Not only is trust in the media at an all-time low, fewer Americans are paying attention to political news this year, a Gallup survey released Friday shows.
Asked how much trust and confidence respondents have in the mainstream media — newspapers, television and radio — to report accurately and fairly, 60 percent said not very much or none at all. Just 40 percent of respondents have a great deal or a fair amount of trust in the media. According to Gallup’s results, this negative view is at an all-time high for a presidential election year, and it’s part of a trend of negativity toward the media increasing during an election year.
Republicans have the least trust in the media, with just 26 percent expressing a great deal or fair amount of trust. Thirty-one percent of independents trust the media. Democrats view the media most favorably, with 58 percent expressing trust.
Attention to political news ticks up during election years, according to Gallup, but 39 percent of respondents said they are following the race this year “very closely.” In September 2008, 43 percent said they were closely following the election. Republicans, even though they express the greatest distrust in the media, follow political news more closely than both Democrats and independents, at 48 percent. Thirty-nine percent of Democrats and 33 percent of independents are following political news closely.
Gallup notes in its analysis that the survey was conducted Sept. 6-9, immediately after both major parties’ national conventions, so the results may indicate how closely people paid attention to those events. And the interest in political news at this stage of the campaign could also be a measure of how interested people are specifically in the presidential race.
David Taintor is TPM’s News Editor. He contributes to TPM’s Livewire coverage, among other areas. David is from Chanhassen, Minnesota, where, yes, it gets very cold. Reach him at taintor [at] talkingpointsmemo.com