Category روزنامه نگار

Political Divides, Conspiracy Theories and Divergent News Sources Heading Into 2020 Election

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43% of Republicans identify fraud as a major problem with voting by mail versus 11% of Democrats

President Donald Trump speaks as a picture of Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris is seen on a screen during a news conference in the White House. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump speaks as a picture of Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris is seen on a screen during a news conference in the White House. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

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Republicans about four times as likely as Democrats to say voter fraud has been a major issue with mail-in ballots As the nation heads toward Election Day in the midst of a persistent pandemic and simmering social unrest, a new Pew Research Center survey finds that Americans’ deep partisan divide, dueling information ecosystems, and divergent responses to conspiracy theories and misinformation are all fueling uncertainty and conflict surrounding the presidential election.

While Americans across the political spectrum have been getting information about key election-related storylines, their knowledge...

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1. Legitimacy of voting by mail politicized, leaving Americans divided

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The months-long coronavirus outbreak has impacted virtually all aspects of American life, including the 2020 presidential election – with many states and jurisdictions promoting the expanded use of mail-in ballots as a way to vote while avoiding the risks of infection for polling center volunteers or for voters standing in long lines and inside voting booths.

Yet as with so much of the environment in the U.S. today, voting by mail has become politically charged. Donald Trump has repeatedly decried voting by mail as an invitation for widespread fraud – though experts say there is almost no meaningful fraud associated with mail ballots – and Americans’ views on voting by mail now show a large partisan divide.

Most Americans are very aware of discussions about the impact of increased...

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2. Attention to candidates increases, but what Americans know and think about them diverges by party, media sources

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With the national nominating conventions concluded and the election cycle entering its closing stretch, Americans are now following news about the presidential candidates more closely than they were a few months ago. And while there are virtually no partisan differences in how closely Americans are following the election, there are some distinctions within parties depending on where people get their political news.

Americans’ interest in election news rises as election draws nearerOverall, 66% of U.S. adults now say they are following news about the candidates very closely (30%) or fairly closely (35%). When surveyed in early June, 54% of Americans were following candidate news very closely (21%) or fairly closely (32%), and in April, about half (52%) were doing so.

Throughout this election year, news about the presidential candidates has competed with s...

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3. Most Americans who have heard of QAnon conspiracy theories say they are bad for the country and that Trump seems to support people who promote them

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About half of Americans now say they’ve heard about QAnon conspiracy theories Americans’ awareness of a collection of conspiracy theories known as QAnon has roughly doubled since March to nearly half of U.S. adults. A solid majority of those who have heard about QAnon say it is a bad thing for the country and also say Donald Trump seems to support people who promote the theories. Those sentiments, however, are not shared equally across party or among those with differing sources for political news.

Originating on message boards, the cluster of conspiracy theories connected to QAnon have now been declared a domestic terror threat by the FBI, publicly espoused by congressional candidates and talked about with interest by Trump.

A majority of U.S. adults who have heard of the QAnon conspiracy theories say they’re a very bad thing for the countryWhile few U.S...

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Appendix: Grouping respondents by major news sources

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September 16, 2020

Appendix: Grouping respondents by major news sources

Major sources for political and election newsThe survey asked whether respondents use any of eight news sources as a major source, minor source or not a source for political and election news. (Responses for all eight sources are available here.) The sources identified as major sources were combined with the respondents’ partisanship to identify those who get news from only sources with audiences that lean toward their party (i.e., Republicans who get news only from sources with right-leaning audiences and Democrats who only get news from sources with left-leaning audiences) or another mix of sources...

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Americans See Skepticism of News Media as Healthy, Say Public Trust in the Institution Can Improve

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72% of U.S. adults say news organizations do an insufficient job telling their audiences where their money comes from

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No more than half of U.S. adults feel confident in the news media or think other Americans feel this wayIn a year filled with major news stories – from impeachment to a contentious election, from a global pandemic to nationwide protests over racial injustice – Americans continue to have a complicated relationship with the news media.

While large swaths of the public often express negative views toward journalists and news organizations, a major Pew Research Center analysis – culminating a yearlong study on Americans’ views of the news media – also finds areas where U.S. adults feel more affinity toward the media and express open-mindedness about the possibility that their trust in the industry could improve.

Many Americans remain skeptical toward...

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1. Americans are largely skeptical of the news media, but say there is room for confidence to improve

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Americans are often more negative than positive about the news media’s role in society, standardsIn general, Americans tend to express more negative than positive views about the news media and feel that that it is beneficial for society to approach the media with some level of skepticism. But the public does not view the media as a lost cause: A vast majority of U.S. adults say it is possible to increase their level of confidence in the institution.

Americans have a number of specific reservations about the news media’s role, standards and impact on society...

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2. Americans largely see news organizations as opaque, particularly when it comes to finances

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The public often feels in the dark about how news organizations produce their news and the potential influences on it. Americans think news outlets are not fully transparent with them in a number of ways, which may also help explain their negative evaluations of the news media.

When asked how well news organizations explain six different aspects of their process to audiences – ranging from how they produce their news to article corrections and their finances – Americans overall give news outlets more negative than positive marks. But one aspect stands out as especially opaque to audiences: Where do news organizations get their funding?

About a quarter of Americans (27%) say news organizations do “very” or “somewhat” well when it comes to explaining where their money comes from, while ...

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3. Americans who have a closer relationship with their news sources are more supportive of the news media overall

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Over half of Americans desire a personal connection with their news sources …Americans’ relationships with their news sources are strongly linked to their views of the news media more generally. For example, those who feel connected with their news sources are much more positive toward the news media in general – though most say they don’t feel this type of connection. Likewise, those who think something close to them personally was covered well also tend to have more positive views toward the media overall.

When deciding how to choose their news sources, Americans have a range of priorities, with journalists’ demeanor, perspectives and willingness to cover people like them rising to the top.

Just over half of U.S...

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4. Partisans remain sharply divided in many views toward the news media; stark differences between Trump’s strongest supporters, critics

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A major takeaway of the first phase of this yearlong study was that partisan dynamics are the strongest factor in Americans’ trust in the news media and other related concepts. The findings here reinforce that conclusion: Republicans, and especially strong Trump supporters, consistently express more negative sentiments about the news media.

There are a few places, though, where there is somewhat more agreement, including opinions about whether the news media should be approached with skepticism, perceptions of whether confidence in the institution can increase, and important factors that draw people to their key sources of news.

Republicans are more negative than Democrats in views of the news media’s role in society

Across a range of attitudes toward the news media, Republicans and t...

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