Swing-voting independents are twice as likely to trust President Donald Trump’s administration than to trust the media, according to a new poll by Fox News.
The lopsided 52 percent to 26 percent trust in Trump is hidden in the crosstabs of the poll, which was released Feb. 17. Overall, by a narrow margin of 45 percent to 42 percent, Americans think Trump is more likely to tell the truth than are reporters.
But that topline result is skewed by sharply skewed partisan opinions. Only 8 percent of Democratic voters trust Trump more than reporters, and only 9 percent of Republican voters trust the media reporters more than Trump.
So the 52 percent pro-Trump to 26 percent pro-media attitudes among independent-minded swing voters push the final result into Trump’s favor — and also give him a political and electoral advantage as the left-leaning established media repeatedly slams Trump, his deputies and his popular policies, such as curbs on immigration.
Those February 2017 numbers show a huge shift from past polls when the public trusted politicians much less than journalists.
In a June 2006 poll cited by Fox, 5 percent of respondents said they have more trust in government officials, 40 percent said they more trust in journalists and 26 percent said they trusted neither.
In an October 1997 poll cited by Fox, only 6 percent of respondents said they trusted politicians more than journalists, 61 percent said they trusted journalists more than politicians, and 20 percent said they trusted neither.
So the 2017 numbers show journalists have lost one-third of their trust level, or 19 points, from the 1997 level of 61 percent to the 2017 level of 42 percent.
The Fox news poll is validated by a recent poll from Emerson College.
The poll also shows that the public believes the media is far tougher on Trump than it was on President Barack Obama. Sixty-eight percent of the respondents told Fox News that the media has been tougher on Trump compared to Obama, while only 18 percent believe they have been easier on Trump. Twelve percent said they were treated equally.
Still, despite the skepticism towards the media, a solid majority of Americans want the media to push Trump hard. Fifty-five percent say the media should “cover the president aggressively,” while 38 percent say the president should be given the benefit of the doubt.
The telephone poll of 1,013 registered voters was conducted Feb. 11 to Feb. 13.