New Pew Research Poll: 38% of Americans Give the Press a Big Fat 'F' for Campaign Coverage

November 21st, 2016 8:07 PM

Evidence keeps piling up that the American people have a very low opinion of how the media reports on our elections. The latest Pew Research Center opinion survey revealed “Just 22% give the press a grade of an A or B, while 38% give it a failing grade” – an F.

The approval of the media has been declining for years. After the 2004 re-election of George W. Bush, 33 percent of voters gave the press an A or a B, compared to just 16 percent picking “F.” In 2008, the gap between A/B and F shrunk to ten points (34 to 24), and then to five points in 2012 (31 to 26 percent).

In the new poll, 60 percent of Trump supporters gave the press an F:

Voters who back Republican candidates have long been highly critical of the press, but this marks the first time a majority of any presidential candidate’s supporters has “failed” the press for its campaign conduct. In 2008, 44% of McCain voters gave the press a grade of F, as did 45% of Romney voters four years ago.

Clinton supporters grade the press much more positively. Nearly four-in-ten (38%) give the press an A or B, 26% grade it at C, 20% at D and just 15% give it a failing grade. Still, fewer Clinton supporters give the press an A or B when compared with Obama supporters in 2008 (53% A or B) and 2012 (48%).

Voters also told the Pew pollsters the press has too much influence:  57 percent said it had too much influence on the outcome of the election. Just 27 percent the press felt it had the right amount of influence on the election, while 13 percent said it had too little influence. About six in ten Trump voters (62%) said the press had too much influence, as did 50 percent of Clinton voters.

Survey respondents were more negative about the press than they were about the pollsters who didn't predict the result correctly: 21 percent gave them an A or B, while 30 percent gave them an F.