In broad terms, Idahoans have less trust in the various forms of media news than do Americans as a whole, a new Idaho Politics Weekly poll shows.
IPW compared the new Dan Jones & Associates survey on the news media with a recently-completed Gallup Poll nationwide.
The questions aren’t exactly the same, still it is clear that Idahoans are skeptical of their national and local news sources, Jones finds.
On a scale of 1-5, with 1 and 2 being not confident in the societal institution of newspapers, TV news and internet news, 3 being neutral on the subjects, and 4 and 5 being confident in the institutions, Jones measured how Idahoans feel about any number of entities in the public realm.
Gallup asked about the news media in general.
As you can see in this Gallup report, only 40 percent of Americans trust the news media.
Jones finds even more skepticism among Idahoans:
- Only 25 percent have confidence in newspapers; 31 percent are neutral in their trust of newspapers; and 41 percent don’t have confidence in newspapers.
- TV news is worse off. Only 11 percent of Idahoans have confidence in TV news; 25 percent are neutral, and 52 percent don’t have confidence in the TV news that comes into their homes every day.
- Internet news doesn’t fare much better. Jones finds that 18 percent of Idahoans have confidence in that news source; 32 percent are neutral, and 44 percent don’t have confidence in the news they may read or see online.
Gallup tracked its media news question over time, and finds a slow decline over the years in the public’s trust of the media.
Typically, the trust level falls during big election years, like 2016, Gallup finds.
There are some interesting demographic breakdowns in Jones’ Idaho poll:
- One may believe (as Gallup finds) that the older a person is, the more trust he or she places in the traditional media, like newspapers.
- But that’s not the case in the Jones’ poll. In the 18-29 age range, 42 percent had high confidence in newspapers.
- However, only 20 percent of 40-49-year-olds had confidence in newspapers; and only 22 percent of 60-69-year-olds had confidence in the most traditional news source.
Democrats believe the news sources more than Republicans.
- 47 percent of Democrats trust newspapers; 22 percent of Democrats trust TV news; and 25 percent trust internet news.
Republicans beg to differ.
- Only 19 percent of Idaho Republicans have confidence in newspapers.
- 12 percent trust TV news.
- And only 15 percent trust internet news.
The “distrust” level among Republicans is high – 48 percent for newspapers, 56 percent for TV news, and 45 percent for internet news.
Jones did not try to break out individual news sources.
No doubt Republicans would have more trust in Fox national news, less so for MSNBC, for example.
And Jones didn’t break out local news sources from national or international.
It makes sense that if someone is paying for the local newspaper, they would have more trust in that publication – or they wouldn’t be buying it.
Likewise, Idahoans would have more trust in their local TV news than they would for national news and/or cable TV news.
Still, it can not be argued that the news media in general are doing very well among most readers, viewers and listeners in Idaho – or nationally, for that matter.
Jones polled 602 Idahoans from Aug. 18-31. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent.