Poll: Texans Trust Trump More Than Media For Coronavirus Info
Texas voters trust what President Trump has to say about the coronavirus more than they trust news media, according to a new poll conducted by the University of Texas and UT Austin.
The poll asked a sample of 1200 registered Texas voters, “Who do you trust and not trust to give you accurate information about the coronavirus/COVID-19?”
44% of respondents said they trust coronavirus information from the president compared to 34% who trust information from the media.
However, more voters actually distrust both Trump and the news media. 49% of Texans said they “don’t trust” the president on the coronavirus, and an even higher share, 56%, said they don’t trust the news media.
A small percentage of respondents said they weren’t sure or didn’t know how to respond.
The survey was based on interviews of 1497 Texas registered voters between April 10 and April 17, 2020. Those interviews were then matched down to a sample of 1200 to produce the final dataset. The respondents were matched down on the basis of a frame of gender, age, race, and education data based on a 2018 Current Population Survey of registered voters.
These findings come as news media credibility nationally has plummeted to new lows. According to a new poll by Morning Consult, the share of U.S. adults who view nine leading media outlets as credible has dropped about 9% since December 2016.
The outlets asked about in the survey were ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and NPR.
Morning Consult noted that the trust gap is particularly significant for Republicans: “Among Republicans, perceptions of four media outlets have fallen more than 20 points since the last presidential election.”
Even conservative media have suffered collateral damage amid declining perceptions of news media, with the Wall Street Journal’s trust rating going from 64% in 2016 to 41% today.
Negative public perceptions toward news media in Texas could dent their financial prospects at a time when cash-strapped businesses are pulling advertising dollars, and subscribers are facing job losses.
The Austin American-Statesman laid off seven staff on Friday, including culture, sports, and education reporters. The Statesman and other Gannett-owned Texas newspapers already head furloughed all of its reporters to part-time status, cutting their monthly workload down to only three weeks.
Other Findings of the UT Poll
The UT/Texas Tribune poll found that 87% of respondents trust medical professionals for coronavirus information compared to 8% who don’t. The CDC won the trust of 70%.
Governor Greg Abbott scored slightly better than local officials, with 58% saying they trust him and 31% distrusting him, compared to 55% trusting local officials and 30% distrusting them.
The survey also asked, “Would you say that the coronavirus/COVID-19 is… a significant crisis, a serious problem but not a crisis, a minor problem, or not a problem at all?”
Two-thirds of Texas voters said it’s a significant crisis, and 26% said it’s a serious problem but not a crisis. Only 4% said it’s a minor problem and 2% said it’s not a problem at all. 2% had no opinion or didn’t know how to answer.
Survey respondents were recruited primarily through opt-in web advertising campaigns that appeared based on keyword searches.
More information on the survey results and methodology can be found here.