News Interest Index: Obama Support for Gay Marriage Public's Top Story

May 15, 2012

President Obama’s expression of support for same-sex marriage proved to be the public’s top news story last week.

About a quarter of Americans (26%) say they followed news about Obama’s statements on the divisive topic more closely than any other news, according to the latest weekly News Interest Index survey, conducted May 10-13 among 1,003 adults by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.  Still, in the same survey, about half (52%) say Obama’s expression of support for same-sex marriage did not affect their opinion of the president. A quarter (25%) say Obama’s comments made them think less favorably of him, while 19% say the comments made them think more favorably of the president. (See: “Half Say View of Obama Not Affected by Gay Marriage Decision”.)

Obama’s comments – and their possible impact on the presidential race – also were among the week’s most covered stories, according to a separate analysis by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ). News specifically about Obama and his expression of support for gay marriage accounted for 14% of coverage. More general news about the 2012 election accounted for 15%, separating out news that focused primarily on Obama’s gay marriage comments. Altogether, campaign news accounted for 24% of coverage, according to PEJ.

Read the full report, Obama Support for Gay Marriage Public's Top Story, on the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press' website.

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