Poll: 46 percent think media make up stories about Trump – Politico


President Donald Trump is pictured. | Getty Images

During an exchange with reporters outside the White House in October, President Donald Trump called NBC News “fake news” after the agency reported tension between Trump and Secretary of State Rex Rex Tillerson. | Alex Edelman/AFP/Getty Images

But voters diverge from the president on whether the federal government should be able to punish news organizations that he believes make up stories about him.

Nearly half of voters, 46 percent, believe the news media fabricate news stories about President Donald Trump and his administration, according to a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll.

Just 37 percent of voters think the media do not fabricate stories, the poll shows, while the remaining 17 percent are undecided.

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More than three-quarters of Republican voters, 76 percent, think the news media invent stories about Trump and his administration, compared with only 11 percent who don’t think so. Among Democrats, one-in-five think the media make up stories, but a 65 percent majority think they do not. Forty-four percent of independent voters think the media make up stories about Trump, and 31 percent think they do not.

Among the voters who strongly approve of Trump’s job performance in the poll, 85 percent believe the media fabricate stories about the president and his administration.

Trump last week accused NBC News of concocting a report that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had called Trump a “moron” and threatened to resign earlier this year. (Tillerson denies he intended to quit but has not personally disavowed the “moron” allegation.) After NBC reported that Tillerson’s comments came after a meeting in which Trump suggested a broad increase in the U.S. nuclear arsenal, Trump called it “[p]ure fiction, made up to demean” him.

Throughout his young presidency — and during his campaign, as well — Trump has attacked media organizations that air or publish coverage critical of him and people in his orbit. On Tuesday, after the POLITICO/Morning Consult poll had left the field, Trump told a radio interviewer he thought news coverage of his administration would be more favorable.

“Actually, dishonesty in the media is one of the things that surprised me the most,” the president told radio host Chris Plante. “I thought after I won, the media would become much more stable and much more honest. They’ve gone crazy. CNN is a joke. NBC is a total joke. You watch what they report, it bears no relationship to what I’m doing. But the media is absolutely dishonest — and frankly, I’ve never seen anything quite like it.”

Later in the day he hammered home the point via his favored medium. “So much Fake News being put in dying magazines and newspapers,” Trump tweeted. “Only place worse may be @NBCNews, @CBSNews, @ABC and @CNN. Fiction writers!”

But voters diverge from the president on whether the federal government should be able to punish news organizations that he believes make up stories about him. Trump last week suggested the government could revoke NBC’s broadcast licenses.

Only 28 percent think the government should have the power to revoke broadcast licenses of major news organizations that it says are fabricating news stories about a president or the administration, while 51 percent think the government should not be able to do that. Another 21 percent are undecided.

Voters are split along party lines on this question, too. More than two-thirds of Democrats, 68 percent, think the federal government should not have the power to revoke broadcast licenses of those organizations. But more Republicans, 46 percent, think the government should have that power than the third of GOP voters who don’t think so.

“Voters, particularly Trump supporters, have become disenchanted with the national media,” said Kyle Dropp, chief research officer and co-founder of Morning Consult. “Even 20 percent of Democrats think that the national media fabricate stories on President Trump and his administration. That being said, many are still not willing to let the federal government censor the media.”

Overall, Trump’s job-approval rating sits at 44 percent in the new survey, up slightly from 42 percent last week. A 51 percent majority disapproves of Trump’s job performance, down a tick from 53 percent last week.

The poll also surveyed voters on Trump’s relationship with congressional Republicans — an affiliation ruptured in recent weeks after public spats with Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.). GOP voters mostly take Trump’s side: Majorities say the president is more in touch with the American people than congressional Republicans and better aligned with their own principles by identical, 33-point margins, 58 percent to 25 percent.

GOP voters generally downplay the extent of the rift. Asked whether Republicans in Congress support Trump, 51 percent of GOP voters say they do, and 35 percent say they do not. Similarly, 53 percent of GOP voters think Republicans in Congress support Trump’s legislative agenda, compared with 32 percent who think they don’t.

The poll was conducted October 12-16, surveying 1,991 registered voters. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 2 percentage points.

Morning Consult is a nonpartisan media and technology company that provides data-driven research and insights on politics, policy and business strategy.

More details on the poll and its methodology can be found in these two documents — Toplines: http://politi.co/2xMOykV | Crosstabs: http://politi.co/2kU6DYm