Thursday, December 29, 2005

2005 Public Opinion Wrapup

All Things Considered featured an interesting story the other night on the top 10 public opinion trends from 2005, which are listed on the NPR website along with capsule summaries for each. From Iraq to Katrina to Schiavo to private accounts, most of the year's big stories are represented, and the approval and disapproval numbers should generally look familiar to anyone who keeps up with the news. One item that continues to befuddle me is the American public's continued rejection of evolution, a phenomenon that is seldom reflected in the rarefied air of the political blogosphere (even its conservative provinces). It's clear from the most cursory of analyses that Intelligent Design has no intellectual legs on which to stand, yet 55% of adults support teaching creationism, ID, and evolution in public schools, presumably as a part of the biology curriculum. All three are certainly worthwhile subjects to discuss in school—but only one belongs in any kind of science class.

The other factoid that jumped out at me was this:
No Media Meltdown –- The credibility of both TV and print press came in for criticism on several fronts, and perceptions of political bias in the media continued to rise. But, by wide margins, the U.S. public still gave more favorable than unfavorable ratings to their daily newspaper (80 percent-20 percent), local and cable TV news (79 percent-21 percent) and network TV news (75 percent-25 percent).
And those are pretty solid plus-ratings given all the reports of media bias and declining newspaper circulations that flew around this year. So it looks like rumors of the MSM's demise may be slightly exaggerated; the fact that I would have guessed differently just highlights one of my blind spots as a close observer, I suppose.