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80% of Americans relieved that they can stop thinking about politics

November 12, 2008 |  2:07 pm

It seems most Americans are happy to stop thinking about politics for a while.

While some news junkies are still suffering from withdrawal in the wake of last week’s election, eight in 10 people do not miss following campaign news, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.

The weekly News Interest Index, done in conjunction with Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, found that the election has consistently been the dominant story in the media for months, and the public followed the race more closely than any other presidential campaign in the last 20 years.

But for all of its intensity, the election didn’t produce many strong opinions about the media personalities who delivered the news. When asked to name their favorite campaign journalist, half of respondents couldn’t come up with one. And 60% didn’t have a least favorite.

The media personality who generated the strongest opinions was Fox News Channel host Bill O’Reilly, who topped the list of most favorite (5%) and least favorite (6%). Others listed as favorites were NBC’s Tom Brokaw (3%), Fox News’ Sean Hannity (3%), ABC’s Charles Gibson (2%) and MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann (2%).

The most disliked campaign journalists, after O’Reilly, included CBS’ Katie Couric (5%), Fox News in general (3%), Rush Limbaugh (3%) and Olbermann (3%).

NBC anchor Brian Williams appears to have fans on both sides of the aisle. He was the fifth-most popular journalist among both Republicans and Democrats.

-- Matea Gold