Wednesday, August 17, 2016
Most voters still think the media is more interested in controversy than in the issues when it comes to the presidential race, and supporters of Donald Trump strongly believe the coverage of his public comments is a classic example. Most Hillary Clinton supporters say Trump’s just a sloppy speaker.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 74% of Likely U.S. Voters believe that in covering presidential candidates the media is more interested in creating controversies about them than in reporting where they stand on the issues. Just 20% think the media is more interested in covering where the candidates stand on the issues. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
This marks no change from last year at this time but is still a better view of the media than voters held for several years prior to that when over 80% regularly said reporters were more interested in controversy.
Trump seems to court controversy with some of his public comments, and 37% of voters think the media is blowing up these comments out of proportion. Forty-nine percent (49%), however, say the Republican presidential nominee is just being careless when he makes these comments. Only 10% feel that he is being crafty when he says them.
Among voters who support Trump over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, 76% think the media is blowing up his comments out of proportion. But 80% of Clinton supporters say Trump is careless with his comments. Those who back Clinton are twice as likely as Trump voters to think the GOP nominee is being crafty.
While 89% of Trump supporters believe the media is more interested in creating controversy than in the issues, just 54% of Clinton voters agree.
The national survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on August 15-16, 2016 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.
Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan wrote earlier this year that the only person who can beat Trump is Trump himself, and so far voters think that's exactly what he's doing.
Sizable majorities of voters across nearly all demographic categories believe that the media is more interested in creating controversy than in covering the issues when it comes to the presidential race.
Most Democrats (59%) agree the media is more interested in controversy than the issues when it comes to covering presidential candidates, but they’re a lot less skeptical than Republicans (84%) and unaffiliated voters (80%) are.
While 58% of Republicans think the media is blowing up Trump’s comments out of proportion, 68% of Democrats say he’s being careless. Democrats are more likely to suspect Trump’s being crafty, but 32% of GOP voters agree that their nominee is being careless with his comments. Among voters not affiliated with either major party, 46% say Trump is careless, while 39% believe he’s being victimized by the media.
Voters who think the media is more interested in controversy are almost evenly divided over whether Trump is being careless or whether the media is blowing up his comments out of proportion. Among those who believe the media is more interested in the issues, 64% say Trump is careless in his comments, but 23% think he’s being crafty.
Clinton has a three-point lead over Trump in Rasmussen Report’s late weekly White House Watch survey. We will be updating those findings tomorrow morning at 8:30 Eastern.
As in previous presidential election cycles, voters expect most reporters covering political campaigns to help their favorite candidates and think it's far more likely they will help the Democrat than the Republican.
Republicans are again asking questions about Hillary Clinton's health, while Democrats continue to insist that Donald Trump release his tax returns. Most voters still believe major White House hopefuls should make public recent tax returns, but now most also think they should release their medical records, too.
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