The public took a renewed interest in the war in Afghanistan last week as President Obama unveiled plans to send more troops there while vowing to start bringing them home in 2011. Still, as many people say they talked with friends about Tiger Woods' troubles as Afghanistan.
More than four-in-ten (43%) say they followed news about Obama's decision to send more troops to Afghanistan very closely, an interest level comparable to mid-2002. Throughout 2009, the percentage following Afghanistan news very closely often stood in the mid-20s. Two-in-ten (20%) say this was the story they followed most closely last week, higher than any other week this year – but still below the 29% that say they followed the debate over health care legislation most closely.
According to the Pew Research Center's latest weekly News Interest Index, conducted Dec. 4-7 among 1,003 adults, 10% say the evolving Tiger Woods scandal was the story they followed most closely. About two-in-ten (19%) say they followed the Woods story very closely; another 27% say they followed this news fairly closely.
But close to seven-in-ten (69%) say Woods' crash and the allegations of infidelity that followed have received too much coverage. That is much more than the 44% that say the same about news about the Virginia couple that talked their way into a White House state dinner on Nov. 24 without an invitation.
Read the full report News Interest In Afghanistan Surges on the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press' Web site.