News Interest Index: Most Say They Lack Background to Follow Afghan News

  • October 22, 2009

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 reform bill to pass over the next year – 57% say that currently, up from 45% last week, prior to the Senate Finance Committee's action.

The latest weekly News Interest Index survey, conducted October 16-19 among 1,004 adults by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, finds that public interest in the war in Afghanistan continues to be fairly modest. Only about one-in-ten (9%) cite the war as their top story for the week, which  is less than the percentage (14%) that mentioned the story of a boy thought to be aboard a runaway balloon who was later found safe, and the proportion citing swine flu news (20%). The health care debate was the top story – at 32% – as has been the case in most recent weeks.

The public expresses a range of feelings about the news about the war in Afghanistan: a majority (56%) often feels that “it seems like the same news about the war in Afghanistan all the time, nothing ever really changes”; 42% say they do not often feel this way.

Read the full report Most Say They Lack Background to Follow Afghan News on the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press' Web site.