Voters see the media differently in what is becoming an apocalyptic election

September 12, 2020, 12:00 PM UTC

Over the last few weeks, the Economist/YouGov Poll has highlighted a divide among those who say they will vote for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and those who will vote to re-elect President Donald Trump. Many of these two groups of voters describe the election in apocalyptic terms, especially the portion of each candidate’s supporters who are “extremely enthusiastic” about voting this year. 

For enthusiastic Biden voters, it is the prospect of voting out Trump that seems to excite them the most, and many see the election as a chance to save America. But, so do those who are enthusiastically voting for President Trump. Many of the president’s voters say their vote is a chance to save the country from socialism and communism.   

But where are they getting their information about the election? For most of President Trump’s supporters, it’s not the mainstream media: two in three Trump voters believe most of what the mainstream media report is ”fake news.”

Most Biden supporters say the mainstream media report fake news rarely or never. Those Trump voters whose favorite network is Fox News don’t appear to think of Fox as part of the mainstream. Three-quarters (74%) of them criticize the mainstream media, saying they report fake news most of the time, a higher percentage than among all Trump voters.  

Voters are mostly confident they can tell fake news when they see or read it, though about one in five (21%) registered voters overall aren’t sure they can. About a quarter (23%) of Trump supporters say this, as do 14 percent of Biden voters.  

Fake News

Related: How Donald Trump and Joe Biden compare among working class Americans 

See the toplines and crosstabs from this week’s Economist/YouGov Poll  

Methodology: The Economist survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 1,500 U.S. adult citizens interviewed online between September 6 - 8, 2020. This sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, and education based on the American Community Survey, conducted by the US Bureau of the Census, as well as 2016 Presidential vote, registration status, geographic region, and news interest. Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel to be representative of all US citizens. The margin of error is approximately 3.4% for the overall sample.  

Image: Getty