Voters Think Press is Biased, and Obama Benefits

Posted June 8, 2008 at 11:50am

There have been a number of polls in the last few weeks that looked at press coverage of the presidential campaign from a variety of perspectives. In a Pew Research Center report last week, most of those who thought that the press had showed bias did so in favor of Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton. Oddly enough, last month, a joint study by Pew and Harvard’s Joan Shorenstein Center concluded that Obama and Clinton had fared about equally. At the same time, Gallup reported that more voters saw the press being toughest on Clinton than it did with Obama and John McCain.

The latest assessment of press coverage is from Rasmussen Reports which says, based on a June 6 survey, that just 17 percent of voters believe that reporters try to offer unbiased coverage of election campaigns. Not even worth giving you the margin of error on this one. Sixty-eight percent believe that reporters try to help their favorite candidate win and 15 percent are not sure.

On how the press treated the candidates, 54 percent said Obama got the best treatment, 22 percent named McCain and only 14 percent said Hillary Clinton was treated the best. Forty-three percent said Clinton got the worst treatment, while 27 percent believed that of McCain and 15 percent of Obama. Forty-four percent of those surveyed believe that, in the general election campaign, Obama will get the best treatment compared to 13 percent who say reporters will try to help McCain. About a quarter of voters think the coverage will be unbiased.