By Ricky Zipp
December 19, 2022 at 5:00 am ET
This article is part of our annual Seen Read Heard project measuring real-time media consumption of over 800 news events among more than 200,000 Americans. See our interactive for a curated list of the newsworthy developments of 2022, including many that resonated deeply with Americans — and some that didn’t.
Read More Seen Read Heard Coverage: Series Home Page | Analyzing The News That Broke Through 2022 | Global: Ukraine War Dominates 2022’s Global Headlines | Economics: Inflation News | Energy: Hurricanes and Gasoline Prices
COVID-19 still captured plenty of health care headlines in 2022, but the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and the U.S. baby formula shortage broke through to voters in an even bigger way, according to an analysis of weekly Morning Consult surveys that asked the electorate how much they’d seen, read or heard about specific news items.
Coronavirus stories made up the majority of health care news overall — accounting for 34 of the 64 health news events surveyed — but other items, including the fallout from the Supreme Court’s Dobbs ruling, the Inflation Reduction Act and the mpox public health emergency, also grabbed voters’ attention.
Voters heard about pandemic-related news throughout the year, but most of those top stories were from the beginning of the year, when the country reported a record number of COVID-19 cases from the omicron variant. The lesser-seen pandemic stories came later in the year, as cases dropped and state and federal governments rolled back public health measures, like masking and proof of vaccination requirements.
With the pandemic heading into its fourth year, fatigue may be dragging on voters’ interest to follow coverage as closely as in previous years. Interest in COVID-19 news may return, however, as cases are once again rising before the holidays.
Abortion will likely stay a top news story for voters in 2023, as states implement stricter laws or work to protect access. The Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision was the story of the year, but voters consistently saw coverage of the ripple effects as well.
Surveys conducted on a weekly basis throughout 2022 among a representative sample of roughly 2,000 registered voters each, with an unweighted margin of error of +/-2 percentage points.