Dec 31, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump era drives largest-ever party divide in media trust

Reproduced from Gallup. Chart: Axios Visuals
Reproduced from Gallup. Chart: Axios Visuals

The gap in trust between Democrats and Republicans in mass media reached an all-time high during the Trump administration, according to an annual Gallup poll.

Why it matters: The divide represents one of the most profound elements of President Trump's legacy.

Over the past four years, Democrats' trust in mass media has grown to a near-record high, while Republicans' has sunk to an all-time low.

  • Just 10% of Republicans polled this year said they have a great deal or fair amount of trust in the media. By comparison, nearly 30% and 36% of Republicans answered the same on average during eight years of the Obama and Bush administrations, respectively.
  • By the end of 2020, there was a 63-point gap between the two parties — the biggest divide since Gallup started conducting the poll in the late 1970s.

The big picture: The long-term erosion of trust in mass media, on either side of the political spectrum, is a clear and alarming signal of polarization in America.

  • It wasn't that long ago when trust in the mass media consistently fell within a ten-point margin between the two parties.
  • While the gap widened slightly during the Bush and Obama administrations, it exploded to a new level over the past four years.
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