February 28, 2017
2/28: Many Americans Distrust Trump Administration to Provide Facts … More Likely to Trust Fave Media Source
Nearly six in ten Americans, 59%, report that they have little, if any, trust in President Donald Trump and his administration to deliver accurate and factual information to the public. This includes nearly four in ten, 38%, who have no trust at all in the administration to do so and 21% who have little faith in the White House to provide accurate information. Only 17% have a great deal of trust in the information provided by the Trump administration. An additional 22% have a good amount of confidence in Trump and his staff to be factual in their communication with the public.
Partisan politics are in play. Most Democrats, 89%, distrust the information coming out of the Trump White House while most Republicans, 88%, trust those details. Nearly six in ten independents, 59%, doubt the veracity of the information disseminated by the Trump administration. The public’s distrust of the communication coming from the Trump White House spans race, age, and gender. At least a majority in each group says they have little, if any, trust in its factual accuracy.
“The majority of Americans, fueled by Democrats and independents, think President Trump is overplaying his hand when conflicts occur between the White House and the press,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “Perhaps even more telling though, is that people are more likely to believe their news source of choice than the president.”
By more than two-to-one, Americans are more likely to say that they trust their favorite news source, 67%, than Donald Trump, 28%. With the exception of Republicans, 68%, those who supported Trump in the presidential election, 68%, Tea Party supporters, 56%, and conservatives, 53%, who place more faith in the president, at least a majority of U.S. residents say they trust their favorite news source more than they trust the president. Of note, white evangelical Christians divide with 49% saying they trust their favorite news source and 45% reporting they trust Trump.
A plurality of Americans cite television, 44%, as their favorite source of news followed by online news or mobile apps, 25%, social media, 12%, radio, 11%, and newspapers or magazines, 7%. One percent mentions another source.
While President Trump has leveraged Twitter to communicate directly with the American people, about two-thirds of Americans, 66%, consider his use of the social media tool to be reckless and distracting. One in four, 25%, consider it to be effective and informative. While Americans under the age of 45 years old are more than five times as likely as their older counterparts to turn to social media to get their news, residents under 45 years of age, 72%, are more likely than their elders, 60%, to describe Trump’s use of Twitter to be a negative mode of communication. Here, too, a partisan divide exists, but while Democrats, 89%, overwhelmingly consider President Trump’s Twitter use to be reckless and distracting, a majority of Republicans, 54%, call it effective and informative. Of note, nearly three in ten, 29%, consider Trump’s tweets to be reckless and distracting.
Has President Trump given the American media a raw deal? A plurality of residents, 44%, assert Trump has been too tough on the media while 27% say he has not been tough enough. 23% report the president’s dealings with the press are “about right.”
Looking at party, about two-thirds of Democrats, 66%, say Trump has been too tough on the press. There is less agreement among Republicans. A plurality of Republicans, 45%, do not think Trump has gone far enough in his interactions with the media. 34% say his interactions are “about right” while 15% think President Trump has gone too far.
Views about how the media has treated President Trump splinter. 37% say the news media has been too tough on the president while 32% believe they have not been tough enough. 24% think the news media has been appropriate in how they report on President Trump. These findings are driven by a large partisan divide. Nearly three in four Republicans, 74%, say the media has been too tough in their coverage of the president. Among Democrats, nearly half, 49%, do not think they have gone far enough. An additional 33% of Democrats think the press has been appropriate in their coverage of Trump.
Has Saturday Night Live’s political satire crossed the line? A majority of Americans don’t think so. 54% think the show’s jokes and skits are funny. 33% believe it goes too far, and 14% are unsure.