Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Who Do Voters Trust? Media, Politicians or None

President Donald Trump and his political and media supporters have been preaching against the "fake news." What impact has that had on voters? How much do voters trust the media vs. politicians? One year after Trump's victory, the Elections Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison commissioned a national survey to find out whom Trump supporters trust and how that confidence is related to whom the American people want to make political decisions. While support from Republicans clearly remains key to Trump’s chances for success, the survey reveals that party is less important than Trump's cult of personality. A representative sample of 2,000 Americans was asked, “When the news media and politicians disagree about the facts of a situation, which one are you more likely to trust?” and 70% of the public still chose the media. However, among those Americans who approved of President Trump’s job performance (about 38% of the sample), 80% said they trusted politicians over the news media. These were largely, but not exclusively, white men. Yet these same Trump supporters do not trust politicians in general with making important decisions about how our democracy works. Survey respondents were asked who they thought should be making our political decisions—ordinary people, politicians, or an equal mix of the two—and 69% preferred an equal mix. More surprisingly, only 6% of those who said they trusted politicians over the media (overwhelmingly Trump supporters) also said they wanted those same politicians making decisions about running the country. This suggests that Trump’s support is less about partisan loyalty or adherence to a philosophy of democratic governance than it is about confidence in Trump himselfand even that support has been dwindling to historic lows. It also suggests that Republican politicians hoping to ride Trump's coattails in the 2018 midterm elections may be in for a bumpy ride as they court his "base." For more, see https://www.vox.com/mischiefs-of-faction/2017/11/21/16684474/trump-voters-media-trust

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