70% of Americans Believe Reporters Try to Help Their Candidates Win

Although the results of a new poll may not be surprising to NewsBusters readers, it is nonetheless shocking to actually see it in print: 68 percent of Americans "believe most reporters try to help the candidate that they want to win."

Even more predictable given how obvious it's been, a majority of respondents also felt Barack Obama has gotten the best press coverage so far during the campaign.

Such are the findings of a new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey just announced moments ago (emphasis added throughout):

Just 17% of voters nationwide believe that most reporters try to offer unbiased coverage of election campaigns. A Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that four times as many—68%--believe most reporters try to help the candidate that they want to win.

The perception that reporters are advocates rather than observers is held by 82% of Republicans, 56% of Democrats, and 69% of voters not affiliated with either major party. The skepticism about reporters cuts across income, racial, gender, and age barriers.

As for who they're in the tank for:

Voters have little doubt as to who is benefitting from the media coverage this year—Barack Obama. Fifty-four percent (54%) say Obama has gotten the best coverage so far. Twenty-two percent (22%) say McCain has received the most favorable coverage while 14% say that Hillary got the best treatment.

And, respondents seem very concerned about how such bias will impact the upcoming elections:

Looking ahead to the fall campaign, 44% believe most reporters will try to help Obama while only 13% believe that most will try to help McCain. Twenty-four percent (24%) are optimistic enough to believe that most reporters will try to offer unbiased coverage.

Even Democrats tend to believe their candidate will receive better treatment—27% of those in Obama’s party believe most reporters will try to help him win while only 16% believe they will help McCain. A plurality of Democrats—34%--believe most reporters will be unbiased.

Among unaffiliated voters, 44% believe reporters will try to help Obama and 14% believe they will try to help McCain. Seventy percent (70%) of Republicans expect Obama to receive preferential treatment while only 8% believe reporters will try to help McCain.

Press members around the country should be ashamed of these findings...assuming humility is something such folks possess.

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.