A new nationwide Zogby poll® of 1,024 likely voters in the U.S., conducted 11/7/18 to 11/8/18 with a margin of error of +/-3.1%, shows voters feel the mainstream media plays a role in dividing Americans.
*Percentages may not equal 100% due to rounding.
Based on the results of the recent mid-term election in the U.S., in which the Democrats took back control of the House and the Republicans regained a majority in the Senate, suffice it to say, Americans are politically divided. The country is also divided as to who should shoulder the blame: There are some people who feel racial, gender, and political issues are made worse by the coverage of the mainstream media, while there are others who feel the divide we currently suffer from is the result of President Trump's rhetoric.
In order to determine who voters blame more, we asked likely voters in separate questions, "Do you agree or disagree: The mainstream media/President Trump has played a major role in dividing Americans along racial, gender and political lines. This has led to a spread of hate and misunderstanding among some people."
It's no surprise that strong majorities blame both the mainstream media and Trump: Nearly three-quarters agreed (strongly and somewhat agree combined) that the mainstream media plays a major role in the spread of hate, while only 29% disagreed with this notion. This was more than the two-thirds of respondents, who felt the same about President Trump, while one-third disagreed. We will get into the specific details of the president's role, regarding America's political divide, in our next release.
The intense feelings about the mainstream media, and the political divide they play a role in, were common among many different demographics. But there were instances where some groups agreed or disagreed more or less. There were also some instances of demographics agreeing with each other, which rarely do, when it comes to politics and social issues. Men (70% agree) and women (73% agree) were very much in agreement (strongly and somewhat agree combined) about the role the mainstream media plays in dividing the public and spreading hate.
While both genders were in agreement, generational age groups had an inverse relationship. Interestingly, younger voters age 18-24 and age 18-29 (81-82% strongly and somewhat agree/18-19% strongly and somewhat disagree) were much more likely to blame the media for spreading hate and misunderstanding than older voters age 65+ (62% strongly and somewhat agree/38% strongly and somewhat disagree) and age 70+ (67% strongly and somewhat agree/33% strongly and somewhat disagree).
Party identification was also another area, where there were major differences in the intensity of how voters felt about the mainstream media's role in spreading hate among voters. Republicans (94% agree/6% agree) were almost twice as likely to agree compared to Democrats (51% agree/49% disagree) with the media's role in dividing voters and spreading hate. Independents were more in line with voters overall: 74% agreed and 26% disagreed.
When it came to the race of voters, there were some differences in how voters felt about the mainstream media's role in spreading hate. White (76% agree/24% disagree) and Hispanic (64% agree/36% disagree) voters were more likely to agree that the mainstream media plays a part in spreading hate and misunderstanding, while black voters were most likely to disagree (54% agree/46% disagree).
Not surprisingly, the groups who are ardent Trump supporters, and who are among unique swing voter groups that the Zogby poll tracks-frequent Amazon shoppers (79% agree/22% disagree), frequent Walmart shoppers (79% agree/21% disagree) and NASCAR fans (77% agree/23% disagree)-were some of the groups who felt strongest about the media's role spreading hate and misunderstanding.
Income and geography did not figure into how voters felt about the mainstream media, each variable within these sub-groups were emphatic that the mainstream media plays a role in spreading hate and misunderstanding. Voters who earn a household income of <$25k, $100k-$150k, voters who live in large cities, and rural areas, were all in agreement (72%-77% agree/23-28% disagree) that the mainstream media is divisive.
It must also be noted that majorities of voters in many of the same groups that felt the mainstream media spreads hate and misunderstanding, also felt that President Trump is responsible for the spread of hate and misunderstanding, but more voters overall, and in most sub-groups, blame the media slightly more!