The public's top story last week was the rising price of gasoline. Fully 62% of Americans followed news about gas prices very closely, and four-in-ten said it was the story they followed more closely than any other. Gas prices overshadowed the presidential campaign as the public's most closely followed story by a substantial margin. For 15% of Americans the campaign was their top story (25% followed the campaign very closely). By contrast, the press devoted much more coverage to the campaign - 26% of all news - than to stories about rising gas prices (7%).
In addition to following news about gas prices, 22% of the public paid very close attention to the recent downturn in the stock market, 7% listed this as their most closely followed story. The public is also tracking the effect these broader economic problems are having on American businesses. More than three-quarters heard about the announcement that sales for automakers Ford and General Motors fell sharply in June - 34% heard a lot about this and 44% heard a little. Somewhat fewer heard the news that Starbucks coffee retailer plans to close 600 stores and eliminate 12,000 jobs. One-in-four heard a lot about Starbuck's troubles and 45% heard a little. More men than women reported hearing a lot about falling sales for Ford and GM (39% vs. 30%), while men and women were equally likely to have heard a lot about closings at Starbucks.
Read the full report Interest In Gas Prices Remains High on the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press Web site.