News Interest Index: Public Focuses on Health Care and Olympics

  • March 03, 2010

Americans say the two news stories they followed most closely last week were the reinvigorated debate over health care reform in Washington and the second week of the Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
In interviews shortly after the Feb. 25 bipartisan summit on health care legislation, a quarter of the public (25%) says they followed the health care debate more closely than any other story last week. A comparable number (24%) say they followed the Winter Olympics most closely, according to the latest News Interest Index survey, conducted Feb. 26-March 1 among 1,008 adults by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.

About a third (34%) now say they think health care legislation will pass this year, up from 27% one week earlier. Still, that is far below the 57% recorded Jan. 15-18, just before the special election in Massachusetts for what had been Ted Kennedy's seat in the U.S. Senate. Immediately after Republican Scott Brown won the Jan. 19 vote, the percentage saying they thought a health care bill would pass this year plummeted to about a quarter (27% Jan. 22-25).

Read the full report Public Focuses on Health Care and Olympics on the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press' Web site.