New Survey of 1,000 Journalists: Four Times More Identify as Democrats Than Republicans

In a just-released survey conducted in late 2013, of 1,080 television network, print and online journalists, 28 percent self-identified as Democrats and only one-fourth as many, a piddling seven percent, called themselves Republican. That four-to-one disparity is up from two-to-one (36 to 18 percent) in the same poll taken in 2002, as the share of Republicans has plunged by 11 points.
   
The numbers come from “The American Journalist in the Digital Age,” the latest in a decennial poll of journalists conducted, since the early 1970s, by the School of Journalism at Indiana University.

The biggest change since the previous survey eleven years earlier came in the percent who maintained they are “independents,” not a surprise since you’d expect some liberals in the media to pretend they are something else so such polls as this would under-count liberals. From the press release: “In 2013, about half of all journalists (50.2 percent) said they were political independents, up about 18 percentage points from 2002.”

The make up of the poll, overseen by Professor Emeritus David Weaver and Professor Lars Willnat: “The random sample of 1,080 included 358 daily newspaper journalists, 238 from weekly newspapers, 132 from television stations and networks, 97 from radio, 92 from online news organizations, 103 from the wire services and 60 from news magazines.”

From section 9, “More Journalists Say They Are Independents,” in the PDF with a rundown of the key findings:

Compared with 2002, the percentage of full-time U.S. journalists who claim to be Democrats has dropped 8 percentage points in 2013 to about 28 percent, moving this figure closer to the overall population percentage of 30 percent, according to a December 12-15, 2013, ABC News/Washington Post national poll of 1,005 adults. This is the lowest percentage of journalists saying they are Democrats since 1971.

An even larger drop was observed among journalists who said they were Republicans in 2013 (7.1 percent) than in 2002 (18 percent), but the 2013 figure is still notably lower than the percentage of U.S. adults who identified with the Republican Party (24 percent according to the poll mentioned above).

About half of all journalists (50.2 percent) said they were independents, which is 10 percentage points above the figure for all U.S. adults (40 percent).

Overall, U.S. journalists today are much more likely to identify themselves as independents rather than Democrats or Republicans — a pattern not observed before 2002.

The MRC’s “Media Bias 101,” compiled by the MRC’s Rich Noyes, with a dozen past polls revealing the political views and voting habits of those in the news media. It includes summaries of the 1982 and 1992 Indiana University polls.

Update, May 12: “Bernard Goldberg: ‘Ridiculous’ 50% of Journalists Are Independents, Likely 85% Voted for Obama

Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center