Rasmussen: Public's Belief That Media Coverage Skews Left Still Strong

June 24th, 2011 4:16 PM

Polls have shown for some time now that Americans believe the news media has a political bias, and that that bias is a liberal one. A new Rasmussen survey once again confirms the trend.

Acccording to the poll, about two thirds of those surveyed (67 percent) said that political coverage will generally be more friendly to candidates and parties that align with the reporter's political views. Forty-five percent said they think the average reporter is more liberal than they are, while only 18 percent said the average reporter is more conservative.

The full findings confirm the perception of liberal bias:

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 67% of Likely U.S. Voters believe that most reporters, when covering a politician campaign, try to help the candidate they want to win. Only 21% think most reporters put the emphasis instead on trying to offer unbiased coverage. Twelve percent (12%) are not sure.

Forty-eight percent (48%) also believe that most reporters would hide any damaging information they learned to help the candidate they wanted to win. Twenty-nine percent (29%) disagree and 23% are not sure.

A plurality (46%) of voters continues to feel that the average reporter is more liberal than they are. Eighteen percent (18%) say the average reporter is more conservative than they are, while 22% think their views are about the same. Fourteen percent (14%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Republicans and voters not affiliated with either of the major parties feel much more strongly than Democrats that most reporters try to help the candidate they want to win. Fifty-nine percent (59%) of Republicans and 58% of unaffiliated voters think most reporters would hold back news that might hurt a candidate they wanted to win, but a plurality (43%) of Democrats disagrees.

Americans see a bias in the media despite never-ending claims to political neutrality. What's more, as Rasmussen reminds us, respondents see media bias as a very significant threat to the integrity of American politics.

Fifty-five percent (55%) of voters said in an April 2010 survey that media bias is a bigger problem in politics today than big campaign contributions.

In mid-January, 56% of voters said the news coverage of the shooting of Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and the killing of six others in Arizona focused too much on the political implications…

Just before Election Day in November 2008, 51% of all voters believed most reporters were trying to help Barack Obama win the presidency.

The data point regarding campaign contributions is especially notable, since the very media that the American people say is a "problem in politics today" often push the notion that "money in politics" is a chief culprit. On yet another issue, then, the views of the media and those of a majority of Americans are divorced.