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Russian Hackers? 45% Call News Media 'Primary Threat That Might Try to Change Election Results'

Barbara Hollingsworth
By Barbara Hollingsworth | November 2, 2016 | 11:31 AM EDT

(Wikimedia Commons)

More people see the news media--as opposed to Russian hackers or political bosses--as the "primary threat that might try to change the election result," according to a recent Suffolk University/USA Today poll.

Pollsters asked 1,000 likely voters: “What do you think is the primary threat that might try to change the election results?”

45.53% said “the news media”--followed by “the national political establishment” (20.79%); “undecided” (13.42%); “foreign interests such as Russian hackers” (10%); and “local political bosses” (8.95%).

When asked whether they thought the news media was “acting completely of its own accord or coordinating stories with individual campaigns,” less than half of respondents (47.8%) said that the media was reporting on the campaigns independently, while about a third (38.8%) said they believed that the media was coordinating with the campaigns it covered.

Another 12.6% of survey respondents were “undecided” whether there was coordination between the news media and individual campaigns.

Slightly more than half (56.5%) said they believe election results will be “fair and accurate,” while 38% say they are “worried that [election] results could be manipulated.”

In addition, all three major news networks failed to get to 10% on the trustworthy scale.

When asked ‘What news or TV commentary do you trust the most?’ less than a third (27%) of survey respondents cited Fox News. But that was almost twice the percentage that cited CNN (15.4%) as their most trustworthy source of news and information.

Other news outlets fared even worse:

  • Undecided (18.6%);
  • CBS (7.7%);
  • ABC (6.9%);
  • MSNBC (6.6%);
  • NBC (6.5%);
  • PBS (6.1%);
  • C-SPAN (2.9%);
  • Comedy Central (2.3%).

Survey participants were also asked: “Who do you think the media, including major newspapers and TV stations, would like to see elected president, Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump?”

Three-quarters (75.1%) replied “Hillary Clinton”, compared to 7.9% who answered “Donald Trump” and 4.9% who answered “neither”.

The national poll, which was conducted between October 20 and 24,  was based on live telephone interviews – in English and Spanish - of adults 18 years or older in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.


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