Reuters/Ipsos Data: Media Poll (02/28/2019)

Almost half of Americans do not have confidence in the press.

The author(s)

  • Annaleise Azevedo Lohr Senior Account Manager, US, Public Affairs
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Washington, D.C. -  A recent poll conducted by Ipsos, on behalf of Thomson Reuters, found that nearly half of Americans (46%) do not have any confidence in the press as an institution in America. Republicans (66%) and Independents (51%) are more likely to report they have hardly any confidence in the press than Democrats (26%). 

Half of Americans (50%) believe that the media reports major political news in a way that favors either the Republicans or Democrats and just 27% of Americans believe there is no partisan bias. The media is seen as favoring Democrats (38%) rather than Republicans (12%). Republicans are most likely to report that the Democrats are favored in reporting of major political stories (65%). Democrats are more likely to report that the media does not harbor a bias (42%). Independents are split - 30% believe reporting favors Democrats and 31% report believing there is no major bias. Nearly half of Americans (47%) believe that the media's reporting helps to keep the government accountable. This sentiment is more likely to be felt by Democrats (66%) when compared to Republicans (34%) or Independents (44%).

When it comes to journalistic ethics, Americans, especially Republicans, are cynical. A quarter of Americans (25%) believe that the media is paid by their sources very often, and 35% believe they get paid sometimes by their sources. Republicans are more likely than others to believe that sources get paid often (31%) or sometimes (39%) by the media. Democrats and Independents' sentiments mirror the public at large. Only 30% of Americans believe the media reports on facts regardless of their personal opinions. Republicans (20%) and Independents (25%) are less likely to believe this than Democrats (45%). Nearly half of Republicans (48%) strongly agree that the media is more interested in making money than telling the truth. Independents (28%) and Democrats (17%) are less likely to be skeptical of the media's motivations. Americans are less likely to believe important news stories if the sources for the stories are anonymous (41%), however 36% of Americans also reported that anonymous sources did not impact the believability of the story. Republicans are much more hesitant about anonymous sources (56%) than Democrats (32%) or Independents (41%). 

A plurality of Americans still get most of their news about current events and politics from television (40%), followed by the internet (28%). Twelve percent of Americans report receiving their news from social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. One fifth of Americans (22%) report that Fox News is their main source for television news, followed by CNN (15%). Republicans are far more likely to watch Fox News (38%) than Democrats (10%) or Independents (16%). Democrats are more likely to report getting their news from CNN (24%) than Republicans (9%) or Independents (9%).

About this Study

These are findings from an Ipsos poll conducted for Thomson Reuters between December 7-20, 2018. For the survey, a sample of 4,214 Americans, including 1, 657 Democrats, 1,505 Republicans, and 585 Independents ages 18+ were interviewed online. The precision of the Reuters/Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 1.7 percentage points for all adults, 2.7 percentage points for Democrats, 2.9 percentage points for Republicans, and 4.6 percentage points for Independents. For more information about credibility intervals, please see the appendix.

The data were weighted to the U.S. current population data by gender, age, education, and ethnicity. Statistical margins of error are not applicable to online polls. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error and measurement error. Figures marked by an asterisk (*) indicate a percentage value of greater than zero but less than one half of one per cent. Where figures do not sum to 100, this is due to the effects of rounding. To see more information on this and other Reuters/Ipsos polls, please visit http://polling.reuters.com/.

For more information on this news release please contact:

Chris Jackson
Vice President, U.S.
Ipsos Public Affairs
202.420.2011
clifford.young@ipsos.com

Annaleise Azevedo Lohr
Senior Account Manager, U.S.
Ipsos Public Affairs
annaleise.lohr@ipsos.com

About Ipsos Public Affairs

Ipsos Public Affairs is a non-partisan, objective, survey-based research practice made up of seasoned professionals. We conduct strategic research initiatives for a diverse number of American and international organizations, based not only on public opinion research, but elite stakeholder, corporate, and media opinion research.

Ipsos has media partnerships with the most prestigious news organizations around the world. In Canada, the U.S., UK, and internationally, Ipsos Public Affairs is the media polling supplier to Reuters News, the world's leading source of intelligent information for businesses and professionals. Ipsos Public Affairs is a member of the Ipsos Group, a leading global survey-based market research company. We provide boutique-style customer service and work closely with our clients, while also undertaking global research.

About Ipsos

Ipsos is an independent market research company controlled and managed by research professionals. Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos has grown into a worldwide research group with a strong presence in all key markets. Ipsos ranks fourth in the global research industry.

With offices in 89 countries, Ipsos delivers insightful expertise across five research specializations: brand, advertising and media; customer loyalty; marketing; public affairs research; and survey management.

Ipsos researchers assess market potential and interpret market trends. They develop and build brands. They help clients build long-term relationships with their customers. They test advertising and study audience responses to various media and they measure public opinion around the globe.

Ipsos has been listed on the Paris Stock Exchange since 1999 and generated global revenues of €1,749.5 million in 2018.

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The author(s)

  • Annaleise Azevedo Lohr Senior Account Manager, US, Public Affairs

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