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Voters See More Anti-Trump, Pro-Hillary Bias in Media

Monday, May 23, 2016

Voters think the media is even more prejudiced now against Donald Trump in favor of Hillary Clinton.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 49% of Likely U.S. Voters think most reporters are biased against Trump, the presumptive Republican party presidential nominee, up from 47% in December before the official start of the primary season. By contrast, only 18% believe most reporters are biased against Clinton, the likely Democratic nominee, and that's down from 23% six months ago.

Just 36% say most reporters are not biased against Trump, while 67% think most are not biased against Clinton. That compares to 31% and 59% respectively in the previous survey. Roughly 15% remain undecided on both questions. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

This is consistent with surveying in the last two presidential election campaigns when voters considered the media biased in favor of the Democratic candidate and against the GOP nominee.

In the fall of 2012, 51% of voters expected most reporters would try to help President Obama get reelected, while only nine percent (9%) thought they would be biased in favor of his GOP opponent Mitt Romney. These findings were nearly identical to those just before Election Day in November 2008. At that time, 51% felt most reporters had tried to help Obama win the presidency, while only seven percent (7%) thought they had tried to help Republican candidate John McCain.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on May 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.

Just 37% of voters rate the media coverage of the 2016 presidential campaign as good or excellent. Nearly as many (33%) say the media is doing a poor job covering the election. A year ago, only 23% expected unbiased coverage of the 2016 presidential race.

Sixty-nine percent (69%) of Republicans and a plurality (48%) of voters not affiliated with either major party feel the media is biased against Trump. Democrats are far less likely to agree, but even voters in Clinton's own party are more likely to feel the media is biased against Trump (30%) than against her (25%). Only nine percent (9%) of GOP voters and 18% of unaffiliateds believe the media is biased against Clinton.

Voters in virtually every demographic group are much more likely to think most reporters are biased against Trump than against Clinton.

Women (20%) are slightly more likely than men (15%) to say the media have been biased against Clinton. The younger the voter, the more likely he or she is to believe most reporters are biased against the former secretary of State.

Just 15% of whites think most reporters have been biased against Clinton, compared to 27% of blacks and 25% of other minority voters. Blacks are less likely than white and other minority voters to think the media has been biased against Trump.

Seventy-nine percent (79%) of voters who think most reporters are biased against Trump think the media is not biased against Clinton.

Trump has now grown his lead over Clinton in Rasmussen Reports’ first weekly White House Watch survey.

Most voters have said in surveys for years that reporters try to help the candidate they want to win.

Voters also feel 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.

Two-out-of-three voters (66%) think the news media has too much power and influence over elections. Forty-seven percent (47%) consider media bias a bigger problem than big campaign contributions in politics today, but nearly as many (45%) now see big campaign contributions as the larger concern.

Democrats blamed the media earlier this year for the perception that Clinton's campaign was stumbling, but voters in general weren’t so sure.

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

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To learn more about our methodology, click here.