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Voters See Media Biased Against Trump but Not Clinton

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Voters are far more likely to think the media is biased against Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump than against his chief Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

Forty-seven percent (47%) of Likely U.S. Voters think most reporters are biased against Trump. A new Rasmussen Reports finds that 31% disagree, but 22% are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

By comparison, just half as many (23%) believe the media is biased against Clinton. Most voters (59%), in fact, say the media is not biased against the former first lady and secretary of State. Eighteen percent (18%) are undecided.

Sixty-seven percent (67%) of Republicans and 50% of unaffiliated voters feel the media is biased against Trump, but just 26% of Democrats agree. Only 13% of GOP voters and 20% of unaffiliateds believe the media is biased against Clinton, compared to 34% of Democrats. But even a plurality (44%) of voters in Clinton’s own party says the media is not biased against her.

This survey was taken before perhaps the biggest controversy yet involving Trump, his call in the wake of the San Bernardino massacre for barring all Muslims from entering the United States until the federal government can figure out how to do a better job keeping out radical Islamic terrorists.

Sixty-six percent (66%) of all voters say the news media focus too much on Trump and Clinton at the expense of the other presidential candidates. Just six percent (6%) think there is too little focus on the two front-runners. Twenty percent (20%) describe the level of media coverage as about right.

Seventy-five percent (75%) believe that when it comes to covering prospective presidential candidates, the media is more interested in creating controversies about them than it is in reporting where they stand on the issues

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on December 2-3, 2015 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.

Seventy-one percent (71%) of voters believe that when covering a political campaign, most reporters try to help the candidate they want to win. Republicans and unaffiliated voters are more skeptical of the media than Democrats are.

That’s comparable to attitudes in 2012 just three months before Election Day and four years before that right before the 2008 election

When it comes to the level of coverage given the two front-runners, Republicans and Democrats are in general agreement. Unaffiliated voters believe even more strongly that they receive too much coverage at the expense of the other candidates.

Men feel much more strongly than women that the media is biased against Trump. Most women agree the media is not biased against Clinton, but they don’t believe that as strongly as men do.

Voters of all ages tend to think the media is biased against Trump. Those under 40 are more likely than their elders to believe the media is also biased against Clinton, but younger voters still see the media as more biased against Trump than against Clinton.

But then voters in nearly all demographic categories see more bias against Trump than against Clinton.

Among voters who rate the current level of media focus as about right, 51% say the media is biased against Trump, but just 20% feel the media is biased against Clinton.

In a survey earlier this year, 55% of Republicans said they expect most reporters to try to help Clinton’s campaign. Just 17% of Democrats and 39% of unaffiliated voters agreed.

Media coverage of the immigration policies of Clinton and Trump is a case in point. 

Just 23% of voters expect reporters to offer unbiased coverage of the 2016 presidential race. The Republican presidential debate in late October was a textbook example of the media bias voters have complained about in surveys for years. 

Additional information from this survey and a full demographic breakdown are available to Platinum Members only.

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