In the days following BP’s latest—and apparently successful—effort to seal the oil well in the Gulf of Mexico, public perceptions of news about the spill have become somewhat more positive. Only a quarter of Americans (25%) say they are hearing mostly good news about the oil spill, but that is more than double the percentage expressing this view two weeks ago (11%).
The latest weekly News Interest Index survey conducted August 5-8 among 1,002 adults by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, finds that about half of the public (47%) says they are hearing a mix of good and bad news about the oil spill in the Gulf, while 25% say they are hearing mostly bad news. The percentage saying they are hearing mixed news has fallen since late July (from 59%), while the proportion hearing mostly bad news has edged upward (from 18%).
The Gulf coast oil leak continues to be the public’s most closely followed story, but interest has declined from last week. About four-in-ten (42%) say they followed the story very closely, down from 57% a week ago.
Nevertheless, the Gulf oil leak was once again the public’s top news story: 42% say it is the story they followed most closely this week; news about the economy was a distant second, cited by just 16%.
News coverage about the leak also has dropped off in recent weeks. The leak accounted for 11% of this week’s newshole according to a separate analysis by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ). By comparison, the story dominated news coverage throughout June—constituting 44% of the newshole at its peak, the week ending June 20th.
Read the full report, More Hearing Good News about Gulf Spill on the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press' Web site.