Trump supporters trust the president more than their family and friends, poll finds

Only 11 per cent of Trump supporters trust the media for information

Emily Shugerman
New York
Thursday 02 August 2018 19:54 BST
President Donald Trump walks on the South Lawn of the White House before boarding Marine One
President Donald Trump walks on the South Lawn of the White House before boarding Marine One (Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Donald Trump’s supporters trust the president for accurate information more than their own friends and family, according to a new poll.

CBS News asked more than 2,000 Americans who they turn to for accurate information, regardless of whether they agree with the source's views. Ninety-one per cent of strong Trump supporters said they turned to the president. Only 63 per cent said they looked to their friends and family.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, only 11 per cent of those who strongly supported the president who popularised the term “fake news” said they trusted the mainstream media for information. Americans’ trust in media as a whole slipped to its lowest point in history in September 2016 – two months before Mr Trump’s election – and has remained low ever since, according to Gallup survey results.

Since taking office, Mr Trump has regularly assailed the media and encouraged his supporters to trust in him above all else. Discussing his controversial trade policy at a veteran’s conference this month, Mr Trump told supporters: “Just remember, what you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening."

But Mr Trump regularly makes inaccurate or misleading statements himself. Just two days before the CBS survey was published, the president tweeted that his poll numbers were the highest in the “history of the Republican party”, including President Abe Lincoln. The first national presidential poll was conducted in 1936 – seven decades after Lincoln died.

According to a Washington Post tally updated at the end of May, Mr Trump had made more than 3,200 false or misleading claims in the past 497 days.

Still, Mr Trump’s support remains high among his base. While his approval ratings have hovered around 40 per cent for most of his presidency, the latest Gallup survey results show Mr Trump enjoys 87 per cent approval among Republicans. His support among Democrats is just 8 per cent.

At the same time, recent studies show Americans struggle to tell the difference between fact and opinion in news coverage. A recent Pew Research Centre study presented more than 5,000 US adults with a mix of five facts and five opinions and asked them to distinguish between the two. Only 26 per cent of respondents could accurately identify all five facts, and only 35 per cent could identify the opinions.

According to the study, both Republicans and Democrats were more likely to think news statements were factual when they appealed to their side – even if they were opinions.

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