Sunday, July 27, 2008

Belief Growing That Reporters are Trying to Help Obama Win

Original Link:

The idea that reporters are trying to help Obama win in November has grown by five percentage points over the past month. The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey, taken just before the new controversy involving the New York Times erupted, found that 49% of voters believe most reporters will try to help the Democrat with their coverage, up from 44% a month ago.

Just 14% believe most reporters will try to help McCain win, little changed from 13% a month ago. Just one voter in four (24%) believes that most reporters will try to offer unbiased coverage.

The New York Times’ refusal to run an op-ed piece by John McCain challenging an article in the paper less than a week ago by Barack Obama is sure to further fuel the belief that much of the major media is biased in favor of the Democratic candidate. At issue is McCain’s response to an article by Obama entitled, “My Plan for Iraq.” Obama was in Afghanistan over the weekend and in Iraq today attempting to build his foreign policy portfolio for the fall campaign.

A Rasmussen Reports survey earlier this year found that just 24% of American voters have a favorable opinion of the New York Times. The paper’s ratings divided sharply along partisan and ideological lines, with liberals far more supportive of the paper than conservatives.

At the time of that survey, the paper was being criticized for an article it had run about McCain’s ties to lobbyists. Sixty-six percent (66%) of those who were aware of the story in question believed it was an attempt by the New York Times to hurt the McCain campaign.

In the latest survey, a plurality of Democrats—37%-- say most reporters try to offer unbiased coverage of the campaign. Twenty-seven percent (27%) believe most reporters are trying to help Obama and 21% in Obama’s party think reporters are trying to help the Republican candidate.

Among Republicans, 78% believe reporters are trying to help Obama and 10% see most offering unbiased coverage.

As for unaffiliated voters, 50% see a pro-Obama bias and 21% see unbiased coverage. Just 12% of those not affiliated with either major party believe the reporters are trying to help McCain.

In a more general sense, 45% say that most reporters would hide information if it hurt the candidate they wanted to win. Just 30% disagree and 25% are not sure. Democrats are evenly divided as to whether a reporter would release such information while Republicans and unaffiliated voters have less confidence in the reporters.

Republicans and unaffiliated voters are more likely to trust campaign information from family and friends than from reporters. Democrats are evenly divided as to who they would trust more.

A separate survey released this morning also found that 50% of voters believe most reporters want to make the economy seem worse than it is. A plurality believes that the media has also tried to make the war in Iraq appear worse that it really is.

A survey conducted earlier this year found that 30% of voters believe having a friendly reporter is more valuable than raising a lot of campaign contributions.. Twenty-nine percent (29%) believe contributions are more important and 40% are not sure.

These results are consistent with earlier surveys finding that large segments of the population believe the media is biased It is also clear that voters select their news sources in a partisan manner. During Election 2004, CNN viewers heavily favored John Kerry while Fox Fans preferred George W. Bush.

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