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Nearly half of Americans say Trump media coverage is too tough

More than four in 10 Americans think the news media's coverage of President Trump is too critical, a level of dissatisfaction that has remained remarkably consistent since Trump took office, according to an Axios/SurveyMonkey poll.

Data: SurveyMonkey poll conducted May 1-4, 2018. Poll Methodology; Chart: Harry Stevens/Axios

Why it matters: Partisan polarization about the fairness of media coverage appears to be just as locked in as it was after the 2016 election. Most Republicans (87%) say coverage is "too critical" — exactly the same as in a Feb. 2017 poll asking the same question.

The numbers that matter:

  • Overall, 45% say the way the news media has covered Trump during his time in office has been too critical. 24% say it's not critical enough, and 27% say it has been fair.
    • Those numbers are all within two percentage points of answers in a February 2017 poll, just a few weeks after Trump's inauguration, per SurveyMonkey.
  • While 87% of Republicans now say coverage has been "too critical," about as many Democrats (86% now, compared to 88% in 2017) say coverage has been either fair or not critical enough.
  • Independents have inched up in believing coverage has not been critical enough (31% say so now, versus 25% in 2017).

Trust in media: Americans are also consistent in their trust of major media outlets versus Trump. The results below are all within a single percentage point of the measures taken in a June Axios/SurveyMonkey poll.

  • Slightly more Americans trust CNN (49%) than Trump (43%).
  • 52% say they trust the Washington Post and New York Times more than Trump (42%).
  • The major TV networks (ABC, CBS, NBC) fare exactly the same as they did last year, with 52% trusting them more than Trump (41%).

The Russia story: This is an area showing a slight uptick in Trump's favor since a May/June SurveyMonkey 2017 poll.

  • Slightly more (51%) now say the news media gives too much attention to Trump's relationship with Russia, whereas slightly less (45%) say the media pays too little or the right amount of attention to the situation.
  • Nearly a year ago, Americans were almost evenly divided (48% vs 49%) on this question.

Methodology: This new Axios/SurveyMonkey online poll was conducted May 1-4, 2018 among 2,807 adults in the United States. Respondents were selected from the nearly 3 million people who take surveys on the SurveyMonkey platform each day. Data have been weighted for age, race, sex, education, and geography using the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey to reflect the demographic composition of the United States age 18 and over. Crosstabs available here.