News Interest Index: Public Sees No Improvement in Economic News

  • June 16, 2010

News about the economy has been overshadowed by the Gulf oil leak in recent weeks. And in the public's view, the economic news has not improved. Currently, 65% say they are hearing a mix of good and bad news about the economy, while 30% say they are hearing mostly bad news and just 4% say they are hearing mostly good news.

These opinions are virtually unchanged from May and have changed little for more than a year. When the question was first asked in December 2008, 80% said they were hearing mostly bad news about the economy; that figure dropped to 31% by May 2009. Since then, majorities have consistently said they are hearing a mix of good and bad economic news.

The latest News Interest Index survey, conducted June 10-13 among 1,010 adults by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press finds that public interest in the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico continues to overshadow interest in other stories. Nearly six-in-ten (59%) say they followed news about the oil leak more closely than any other story, far surpassing the proportion citing the economy (8%) or any other story.

The oil leak continues to dominate news coverage as well. About a third of all coverage (34%) was devoted to the oil leak, far more than any other story, according to a separate analysis by the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism.

Election news was the second most covered story last week, with 12% of the newshole dedicated to primaries around the country, but the public was not especially engaged with that story: While 20% say they followed the elections very closely, just 3% say it is the story they followed most closely. More Republicans (30%) followed election news very closely than either independents (21%) or Democrats (12%).

Read the full report, Public Sees No Improvement in Economic News, on the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press' Web site.