Following a bad news week of disappointing reports about housing, jobs and the stock market, the public’s negative perception of economic news reached a more than two-year high, according to a new Pew Research study. Forty-six percent said they are hearing mostly bad news about the nation’s economy, up nine points since last month and the highest percentage since March 2009.
The Pew News Interest Index survey was created to measure attitudes about the tone of economy news, Pew senior writer Michael Renez told MillionaireCorner.com. Attitudes about the economy itself are the subject of a separate survey.
Conducted the first week of June, the latest survey finds that economic news most compelled the public. Twenty percent said they followed economic news most closely, compared to 12 percent who tracked the Afghanistan war, while 11 percent said they were following the 2012 presidential candidates and the NBA finals.
According to a separate analysis by the Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ), reports on the economy accounted for 13 percent of all June news coverage, while 12 percent was devoted to the presidential campaign. That is the highest percent of campaign coverage this year.
The Pew News Interest Index survey found that as public’s perceptions of economic news have grown more negative, so have views of news about specific economic sectors, most notably jobs, real estate and the financial markets. More than half (58 percent) say they are hearing mostly bad news about employment, up seven points since mid-May and 15 points in early April. Twice as many say they are hearing mostly bad news about real estate values as they are hearing mixed news (56 percent to 28 percent). Earlier perceptions of news about housing were far less negative. In May, for example, 45 percent said they were hearing most bad news while 35 percent said the news was a mix of good and bad.
The proportion of those saying they are hearing mostly bad news about financial markets (40 percent) is at his highest point all year. Moreover, the small share hearing mostly good news about financial markets plummeted to five percent, down from 17 percent in February and 11 percent in May.
Negative perceptions of the news about the overall economy have increased sharply among more affluent people as well as older Americans and political independents, Pew said. Currently, 50 percent of those with family incomes of $75,000 or more say that news about the economy is mostly bad, up from 31 percent less than a month ago. Since May there has also been a 19-point increase in the percentage of those ages 65 and older who say that economic news is mostly bad (from 35 percent to 54 percent).