President-elect Donald Trump, who devoted much of his campaign to railing against the media, has shown no signs that he’s planning to stop. In a tweet Monday, he accused reporters of failing to cover him “accurately” or “honorably.”
More than four in 10 Americans, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov survey, agree with Trump that he’s faced unduly negative coverage. A similar percentage, though, say Trump’s behavior toward the media has been unacceptable as well.
A 41 percent plurality of Americans think media coverage of Trump has been generally too negative, with 17 percent saying it’s been too positive and 23 percent that it’s been about right.
But many are also uncomfortable with the way Trump has interacted with the press. Forty-three percent say the way Trump treats journalists is unacceptable, while just 33 percent think he treats them in an acceptable way.
A majority of Trump voters say that if a national media outlet reported that Trump said something untrue, they would be more inclined to believe him than the news.
Eighty-three percent of Americans who think Trump is covered too positively and 54 percent of those who think he’s covered about right also think that Trump’s treatment of the media is unacceptable. Sixty-one percent of those who think the press is too negative about Trump, by contrast, also find his behavior toward journalists acceptable.
Unsurprisingly, opinions are deeply divided along political lines.
Eighty-seven percent of Trump voters, but just 16 percent of Clinton voters, think that media coverage of Trump has been too negative. Eighty-one percent of Americans who voted for Trump believe his treatment of the press is acceptable, while just 9 percent of those who voted for Clinton say the same.
As Trump prepares to take office, many media outlets have grappled with the challenge of covering a president-elect willing to traffic in blatantly untruthful statements.
“When president-elect Trump lies so casually, so cynically, the news isn’t so much the false thing he said. It’s that he felt like he could just go ahead and say it, go ahead and lie to you. That’s the story,” CNN’s Brian Stelter said Sunday, noting Trump’s false claim that he had won in a landslide.
As another survey question suggests, that difficulty is compounded by the fact that many of Trump’s supporters, deeply suspicious of the press, are likely to take his word over that of a media fact-checker.
A 56 percent majority of Trump voters say that if a national media outlet reported that Trump said something untrue, they would be more inclined to believe him than the news outlet. Just 2 percent say they’d believe the media, with another 38 percent saying it depends on what the story is.
In contrast, just 2 percent of Americans who voted for Clinton say they’d be inclined to believe Trump’s side of the argument, while 52 percent said they’d be more likely to believe the media, and 37 percent that it depends.
The HuffPost/YouGov poll consisted of 1,000 completed interviews conducted Nov. 24-Nov. 28 among U.S. adults, using a sample selected from YouGov’s opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population.
The Huffington Post has teamed up with YouGov to conduct daily opinion polls.You can learn more about this project and take part in YouGov’s nationally representative opinion polling. Data from all HuffPost/YouGov polls can be found here. More details on the polls’ methodology are available here.
Most surveys report a margin of error that represents some, but not all, potential survey errors. YouGov’s reports include a model-based margin of error, which rests on a specific set of statistical assumptions about the selected sample, rather than the standard methodology for random probability sampling. If these assumptions are wrong, the model-based margin of error may also be inaccurate. Click here for a more detailed explanation of the model-based margin of error.