Strong majorities of the public say the press has been fair to John McCain, Barack Obama and Joe Biden. But fewer than four-in-ten (38%) say the press has been fair to Sarah Palin. Many more believe the press has been too tough on Palin (38%) than say it has been too easy (21%).
While opinions about Palin coverage are highly partisan, many independents share the view that the press has been too tough on the Alaska governor. Among independents, 41% say the press has been too hard on Palin, 20% say the press has been too easy and 36% say the press has been fair. Republicans overwhelmingly believe the press has been too hard on Palin (63%). Just 7% say the press has been too easy on her. Nearly one-in-five Democrats (18%) agree that coverage of Palin has been too tough.
Republicans are not as critical of press coverage of McCain. About half (48%) say the press has been fair to the Arizona senator, while 44% say the press has been too tough and 6% say too easy. Among the general public, six-in-ten say coverage of McCain has been fair.
While most Americans (60%) say coverage of Obama has been fair, many more say it has been too easy than too tough (31% vs. 7%). Democrats overwhelmingly believe their candidate has been treated fairly (81%). Among Republicans, 55% say the press has been too easy on Obama. Only 39% of Republicans say coverage of the Democratic nominee has been fair. Independents are somewhat less critical of the Obama coverage. On balance, though, independents share the view that the press has been too easy on Obama (36% too easy vs. 8% too tough). Two-thirds of the public says the press has been fair in its coverage of Joe Biden. Among those who see an imbalance, more say the press has been too easy on the Delaware senator.
Read the full report Many Say Press Has Been Too Tough on Palin on the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press Web site.