News Interest Index: Public Sees Economic News Turning More Negative

News Interest Index: Public Sees Economic News Turning More Negative

Public perceptions of economic news have turned much more negative. Currently, 42% say they are hearing mostly bad news about the economy, the highest percentage in a year. Last month, 30% of the public said they were hearing mostly bad news about the economy.
 
The proportion saying they are hearing a mix of good and bad economic news has declined from 65% in June to 54% currently. This marks the first time this year that the percentage hearing mixed economic news has fallen below 60%, according to the latest News Interest Index survey conducted July 1-5 among 1,007 adults by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. Just 3% say they are hearing mostly good news, about the same as the 4% that said this last month.

More Americans also say they are hearing mostly bad news about two major aspects of the economy – the job situation and real estate values – than did so in May. Nearly two-thirds (64%) say they are hearing mostly bad news about jobs, up from 52% in May.

In a week that featured several high-profile economic stories – including a weak June employment report, negative housing numbers, a rough stretch for stock markets and talk of a “double dip” recession – public interest in economic news increased. Just under half (48%) say they followed reports about the condition of the U.S. economy very closely, up from 37% the previous week.

Nonetheless, the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico remained the public's top story. About half (52%) say they followed news about the oil leak most closely; the economy was a distant second at 13%. The media divided its attention among several major stories, including the oil leak (15% of the newshole), the economy (13%) and the Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan (11%), according to a separate analysis by the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ).

Read the full report, Public Sees Economic News Turning More Negative on the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press' Web site.

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