Skip to main content

American public identifies strong media preference for Obama

The American public — by a wide margin — thinks the media favor Sen. Barack Obama over Sen. John McCain in the U.S. presidential contest, according to results of a survey released Oct. 22 by Pew Research.

The research organization found 70 percent of the public says journalists want Obama to win, while only 9 percent say the news media favor a McCain victory. The wide discrepancy transcends party lines. According to the results, 90 percent of Republican voters believe journalists want to see Obama win, while 62 percent of Democrat and independent voters also say the media favor Obama.

While the public has been telling the media for several years that it detects they play favorites in their reporting of the presidential race, this year’s results of are particularly stark. For example, in 2004, Pew found half of all voters believed the news media favored Sen. John Kerry to win the presidential election, while 22 percent held the same view of journalists regarding President George W. Bush. In 2000, the figures were 47 percent to 23 percent, regarding VP Al Gore and Bush.

The last time the public’s perception of the press playing favorites even approached this level was in 1996, when 59 percent of the public said the news media favored President Bill Clinton.

For more information, visit