News Interest Index: Public, Media Track Oil Spill, Diverge On Elections

May 28, 2010

The media devoted comparable levels of coverage  to the spill and news about last week’s primaries and the 2010 midterm elections (each accounted for 18% of the newshole), but the public showed much less interest in the political developments (5% followed this most closely) than the crisis in the gulf (46% most closely).

The latest News Interest Index survey, conducted May 20-23 among 1,002 adults by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, finds that the news topics that come up frequently in conversation have changed markedly in recent years: Far more people say they frequently discuss the job situation, the economy and political corruption with their family and friends than did so in 2006; by contrast, far fewer say that gas and energy prices, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and terrorism come up frequently in conversation.

Notably, just 27% of the public says that political campaigns and elections come up frequently in conversation – the lowest percentage of 11 items tested. But fully half (51%) of those who agree with the Tea Party movement say politics is a frequent topic of their conversations. 

Read the full report, Public, Media Track Oil Spill, Diverge On Elections on the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press' Web site.

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