News Interest Index: Public Focuses More on Economy than Election

  • October 07, 2010

The 2010 congressional elections dominated news coverage last week, but not the public's attention. Americans continued to focus most closely on news about the nation's struggling economy and about four-in-ten (39%) say news reports portray the economy “about the way it really is.”

Smaller, roughly equal percentages say the media make the economy seem worse (28%) or better (27%) than it actually is, according to the latest News Interest Index survey of 1,002 adults conducted Sept. 30-Oct. 3 by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.

Those numbers are little changed since June, but the percentages that say news reports present the economy as better or worse than it actually is have shifted since October 2008. At that point – when the depths of the economic crisis were becoming more clear and the nation was nearing the presidential election – many thought coverage was overly negative; 45% said news reports presented the economy as it was, 40% said news reports made conditions seem worse than they were and just 11% thought news reports painted too rosy a picture.

Read the full report, Public Focuses More on Economy than Election on the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press' Web site.