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Americans Following Politics News Unusually Closely

By Chris Cillizza
Thirty-six. That's the percentage of Americans who say they are following national political news "very closely," the highest off-year number since Gallup began asking the question in 2001.

Back in 2007 that number stood at 30 percent and in 2005 -- the last off-year election without a national presidential contest year in the offing -- just more than one in four Americans (28 percent) said they were following national political news closely.

The increase in attentiveness is largely the result of Republicans and, to a lesser extent, Independents, ratcheting up their interest in political news.

Back in 2005, just 26 percent of Republicans said they were closely following political news while 41 percent said the same in the most recent Gallup survey. The percentage of Independents paying close attention to the news jumped from 30 percent in 2005 to 37 percent in 2009. Democrats during that same time frame had more modest gains -- from 26 percent to 30 percent -- in terms of those within the party paying close attention.

What should we take from these numbers?

First, that there is some disparity in the level of attention being paid by Republicans (41 percent paying very close attention) and Democrats (30 percent close attention) -- a difference that suggests a possible energy gap between the parties.

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Posted at 1:25 PM ET on Sep 28, 2009  | Category:  The Fix
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