Polls have a way at times of not revealing the whole truth. The top line numbers take precedent, and that’s what people focus on because it demands the bulk of the attention. The untold story usually gets buried in the crosstabs or another area of the poll that doesn’t stand out immediately.
Monmouth University has established itself as a significant player in the realm of political polling. Neil wrote about one of their latest polls, citing the distrust the American public has with the mainstream media. Distrust of the press keeps growing, and it certainly does not help that Trump’s core supporters believe every word he says. Therefore, when Trump yelps about “fake news,” his most loyal fans go right along with him.
The Trump effect on the media is palpable. But it’s not just Trump. Hillary Clinton and her supporters have spent every day since election day, complaining about media coverage, especially as it relates to her email scandal. As such, we see numbers like this:
A plurality of the public (42%) say that traditional news media sources report fake news on purpose in order to push an agenda.
42 percent.That is a remarkable number. It’s not a situation where people think the news media get it wrong. They believe entirely made up stories get pushed out to serve an agenda. That’s not a good sign. Granted, the press has itself to blame for much of that as its wounds are often self-inflicted, but it’s still very troubling.
So what does that have to do with President Trump? Once you read through the release all the way through, you’ll get to this:
The Monmouth University Poll also finds that Pres. Trump is trusted less as source of information than three cable news outlets – except if you ask Republicans. Nearly half the American public (48%) trusts CNN more than Trump, compared with one-third (35%) who trust Trump more than CNN and another 13% who trust both equally as a source of information. The results are similar when Trump is pitted against the left-leaning MSNBC – 45% trust MSNBC more, 32% trust Trump more, and 16% trust both equally. The right-leaning Fox News also bests the president as a trusted information source – 30% trust Fox more and 20% trust Trump more, although a plurality of 37% trust both equally.
It’s easy to write these results as “fake news.” If there’s one thing Trump supporters are good at, it’s whistling past the graveyard. Yes, once you throw out the Republican responses and Democratic responses which are sure to base their outlook on ideology alone, it leaves the independents. And that’s where Trump is in trouble.
When asked who do they trust more, CNN or Trump, 47 percent of them said, CNN.
When asked who they trust more, MSNBC or Trump, 44 percent of them said, MSNBC.
As for Fox News, 37 percent said they trust both Fox and Trump equally. Whether that’s a good or bad number, remains to be seen.
It’s not good news for Trump on the trust issue. Remember that 42 percent who said traditional news media outlets report fake news on purpose to advance an agenda? The breakdown by party ID on that question went like this: 63 percent of Republicans said yes. 24 percent of Democrats said yes. 42 percent of Independents said yes.
Let that sink in: 42 percent of independents think news outlets concoct news out of thin air to advance an agenda and yet they still trust those media outlets more than Trump.
It may be too early for there to be consequences at the ballot box. But people keep cheering on Trump when he’s ranting about the “fake news” while ignoring the overall effect it has on the public. They may have to learn the hard way.
The hard way? Speaker Pelosi.