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Voters Are Strongly Divided Over Media’s Role in Dividing Us

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Voters admit America is a more divided place these days, and Trump supporters overwhelmingly agree with the president that the media is to blame. But Trump opponents just as strongly disagree.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey asked Likely U.S. Voters if they agree or disagree with this statement from President Trump’s speech last week in Phoenix: “If you wanted to discover the source of the division in our country, look no further than the fake news and the crooked media which would rather get ratings and clicks than tell the truth.” Forty-three percent (43%) agree, and 51% disagree. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

But a closer look perfectly illustrates the level of division in the country. Ninety-two percent (92%) of likely voters who Strongly Approve of the job the president is doing agree with him that “the fake news and the crooked media” are the source of that division. Eighty-six percent (86%) of those who Strongly Disapprove of Trump’s job performance disagree with the statement.

It’s important to note that Rasmussen Reports did not say in the question who made the statement, but the president has been outspoken for months in his criticism of the media and “fake news.”

Interestingly, separate surveying finds that 63% of Americans believe most major news organizations are more concerned with getting a story first than with getting it right.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on August 27-28, 2017 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.

Just prior to Trump’s inauguration in January, 50% of voters said the United States was a more divided nation after eight years under President Obama. But 59% think the country is more divided after the first few months of the Trump presidency.

Whites are more likely than blacks and other minority voters to feel the media is the cause of the nation’s political division.

Those who earn $100,000 or more a year are less critical of the media than those who earn less.

Sixty-nine percent (69%) of Republicans think the media is “the source of the division in our country,” but 78% of Democrats disagree. Voters not affiliated with either major party are closely divided.

Following an assassination attempt on several Republican congressmen by a Bernie Sanders supporter in June, 76% of all voters said there is a greater danger of political violence these days compared to past years.

The latest division is over America’s past, with the media and some politicians calling for Confederate monuments to come down. Voters tend to agree with the president’s defense of historical statues, and few think getting rid of Confederate monuments will lessen racial tensions in America.

A sizable majority (72%) of voters also continues to believe most politicians raise racial issues just to get elected, not to address real problems.

Nearly half of all voters think the media is actively trying to block Trump’s agenda,  while just as many said in 2010 that most reporters were trying to help Obama pass his agenda.

Most voters feel Trump is to blame for his bad relationship with the media, but they also don't think there is anything he can do about it.

Forty-eight percent (48%) of all voters – and 63% of Republicans – don’t think it is possible for the president to ever do anything the media will approve of.

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

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