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Pew Finds Disaffection with Campaign Coverage

The Pew Research Center's latest weekly news survey finds that although stories about Sen. Barack Obama's (D-Ill.) controversies have made the biggest impression on news consumers, many still believe coverage has been biased in his favor. It also found that a majority now rate campaign coverage as fair to poor.

Despite the belief by more than a third of respondents that press coverage of the Democratic presidential primary race has favored Obama, a point also made by his opponent, the controversies involving his church and comments about Pennsylvania voters are the most widely known stories of the campaign.

According to the Pew study, 37% of those surveyed said new organizations had been biased toward Obama, and only 8% said they had favored Clinton. Yet, 62% also said they had heard "a lot" about the speeches of Rev. Jeremiah Wright, and 52% said they had hear a lot about his statement about "bitter" small-town Americans who "cling" to guns and religion.

While 40% of those surveyed said the media had shown no bias, a majority said that unbiased coverage hadn't been that good.

In Pew's February poll, 55% rated the campaign coverage as excellent or good vs. 44% calling it fair or poor. By June, those numbers had essentially flipped, with 54% now saying it was fair to poor and only 43% saying it was good or excellent.

The survey is based on telephone interviews with approximately 1,000 adults, 18-plus. The margin of error is about 3.5%.