Slightly more voters find the White House more truthful than the media, according to the latest Fox News Poll.
In addition, most feel the press is tougher on President Trump than it was on President Obama. But that may be a positive development, as a majority thinks aggressive coverage of the presidency is good for the country.
By a slim 45-42 percent margin, more voters say they trust the Trump administration to “tell the public the truth” than the reporters who cover the White House. Ten percent say neither.
The poll, released Friday, was conducted Saturday through Monday evenings. That was before Trump told reporters at a press conference Thursday, “the public doesn’t believe you people anymore.”
The Fox poll last asked a similar question in June 2006. At that time, “news reporters” were more trusted than “government officials” by a 40-25 percent margin, with 26 percent saying neither.
Some 68 percent think the press has been “tougher” on Trump than Obama. That’s more than three times the number who think reporters are giving him an “easier” time (18 percent). Another 12 percent see treatment of the two as the same.
People want tough press coverage. A majority, 55 percent, thinks it’s better for the country if the news media “cover the president aggressively.” Thirty-eight percent feel it would be better if reporters gave the president the “benefit of the doubt.”
There are the expected partisan differences. Eight in 10 Republicans (81 percent) trust the Trump administration more to tell the truth, while roughly the same portion of Democrats trust the media (79 percent). Independents are twice as likely to put their faith in Trump as the press (52-26 percent), while 16 percent say neither.
Almost all Republicans (92 percent) and most independents (74 percent) perceive coverage as tougher on Trump. Some Democrats agree: 42 percent say it’s been tougher, 34 percent easier, and 21 percent the same.
Recently Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) said this on the Senate floor: “I personally wish he would choose his words a little more carefully because everybody in the world pays attention to the president of the United States.” Most voters agree. Seventy-one percent think Trump “should be more careful about what he says and how he says it.”
Hatch continued, “On the other hand, I kind of find it refreshing that he doesn’t take any guff from anybody.” Twenty-eight percent of voters agree with that perspective. They like that Trump “speaks his mind.”
Over half of conservatives (55 percent) and Republicans (54 percent) want the president to be more careful when he speaks. At the same time, over half of those who voted for Trump in the election like the fact that he speaks his mind (54 percent).
Democrats aren’t nearly as forgiving: 93 percent wish Trump spoke more carefully.
The Fox News poll is based on landline and cellphone interviews with 1,013 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide and was conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from February 11-13, 2017. The poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points for all registered voters.