Despite ‘Fake News’ Issue, TV Has Trust in Election Cycle

While Americans of all stripes are concerned about what President Trump insists on branding as “fake news,” most voters continue to largely trust what they see and hear on television, according to a new study by the Video Advertising Bureau.

Respondents in the survey were taken from all over the country and a proportionate blend of Republicans, Democrats, Independents and others in terms of political affiliations.

Among all adults poll 74% said they were concerned about the influence fake news may have on voters and the election.

Republicans were a bit more concerned, with 81% agreeing that fake news could be an issue in the election, compared with 71% of Democrats and 70% of independents.

Fake news on social media was a concern of 75% of the adults polled, including 79% of Republicans and 73% of Democrats.

When it came to which source people trusted for the most accurate political information, TV came out on top with 60% among all adults. Second place was newspapers with 57% and TV news websites and apps was third with 54%.

Among Republican, 55% said TV was trusted to provide the most accurate political information, tops among all media. Among TV was also tops, with 68%.

Similarly TV came out on top when adults were asked which media helps them form an opinion on key issues facing the country.

Political advertising on TV was also most likely to get people’s attention, according to the survey, with 74% of respondents picking TV. Second was TV news websites and apps, with 35%.

TV was also where people were most likely to first learn about political candidates and issues, and most likely to spur action by voters.

Because they trust TV, they said it was most likely to keep them informed throughout the election cycle.

The majority of those in the poll voted in the 2016 election. Even though most of those questions were experienced voters, most said their final decision about who they will vote for less than a week before the election.

“While politics is usually thought of as ‘the great divide,’ voters of all ages, genders, ethnicities, occupations and political affiliation agree that what matters most is having a form of media that they can trust, media that disseminates accurate information, so that they can make informed decisions on political candidates and key issues facing the country,” the VAB reports said.

While charges of “fake news” are likely to continue into the election season, the report said that “with its around-the-clock 100% professionally produced content and controlled practices for news reporting, it’s no surprise that multi-screen TV brands are the most trusted source for almost all segments. The trust voters have with TV brands to deliver the most accurate political information heightens their attentiveness level and makes it the most influential platform throughout the election process – from initial discovery of candidates and information gathering to the casting of their final vote.”

The VAB commissioned Research Now to conduct the survey. It is based on 1,000 respondents from a randomly selected national internet panel whose demographics are representative to the U.S. Census.

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.