News Interest Index: Public Remains Focused on Health Care Reform

Apr 07, 2010

Americans say they tracked news about the newly enacted health care reform law more closely than other major news stories last week, though the health care debate did not dominate coverage as it had during the final votes in Congress late last month.

Close to half the public (48%) followed news about the new health care law most closely last week, dwarfing the 8% following the other top policy story, the economy, that closely, according to the latest News Interest Index survey conducted by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press among 1,016 adults April 1-5. In terms of coverage, economic news rivaled news about health care. The economy made up 10% of coverage, while health care news made up 9%.

While most Americans say they are hearing a mix of good and bad news about the economy generally, a majority (56%) continues to say they are hearing mostly bad news about the job situation. That is despite the release of a federal employment report on April 2 that showed the creation of 162,000 new jobs last month. The percentage holding this view is comparable to last month (59%), but down 12 points from 68% at the start of November 2009. A third of the public (33%) says they are hearing a mix of good and bad news about the job situation, while 9% say they are hearing mostly good news.

In contrast to news about jobs, two-thirds (66%) say they are hearing a mix of good and bad news about the economy generally, a number little changed in recent months. Close to three-in-ten (28%) say the economic news they have been hearing has been mostly bad, while 6% say it has been mostly good. Those numbers also are little changed.

Read the full report Public Remains Focused on Health Care Reform on the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press' Web site.

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