Most Say Media, Not Russians, Tilting the Election

Most Say Media, Not Russians, Tilting the Election

Most Say Media, Not Russians, Tilting the Election

The FINANCIAL -- Most voters aren’t buying the story that the Russians are trying to manipulate the election for Donald Trump but think the U.S. media is trying to swing things for Hillary Clinton.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 56% of Likely U.S. Voters believe it’s more likely that many in the media are working to get Clinton elected president. Just 26% disagree and say it’s more likely that the Russian government is working to get Trump elected. Eighteen percent (18%) are not sure. 

Ninety-one percent (91%) of voters supporting Trump think it’s more likely that most in the media are trying to help Clinton. Only 20% of Clinton supporters agree; 56% of her voters believe it’s more likely the Russians are trying to help Trump. But one-in-four Clinton voters (24%) aren’t sure which is more likely.

Fifty-four percent (54%) of all voters think the United States’ worsening relationship with Russia is bad for America. Only 12% think it’s good for this country, while 20% say it will have no impact. Fifteen percent (15%) are undecided. These findings are unchanged from June of last year when both President Obama and then-Republican front-runner Jeb Bush were pushing for tougher sanctions against Russia over the continuing political crisis in Ukraine.

WikiLeaks disclosures in recent days have highlighted the close working relationship between the Clinton campaign and journalists at several major news organizations including the New York Times and CNN. Democrats say the Russians are behind the WikiLeaks releases; WikiLeaks says that isn’t true. Fifty percent (50%) of voters said in July that they expected most reporters to help Clinton.  Just 11% thought they were more likely to help Trump.

The Obama administration has accused the Russian government of trying to influence the presidential election by hacking state electoral systems and has offered states the help of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Russia has denied involvement in the hacking. While most voters are concerned about their state’s election system being hacked, they think state and local officials will do a better job protecting their vote than the feds will. 

The majority of voters in most demographic groups see the media as more likely than Russia to be playing favorites in the election.

Seventy-nine percent (79%) of Republicans and 55% of voters not affiliated with either major political party feel it’s more likely that many in the media are helping Clinton. Just 35% of Democrats agree; slightly more (40%) feel it is more likely that the Russians are trying to help Trump. But 25% of voters in Clinton’s party are not sure.

Interestingly, however, Republicans are more likely than Democrats and unaffiliated voters to think the worsening relationship with Russia is good for America.

Trump views radical Islamic terrorism as the number one threat to the United States and has contradicted many in the foreign policy establishment by saying Russia would make a good ally in fighting that threat. Republicans and Trump supporters strongly agree that radical Islam is the bigger threat, but Democrats and Clinton voters tend to rate Russia as just as big a danger. 

Just over a year ago, 26% of voters said the United States should regard Russia as an ally when it comes to the war against ISIS in the Middle East. Just 11% felt we should view Russia as an enemy in this situation, while a majority (58%) put the Russians somewhere in between an ally and an enemy.

Last December, most voters said they still didn’t care too much for Russian President Vladimir Putin but didn’t think his praise of Trump would hurt the latter’s bid for the presidency.

Sixty-two percent (62%) believe the national media, not the candidates, are setting the agenda for this year’s presidential race.

Individual states will ultimately tell the tale, but right now the presidential race nationally is about as tight as it can be in today's White House Watch survey.