Poll Shows 46 Percent Want Stephanopoulos Out of Campaign Coverage

May 19th, 2015 5:50 PM

If it weren't for bad luck, senior ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos would have no luck at all.

According to a poll released Tuesday by Rasmussen Reports, a plurality of 46 percent of likely voters think that the co-host of the weekday Good Morning America program and This Week, a Sunday news and interview show, should be banned from any coverage of the 2016 presidential campaign.

The survey of 1,000 likely voters was conducted by telephone May 17-18 and measured the reaction after Stephanopoulos revealed he had not disclosed his donation of $75,000 to the Clinton Foundation while former first lady, senator and secretary of state Hillary Clinton is running for the White House.

In addition, the ABC News host hammered Peter Schweizer during an interview in April with the author of Clinton Cash, a book critical of the foundation and the millions of dollars it takes in from dubious sources.

Still, Stephanopoulos can take a minuscule tidbit of comfort from the poll since his disapproval rating did not exceed 50 percent. In addition, 36 percent of those surveyed disagreed with the premise, and 18 percent were undecided.

It came as no surprise that 66 percent of Republicans were critical of Stephanopoulos, and 45 percent of unaffiliated voters agreed that the ABC anchor should not cover any aspect of the upcoming presidential campaign.

Among Democrats, 30 percent stated that Stephanopoulos should be banned from covering the presidential race, but 50 percent disagree while 20 percent are undecided.

The survey also resulted in some interesting findings. For example, 34 percent of all voters said they are less likely to believe the reporting on ABC News because Stephanopoulos failed to disclose this conflict of interest.

Even more curious was the determination that 16 percent stated they are actually more likely to believe in ABC News’ reporting, while 42 percent asserted that the incident will have no impact on their confidence in the network's reporting.

Thirty-four percent of voters said they have a favorable opinion of Stephanopoulos, which is down from 45 percent in February and includes an 11 percent very favorable opinion. Thirty-nine percent view him unfavorably, with 18 percent who hold a very unfavorable view.

Still, the ABC anchor wasn't the only recipient of bad news from the poll, which had a +/-3 percent margin of error.

Only 19 percent of Americans said they get most of their news from one of the three traditional networks: ABC, CBS and NBC. Sixty-nine percent regard the news reported by the media as at least somewhat trustworthy, but that includes only 20 percent who think it is very trustworthy.

Meanwhile, 41 percent of Republicans are less likely now to trust ABC’s reporting, compared to 32 percent of Democrats and 30 percent of unaffiliated voters.

On another topic, 48 percent of those polled said they think media bias is a bigger problem in politics today than big campaign contributions, but nearly as many -- 44 percent -- see campaign cash as the larger problem.

Thirty-seven percent of Americans believe the average media reporter is more liberal than they are, while just 18 percent consider any reporter more conservative.

Getting back to Hillary Clinton, almost two-thirds (63 percent) of those surveyed think it's likely some actions she took as secretary of state were influenced by donations made to the Clinton Foundation. This number included 42 percent who believe it's very likely that happened.

As Obama administration officials wrestle with the news media and congressional investigators over releasing Clinton's e-mail from her days as secretary of state, voters are growing more suspicious that she has something to hide.

Nevertheless, 57 percent say that Hillary Clinton is likely to be the next president.

Meanwhile, John Nolte -- editor-at-large of the Breitbart.com website -- stated: “The overall credibility of the face and name of ABC News has ... taken a substantial hit” due to Stephanopoulos's failure to disclose his donation.

Nolte also called the poll results “a credibility crisis every bit as crippling as the one NBC's Brian Williams went through earlier this year.”

He added:

What should be especially worrying for ABC News is how closely these numbers mirror the credibility collapse Brian Williams faced after his "serial fabrications" were exposed back in February.

Forty percent of Americans said Williams “had to go.” As mentioned above, a full 46 percent want Stephanopoulos off the 2016 campaign beat.

As NewsBusters previously reported, the ABC anchor has apologized -- twice -- for making the “mistake” of donating a substantial amount when “I should have gone the extra mile to avoid even the appearance of a conflict.”

Will Stephanopoulos survive this crisis? That might depend on whether a rare bit of good luck comes his way.