Could the fawning coverage of Barack Obama by the majority of the media come back and actually damage Obama in November? It seems possible, judging by the latest Rasmussen poll. They show a clear majority of voters think that the media is trying outright to get Obama elected.
The idea that reporters are trying to help Obama win in November has grown by five percentage points over the past month. The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey, taken just before the new controversy involving the Times erupted, found that 49% of voters believe most reporters will try to help the Democrat with their coverage, up from 44% a month ago.
Just 14% believe most reporters will try to help McCain win, little changed from 13% a month ago. Just one voter in four (24%) believes that most reporters will try to offer unbiased coverage.
A Rasmussen Reports survey earlier this year found that just 24% of American voters have a favorable opinion of the New York Times. The paper’s ratings divided sharply along partisan and ideological lines, with liberals far more supportive of the paper than conservatives.
At the time of that survey, the Times was being criticized for an article it had run about McCain’s ties to lobbyists. Sixty-six percent (66%) of those who were aware of the story in question believed it was an attempt by the paper to hurt the McCain campaign.
In the latest survey, a plurality of Democrats—37%– say most reporters try to offer unbiased coverage of the campaign. Twenty-seven percent (27%) believe most reporters are trying to help Obama and 21% in Obama’s party think reporters are trying to help the Republican candidate.
Among Republicans, 78% believe reporters are trying to help Obama and 10% see most offering unbiased coverage.
As for unaffiliated voters, 50% see a pro-Obama bias and 21% see unbiased coverage. Just 12% of those not affiliated with either major party believe the reporters are trying to help McCain.
Given the dismal ratings the media have at the moment for trustworthiness, this actually bodes ill for Obama. A lot of people do not like or trust the news media and people tend to judge others by the company they keep. Some of that negative feeling is going to rub off on Obama. The media will do its level best to drag Obama over the finish line, mind you. But it may turn out that they are more of an anchor than an engine.