News Interest Index: Gulf Coast Oil Spill Grabs Public Attention

  • May 05, 2010

As a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico spread toward the Louisiana coastline last week, the public focused on the unfolding story of a potential environmental disaster.
The spill dominated the public's consciousness. It was the story people were most likely to say they talked about with friends. The percentage following it very closely doubled from one week earlier and a large majority of Americans know where the crisis is unfolding.

About four-in-ten (41%) say this was the story they followed most closely last week, much greater than the 21% that say they most closely followed news about Arizona's controversial new law targeting illegal immigrants. When asked what story they were talking about with friends, 26% mention the Gulf Coast oil spill, while 12% offer the debate over the new Arizona immigration law, according to the latest News Interest Index survey conducted April 30-May 3 among 1,011 adults by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.

Read the full report Gulf Coast Oil Spill Grabs Public Attention on the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press' Web site.