Amid continued worries about the health of the nation’s economy and persistent unemployment, the debate in Washington over President Obama’s jobs legislation topped the public’s news interest last week.
Nearly a quarter of the public (23%) says they followed the back and forth over Obama’s proposal more closely than any other news last week, according to the latest News Interest Index survey, conducted Sept. 15-18 among 1,006 adults by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. Other economic stories also drew the public’s interest: 11% say their top story was the recent ups and downs in the stock markets and 7% say they followed news about new government poverty figures most closely. Another 5% cite the debt crisis in Greece and other European countries as their top story.
Combining several separate story lines, news about the U.S. economy also topped coverage, making up 20% of the newshole altogether, according to a separate analysis by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism. About half of that – 10% of total coverage – dealt with the debate over Obama’s jobs plan and alternative ideas offered by Republicans. News about the economy’s impact on Americans – mostly tied to the government report that said 46 million Americans now live in poverty – accounted for 3% of coverage. News about the stock market swings accounted for another 1%, while other economic news made up another 6%. Separately, the debt crisis in Europe accounted for 4% of overall coverage.
Read the full report, Economic Stories Top Public Interest and Coverage, on the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press' Web site.