Pew Research: Only a quarter of Americans tracking Iraq violence

World Cup more interesting among youth

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As Sunni militants sweep across Iraq, sending the war-damaged nation into sectarian chaos, only a quarter of Americans say they are paying close attention to the growing instability, a new survey said.

The Pew Research Center said Thursday that by comparison, 28 percent of Americans followed news about problems with veterans’ medical care, 21 percent are tracking new about the IRS’s missing employee emails and 17 percent are following news about the World Cup in Brazil.

The results vary by age.

“Young people typically express lower levels of interest in news stories than older Americans, and the age differences are striking when it comes to Washington news and violence in Iraq,” according to Pew Research.

People ages 18 to 29 are showing more interest in the soccer tournament (24 percent) than the violence in Iraq (13 percent), recent Supreme Court rulings (6 percent) and the midterm elections (8 percent).

Partisan politics also affected the survey’s results.

A third of Republicans are closely following news about the IRS losing former employee Lois Lerner’s emails, as the House GOP investigates political targeting at the revenue agency. About a third of them also are following developments in Iraq and at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

By contrast, about 16 percent of Democrats are tracking the IRS story, 24 percent are watching the VA issue and 24 percent are monitoring Iraq.

Interest in the World Cup story is relatively high among U.S. Hispanics, with 23 percent of them following it very closely and another 32 percent saying they are tracking it fairly closely.

Whites and blacks aren’t really into the tournament, with majorities in both groups saying they are not following it closely.

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