conducted Jan. 30-Feb. 2, was in the field when news broke that Tom Daschle, Obama's choice to be secretary of health and human services, also had failed to pay certain taxes in recent years. Daschle withdrew from consideration this week.

Read the full report Policy Issues Overshadow Personal Stories in Obama's First Weeks on the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press' Web site.