News Interest Index: More Hearing Good News about Gulf Spill

  • August 10, 2010

In the days following BP's latest—and apparently successful—effort to seal the oil well in the Gulf of Mexico, public perceptions of news about the spill have become somewhat more positive. Only a quarter of Americans (25%) say they are hearing mostly good news about the oil spill, but that is more than double the percentage expressing this view two weeks ago (11%).
The latest weekly News Interest Index survey conducted August 5-8 among 1,002 adults by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, finds that about half of the public (47%) says they are hearing a mix of good and bad news about the oil spill in the Gulf, while 25% say they are hearing mostly bad news. The percentage saying they are hearing mixed news has fallen since late July (from 59%), while the proportion hearing mostly bad news has edged upward (from 18%).

The Gulf coast oil leak continues to be the public's most closely followed story, but interest has declined from last week. About four-in-ten (42%) say they followed the story very closely, down from 57% a week ago.

Nevertheless, the Gulf oil leak was once again the public's top news story: 42% say it is the story they followed most closely this week; news about the economy was a distant second, cited by just 16%.

News coverage about the leak also has dropped off in recent weeks. The leak accounted for 11% of this week's newshole according to a separate analysis by the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ). By comparison, the story dominated news coverage throughout June—constituting 44% of the newshole at its peak, the week ending June 20th.

Read the full report, More Hearing Good News about Gulf Spill on the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press' Web site.