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Pew: Tea Party Folks Closely Following Presidential Campaign

The public's interest in news on the presidential campaign is on par with 2007, even without a competition on the Democratic side, while Tea Party sympathizers are the most interested among Republicans.

That is according to the latest News Interest Index from the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.

Even Democrats seem about as interested in the 2012 candidates as Republicans.

According to the index, 21% of public said they followed news about the candidates very closely for the June 30-July 3 period, compared to 20% (a statistical dead heat) who said the same thing at this point in 2007.

Republican's interest in the race has been higher than the same time in 2007, with 25% tracking the candidates very closely vs. only 18% over the same period in 2007.

According to the index, Republicans and "Republican-leaning independents" who agree with the Tea Party show far more interest in the race (37% closely following) than the rank and file Republicans (19%).

But while a plurality of respondents (41%) said the news media are giving the right amount of coverage to the campaign, between a quarter and a third (29%) said they were providing too much coverage.

The index results are based on a survey conducted June 30- July 3 among 1,001 adults.