News Interest Index: States' Budget Woes Register With Public

With Americans closely tracking news about the struggling economy, most are aware of the impact the recession is having on state and local budgets and the burgeoning federal deficit.

A majority (57%) says they have heard “a lot” about worsening state and local budget problems as governments at all levels struggle to deal with declining tax revenues and increasing costs. An identical majority (57%) has heard “a lot” about the Obama administration's projection that the federal deficit will hit $1.75 trillion this year as Washington implements programs intended to steady troubled business sectors, boost employment and spur lending.

The economic crisis and the administration's response continued to be the top stories last week in terms of both public interest and media coverage. About a third of Americans (34%) say they followed news about the condition of the U.S. economy more closely than any other story last week, according to the latest News Interest Index survey conducted Feb. 27-March 2 by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. Another 23% list President Obama's budget proposal – with its mix of priority shifts and new spending to address current and longer-term concerns – as their top story of the week.

Read the full report States' Budget Woes Register With Public on the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press' Web site.

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