SAINT LEO, FL – Few Americans say they believe news reporting to be credible, according to a new survey released by the Saint Leo University Polling Institute. Of those surveyed, 22.4 percent say they believe “all or most” print, broadcast, or online stories. Out of 1,001 adults, only 2.9 percent say they believe “all” reporting.
The Saint Leo poll, conducted online June 10 through June 16, looked at views of news media as well as the coverage of the 2016 election cycle.
A large percentage of Americans polled—86.4 percent—say the news media have their own political and policy positions and attempts to influence public opinion. Just under one-half, 49.7 percent, rate the media’s coverage of the 2016 presidential election cycle as “good or very good,” while another 43.7 percent said it was “poor or very poor.” There were 6.7 percent surveyed who said they were “unsure.”
While traditional news outlets struggle with ratings, circulation, and viewership, many people are receiving their news via social media platforms.
“Most people are getting their political news from Facebook,” said Dr. Kenny Embry, Saint Leo University associate professor of communication management. “And people are looking at the Twitter battle between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.”
Embry described some Americans as “accidental political consumers” on social media sites. “They do not go looking for political news on Facebook, but they can get caught up in friends’ conversations about political issues.”
The Saint Leo communications educator commented that the Internet is like an “echo chamber.” For example, Facebook algorithms will find people with similar points of view and their items will post in users’ newsfeeds. This can reduce exposure to different viewpoints and ideas, Embry pointed out.
Poll results indicate likely voters consider the rise and success of Donald Trump to be mostly a “media phenomenon” with 64.7 percent of likely U.S. voters saying they strongly and somewhat agree.
“Voters are recognizing that Donald Trump is a media powerhouse,” Embry said.
Poll respondents think that news media have an obligation to fact-check candidate statements and positions, with 82.7 percent somewhat or strongly agreeing. But the question of whose “facts” to use comes into question. By a large margin, Americans polled say they see media bias against in favor of liberals (51.9 percent) and media bias in favor of conservatives (20 percent).
More About Our Research
METHODOLOGY: All surveys were conducted using an online survey instrument. The poll sampled opinion of 1,001 adults and has a plus or minus 3.0 percent margin of error.
The Saint Leo University Polling Institute conducts its surveys using cutting-edge online methodology, which is rapidly transforming the field of survey research. The sample is drawn from large online panels, which allow for random selections that reflect accurate cross sections of all demographic groups. Online methodology has the additional advantage of allowing participants to respond to the survey at a time, place, and speed that is convenient to them, which may result in more thoughtful answers. The Saint Leo University Polling Institute develops the questionnaires, administers the surveys, and conducts analysis of the results. Panel participants typically receive a token incentive—usually $1 deposited into an iTunes or Amazon account—for their participation.
The Saint Leo University Polling Institute survey results about national and Florida politics, public policy issues, Pope Francis’ popularity, and other topics, can be found here. You can also follow the institute on Twitter @saintleopolls.
About Saint Leo University
Saint Leo University (www.saintleo.edu) is a regionally accredited, liberal-arts-based institution known for an inclusive Catholic heritage, enduring values, and a capacity for innovation. The school was chartered in 1889 by Catholic Benedictine monks in rural Pasco County, FL, making Saint Leo the first Catholic college in the state. Saint Leo provides access to education to people of all faiths, emphasizing the Benedictine philosophy of balanced growth of mind, body, and spirit.
The university welcomes learners from all generations and backgrounds, from civilian occupations and the armed forces, and from across the country and more than 60 nations around the world. Saint Leo’s nearly 16,000 undergraduate and graduate students may elect to study at the beautiful University Campus in Florida, at more than 40 teaching locations in seven states, or online from any location. The university’s degree programs range from the associate to the doctorate. Through these rich offerings, Saint Leo develops principled leaders for a challenging world.
Saint Leo University boasts nearly 80,000 alumni in all 50 states, Washington, DC, five U.S. territories, and 72 countries.
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