News Interest Index: Most Voters Say News Media Wants Obama to Win

Oct 22, 2008

Voters overwhelmingly believe that the media wants Barack Obama to win the presidential election, according to the latest News Interest Index by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. By a margin of 70%-9%, Americans say most journalists want to see Obama, not John McCain, win on Nov. 4. Another 8% say journalists don't favor either candidate, and 13% say they don't know which candidate most reporters support.

In recent presidential campaigns, voters repeatedly have said they thought journalists favored the Democratic candidate over the Republican. But this year's margin is particularly wide. At this stage of the 2004 campaign, 50% of voters said most journalists wanted to see John Kerry win the election, while 22% said most journalists favored George Bush. In October 2000, 47% of voters said journalists wanted to see Al Gore win and 23% said most journalists wanted Bush to win. In 1996, 59% said journalists were pulling for Bill Clinton.

In the current campaign, Republicans, Democrats and independents all feel that the media wants to see Obama win the election. Republicans are almost unanimous in their opinion: 90% of GOP voters say most journalists are pulling for Obama. More than six-in-ten Democratic and independent voters (62% each) say the same.

The latest Pew weekly News Interest Index survey, conducted October 17-20, shows that changing opinions of Obama have been more favorable than unfavorable in these waning days of the campaign, while just the opposite is true for changing views of McCain. A third of the public (33%) says their opinion of Obama has become more favorable in recent days, while 23% say their opinion of the Democratic nominee has become less favorable. By contrast, 34% say their opinion of McCain has become less favorable in recent days and 24% say their opinion of the GOP nominee has become more favorable.

Read the full report Most Voters Say News Media Wants Obama to Win on the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press Web site.

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