News Interest Index: Public Closely Tracking Health Care Debate

  • December 16, 2009

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, while 19% say they followed reports about the U.S. economy more closely than any other story. More than four-in-ten (42% each) say they followed news about these topics very closely,  according to the Pew Research Center's latest weekly News Interest Index, conducted Dec. 11-14 among 1,024 adults.
The percentage of the public that thinks that Congress will pass health care legislation within the next year stands at 56%, effectively matching the 57% recorded in mid-October just after the Senate Finance Committee approved its version of the measure. The current level is not up significantly from 52% the previous week, but the number has been trending higher since early November, when it was 47%. Close to four-in-ten (38%) say they do not think health care legislation will pass, a level not much changed in recent weeks. As they have in recent weeks, a greater percentage of Democrats (64%) than Republicans (48%) or independents (55%) says they expect legislation to pass.

Read the full report Public Closely Tracking Health Care Debate on the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press' Web site.