The economy and related stories was the news of most interest to almost half the respondents in the Pew Research Center's News Interest Index.
The economy was the top story, with 20% of people surveyed saying they followed that story most closely. But add in the related, and growing story, of Wall Street protests (18%) and jobs and the deficit (11%), and that makes 49% with their eye most closely on the financial issues that affect the nation and their pocketbooks.
The 2012 elections were the most interesting story to 15%, while the plot to kill the Iranian ambassador was most interesting to 4%.
Herman Cain is the fastest growing presidential commodity in the index. For the survey period -- Oct. 13-16 -- Cain was the candidate they had heard the most about in recent news reports. Just a month ago, that figure was less than 1%.
The Occupy Wall Street protest is also moving up the charts, with 22% of respondents saying they followed that issue very closely, up from 17% for the previous survey period. That was mostly driven by an older demo. While the percentage of those under 50 following the protests remained essentially unchanged (17% vs. 16% for the previous index, or statistically a wash), 27% of those over 50 were following it closely, up from 18% the week before. That 50-plus demo is, of course, closer to the retirement bucks the Wall Street meltdown drained from their savings.
The index was based on a "representative sample" of 1,007 adults.
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