Americans View Media Bias As Big Problem, Poll Shows
August 12, 2008 - 6:29 PMA full 55 percent of likely American voters think that media bias is more of a problem than campaign contributions in the presidential race, according to a Rasmussen Reports poll released Monday.
This poll follows another Rasmussen poll conducted July 19 which revealed that 57 percent of likely voters think Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) has received the best treatment from the media so far, while 21 percent or respondents think Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has received the best media treatment.
Additionally, 49 percent think reporters will try to help Obama win the presidential campaign, while 14 percent think reporters will help McCain.
But the poll released Monday shows that despite a lack of trust of politicians to adhere to campaign contribution rules, the public sees media bias as a larger problem.
Highlighting the public’s doubts about adhering to campaign rules, 63 percent of respondents believe that most politicians will break rules to help campaign contributors, or “people who give them a lot of money.” Yet only 36 percent think that campaign cash is a bigger problem than media bias.
Of those polled, as few as 14 percent think most politicians would refrain from breaking the rules for a donor.
Different political affiliations view the problems of media bias versus campaign contribution influence with varying emphasis.
Among the Republicans surveyed, 81 percent see media bias as a larger problem than campaign contributions, versus 41 percent of Democrats. More Democrats say that campaign cash is the bigger issue (50 percent).
For the conservatives surveyed, 74 percent see media bias as the bigger problem, versus 53 percent of liberals who see campaign contributions as a bigger problem.
More respondents identified as moderates saw media bias as a bigger problem than campaign cash, though with a narrower margin of 49 percent to 42 percent. For those not affiliated with either political party, 47 percent think media bias is the greater problem and 43 percent think campaign cash is more important.
In connection to perceived media bias, 22 percent of respondents think banning campaign commercials so that voters could receive campaign information from only the news media and the Internet is a good idea.
A larger 66 percent disagree and think that despite the “annoyance factor,” putting up with an election year “barrage” of advertising is preferable to relying on news media.
By only a narrow margin, more American voters think lobbyists and campaign contributors have too much influence on John McCain’s positions (44 percent) than on Barack Obama’s positions (40 percent).
The Rasmussen national survey, conducted Aug. 8, surveyed 1,000 “likely voters.”