Looking Ahead to Major Events of 2014As 2014 begins and the midterm election campaigns heat up, about half of the public (51%) is especially looking forward to November’s congressional elections while 49% are not looking forward to them.

The new national survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted Jan. 2-5 among 1,005 adults, finds that 58% are looking forward to next month’s Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, while 42% are not. A majority (55%) also is looking forward to next month’s Super Bowl.

More in GOP Looking Forward to ElectionsAmong other upcoming events, just 24% say they are looking forward to the Academy Awards while a comparable percentage (22%) is anticipating this summer’s World Cup soccer tournament.

Overall, the percentage of the public that is looking forward to this fall’s midterm election is about the same today (51%) as it was in January 2010 (50%). Currently, 63% of Republicans and 53% of Democrats say they are anticipating the midterm elections; a similar gap was evident four years ago (60% of Republicans vs. 48% of Democrats).

Last month, a Pew Research survey found that more Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters (53%) than Democrats and Democratic leaners (47%) were “very enthusiastic” about voting in this fall’s elections. But the GOP’s advantage was narrower than it was a year before the 2010 midterms.

In 2014, Majority Looking Forward to Winter Olympics, Super BowlWhen it comes to other events of 2014, partisans largely agree on what they are looking forward to. The Olympics and Super Bowl are high on both parties’ lists, while the World Cup ranks much lower; roughly equal shares are looking forward to this summer’s international soccer tournament (22% overall). However, Democrats are more likely than Republicans to say they are especially looking forward to the Academy Awards (36% vs. 20%).

This Week’s News

Economy, Health Care Draw More Interest than Colo. Marijuana OpeningWith coverage under the 2010 health care law going into effect Jan. 1, 30% of adults closely followed news about the rollout last week. About three-in-ten (29%) closely followed news about the economy.

Other news stories last week garnered less interest. Fewer than two-in-ten (16%) closely followed news about recreational marijuana shops that opened legally in Colorado, while 13% followed news about a research ship that was trapped in ice off Antarctica. About one-in-ten (11%) followed either violence in Syria or the two terrorist bombings that struck Russia.