April 26, 2010
Wesley Burt

Negative perceptions of mainstream media are high, especially among the highly ideological

A recent study of likely Oklahoma voters reveals that a majority of Oklahomans have negative perceptions of the mainstream media. The study found that 66.9 percent of Oklahomans polled have negative perceptions of mainstream media while only 20.4 percent hold positive perceptions.

"There has been an ongoing decline of confidence and approval of large institutions in the U.S., and the media are not immune," reported SoonerPoll VP Dr. Keith Gaddie., Oklahoma�s public opinion pollster, conducted the scientific study using live interviewers by telephone of 1000 likely voters from Feb. 25 � March 8. The study has a margin of error of � 3.1 percent.

The also study found that liberals are more trusting of the mainstream media than are conservatives. Only 48.8 percent of liberals have a negative view of the mainstream media. However, of those who consider themselves very liberal a larger number, 50 percent, have negative opinions of mainstream media, 1.8 points higher than those who said they were somewhat liberal, 48.2 percent.

Conservatives are less trusting than the statewide 66.9 percent, 77.4 percent of Oklahoma conservatives have a negative perception of mainstream media.

The study showed that, similar to liberal's results, a gap also developed between the very conservative and the somewhat conservative respondents. The gap is more defined among conservatives with 68 percent of somewhat conservatives holding negative views of the mainstream media compared to 82.8 percent of very conservative respondents, a 14.8 point difference.

The highest percentage of negative opinions is found among those disenfranchised Oklahoma voters who find the national Tea Party movement favorable. The study found that 82 percent of those Oklahomans who find the Tea Party movement favorable have negative perceptions of the mainstream media.

Self identified evangelical Christians were 10.9 points more likely to hold negative opinions of mainstream media then those who do not consider themselves evangelical Christians. 77.2 percent of evangelicals hold negative opinions of the mainstream media as opposed to 61.3 percent of non evangelicals.

"We also saw that the more political ideological are more�sensitive to news that opposes their ideology. They are also more prone to develop definite perceptions of, and opinions about,�the media," Gaddie noted. "It is part of a long-observed phenomenon in American culture, where people seek information they want to believe and shun or try to discredit sources that offer information contrary to their beliefs."

Wesley Burt
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Wesley Burt