Saturday, January 21, 2012

3rd Annual TV News Trust Poll

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PPP's 3rd annual TV news trust poll (2011 version here, 2010 version here) finds that Fox News tops the list for both the source Americans trust the most and the one they trust the least.

Fox is the most trusted TV news source for 34% of voters, followed by PBS at 17%, CNN at 12%, ABC News at 11%, CBS News at 8%, MSNBC at 5%, and Comedy Central and NBC each at 4%.
68% of Republicans pick Fox as their most trusted source, with no one else even hitting double digits. Democrats split closely three ways with PBS at 21%, ABC News at 19%, and CNN at 17%. Despite having a reputation for appealing to the left MSNBC actually polls in only 6th place among Democrats at 8%, finishing slightly behind even Fox News' 9%. Independents split almost evenly between Fox News (29%) and PBS (27%).

Fox is also the least trusted TV news source for 34% of voters, followed by Comedy Central at 16%, MSNBC at 15%, CNN at 11%, ABC News at 7%, CBS News at 5%, PBS at 2%, and NBC News at 1%.

Democrats (53-17 over Comedy Central) and independents (44-13 over Comedy Central) both overwhelmingly say Fox is their least trusted news source. Republicans go for MSNBC by a 28-23 margin over CNN, followed by Comedy Central at 18% and ABC News at 10%.

In addition to asking the single network voters trusted the most and least, we also asked them to say whether they trusted each individual source. Here's how they came out from net most trusted to least, compared with the previous two polls:

Outlet2012 Trust/Distrust2011 Trust/Distrust2010 Trust/DistrustShift from 2010 to 2012Shift from 2011 to 2012
PBS(52/30) +22(50/30) +20Not TestedN/A+2
NBC News(44/38) +6(41/41) 0(35/44) -9+15+6
CNN(43/39) +4(40/43) -3(39/41) -2+6+7
Fox News(45/42) +3(42/46) -4(49/37) +12-9+7
CBS News(40/42) -2(36/43) -7(32/46) -14+12+5
ABC News(37/40) -3(35/43) -8(31/46) -15+12+5
MSNBC(38/43) -5Not TestedNot TestedN/AN/A
Comedy Central(28/46) -18Not TestedNot TestedN/AN/A

-For the second year in a row PBS easily comes out ahead as the outlet the most people trust, even if it isn't necessarily the one they trust the most.

-In general trust in television news has been on the rise over the last two years. Trust in NBC News is up 15 points compared to 2010, CBS and ABC News are both up by 12 points, and CNN is up by 6 points. The only outlet in worse shape than it was 2 years ago is Fox News, which is down 9 points. But they're still headed in the right direction- they're up 7 points from 2011 after dropping by 16 points between 2010 and 2011.

-Democrats trust everything- except Fox News. NBC does the best with them at +50 (67/17), followed by PBS and CNN at +49 (66/17 and 65/16 respectively), ABC at +38 (57/19), CBS at +35 (58/23), MSNBC at +33 (56/23), and even Comedy Central at +4 (36/32). Fox News comes in at -36 (25/61).

-Republicans meanwhile don't trust anything except Fox News. PBS comes the closest to breaking even among non-Fox outlets, although not very close, at -30 (26/56). It's followed by CNN at -49 (18/67), MSNBC at -51 (18/69), NBC at -52 (17/69), CBS at -54 (17/71), ABC at -56 (14/70), and Comedy Central at -59 (12/71). But Fox News comes in at a stellar 73/17.

Independents are with the Democrats. They trust everything except Fox News. Main takeaway from this poll: tv news has become just as polarizing as the political parties in this country.
Full results here

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