Study: Donald Trump’s Polls Improve Despite 90% Negative Media Coverage

President Donald Trump speaks to reporters before boarding Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Friday, Feb. 23, 2018, to travel to Oxon Hill, Md. to speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
AP/Andrew Harnik

President Trump experienced an increase in the polls for the first four months of this year, even though 90 percent of broadcast news coverage of him during that period was negative, according to a study.

The study from the Media Research Center (MRC) looked at how each of the major broadcast networks covered Trump from January 1, 2018, to April 30, 2018, and found that 90 percent of the comments about Trump on those programs were negative.

“The coverage totaled a whopping 1,774 minutes, or roughly one-third of all evening news airtime,” said Rich Noyes, a senior analyst at the Media Research Center.

But it seems that despite the negative news coverage, Trump is prevailing in the polls. Trump’s job approval rating jumped from 37 percent in December 2017 to 43 percent in April 2018, according to a RealClearPolitics average of the top pollsters.

Some topics covered on the networks seemed to be more negative than others. MRC’s analysts found that 98 percent of network news coverage of controversies such as the Russia investigation tended to be negative.

Coverage of the president’s policy issues tended to be overwhelmingly negative on social issues such as gun control—where 96 percent of those stories featured the president in a negative light. But coverage of policy issues regarding the economy tended to be slightly more positive, where seven out of ten stories featured negative coverage.

“There’s no precedent for a president receiving such a sustained level of negative press over such a long period of time,” Noyes said. “The fact that the public has become more favorable towards the president in this environment is the latest sign that the media watchdog’s bite isn’t as menacing as their bark suggests.”

Trump’s rise in the polls has even prompted the pollsters to question their data. Reuters/Ipsos announced it would re-evaluate its data on its latest poll after noticing a spike in the president’s approval rating on April 27.


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