11/09/2007 - News about the Iraq war does not dominate the public's consciousness nearly as much as it did last winter. Currently, just 16% of Americans name the Iraq war as the news story that first comes to mind when asked what has been in the news lately. In December and January, a period when U.S. policy toward Iraq and President Bush's troop surge drew extensive news coverage, far greater numbers named the Iraq war as the first story that came to mind.
More generally, public interest in news about the situation in Iraq is now less than it was earlier this year or in 2006. Since June, about 30% of the public, on average, said they have followed news about the situation in Iraq very closely. In 2006 and the first two months of this year, about 40% on average paid very close attention to Iraq news.
Nonetheless, Iraq remains a major news story in the public's view. For 29 of the past 41 weeks, it has been the leading story in the weekly News Interest Index. Moreover, Iraq is consistently rated as the most important problem facing the nation. In an early October survey by the Gallup Organization, 33% cited the situation in Iraq as the most important problem facing the nation, far more than named any other issue. That number is down somewhat from last winter, although consistent with measures from the spring and summer.
Read the full report Iraq News: Less Dominant, Still Important on the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press Web site.