Americans tracked the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in Haiti more closely than any other major news last week, but also kept a close watch on two intertwined stories: the fate of health care legislation in Washington and the outcome of last week's special election for U.S. Senate in Massachusetts.
Nearly half (47%) say they followed news about Haiti more closely than any other story. Almost two-in-ten (18%) say they followed news about the debate over health care reform most closely, while 14% say they most closely followed news about Republican Scott Brown's win in the race for the late Democrat Ted Kennedy's U.S. Senate seat.
The public's take on the chances that health care legislation will be enacted this year shifted dramatically after Brown's Jan. 19 victory, which will end the Democrats' effective control of 60 Senate seats and their ability to stop Republican filibusters. About two-thirds (67%) now say they do not think a health care reform bill will be passed into law this year, while 27% say they think it will, according to the latest weekly News Interest Index survey conducted Jan. 22-25 among 1,010 adults nationwide by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. This is a reversal from the previous week's News Interest Index survey when 57% said they thought legislation would pass this year, while 33% said it would not.
Read the full report 67% Now Doubt Health Care Bill Will Pass This Year on the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press' Web site.