Poll: Twice the Number of Republicans ‘Strongly Agree,’ Harmful for Media to Exaggerate CCP Virus Threat

May 26, 2020 Updated: May 26, 2020

A new poll shows that two-thirds of both Republican and Democrats think coronavirus misinformation is a major issue. What varies is who each group thinks is to blame for the falsehoods.

CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus misinformation is a major problem says 82 percent of Democrats and 73 percent of Republicans. Democrats were much more likely to identify the Trump administration as a major source of misinformation (85 percent) than Republicans (4 percent). Meanwhile, 75 percent of Republicans identified mainstream news organizations as the main source of false or misleading coronavirus information, compared to just 2 percent of Democrats.

The poll of almost 1,700 adults from Gallup and the Knight Foundation found that 68 percent of Republicans strongly agree that it is harmful for the press to exaggerate the threat, while only 34 percent of Democrats responded in kind.

Twice as many Republicans than Democrats indicated in the poll that they “strongly agree” that media coverage exaggerating the threat of the CCP virus is harmful.

Meanwhile, double the number of Democrats as Republicans strongly agree, that “downplaying” the threat in the media is harmful.

Pollsters also found that 77 percent of those surveyed feel the “news media should cover statements or actions from officials that contributed to making the crisis worse” immediately, while just 11 percent believe the media should wait to cover that information until “the worst of the crisis is over.”

“Americans have been more likely to disapprove than approve of the news media’s response to the coronavirus situation at a time when most other institutions’ responses have been rated more positively than negatively,” Gallup and Knight noted. “This may indicate that people do not see the media as getting coronavirus coverage quite right — either drifting too far in the direction of downplaying the threat or too far in the direction of exaggerating it.”

“The public recognizes the stakes are higher in coronavirus coverage, likely more than for other issues, given the pandemic’s impact on public health, the U.S. economy and Americans’ wellbeing,” they added.

The results of this poll come at a time when liberals and conservatives are split on President Trump’s handling of the CCP virus; with Republicans approving of his interventions while Democrats have largely criticized his efforts as insufficient.

An April Gallup poll found a 49 percent approval rating for the president. Most of the variation in the president’s April job approval rating was among independents. In the poll, 47 percent of independents approve of the job he is doing as president, while 95 percent of Republicans and 8 percent of Democrats approve of the job the president is doing.