News about the economy has been overshadowed by the Gulf oil leak in recent weeks. And in the public’s view, the economic news has not improved. Currently, 65% say they are hearing a mix of good and bad news about the economy, while 30% say they are hearing mostly bad news and just 4% say they are hearing mostly good news.
These opinions are virtually unchanged from May and have changed little for more than a year. When the question was first asked in December 2008, 80% said they were hearing mostly bad news about the economy; that figure dropped to 31% by May 2009. Since then, majorities have consistently said they are hearing a mix of good and bad economic news.
The latest News Interest Index survey, conducted June 10-13 among 1,010 adults by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press finds that public interest in the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico continues to overshadow interest in other stories. Nearly six-in-ten (59%) say they followed news about the oil leak more closely than any other story, far surpassing the proportion citing the economy (8%) or any other story.
The oil leak continues to dominate news coverage as well. About a third of all coverage (34%) was devoted to the oil leak, far more than any other story, according to a separate analysis by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism.
Election news was the second most covered story last week, with 12% of the newshole dedicated to primaries around the country, but the public was not especially engaged with that story: While 20% say they followed the elections very closely, just 3% say it is the story they followed most closely. More Republicans (30%) followed election news very closely than either independents (21%) or Democrats (12%).
Read the full report, Public Sees No Improvement in Economic News, on the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press' Web site.