No matter what side of the partisan fence they sit on, a majority of Americans believe fake news is biased against their own political party, according to a recent report by the Pew Research Center.
Pew’s study, which sought to uncover Americans’ perceptions of the fake new phenomenon, found one issue that Democrats and Republicans seem to agree on: both sides think misinformation is aimed at their party more than the other.
According to the report, more than half of Democrats and Democratic-leaning respondents (51 percent) said they believe fake news will primarily be intended to attack their party. Meanwhile, nearly two-thirds (62 percent) of Republicans and Republican-leaning adults believe their party will be the primary target of fake news.
|Democrats and Republicans both expect the fake news phenomenon to target their political party more than the other in the months leading up to 2020 election.|
Only about a third of Democrats (36 percent) and a little more than a quarter of Republicans (29 percent) believe misinformation will harm both parties equally.
It appears this persecution complex grows more pronounced the further to the right or left respondents lean. For example, 67 percent of self-described “liberal” Democrats said they expect their party to bear the brunt of fake news attacks, as do 75 percent of those labeled “conservative” Republicans.
Meanwhile, nearly half (45 percent) of those who consider themselves conservative/moderate Democrats and the same number of those who consider themselves liberal/moderate Republicans believe the fake news phenomenon has it out for both sides equally.
Overall, half of Democrats (48 percent) said they’re “very concerned” about fake news influencing the upcoming election, a concern shared by virtually the same number (49 percent) of Republicans.
Once again, the further respondents strayed from the ideological center, the more likely they were than their moderate counterparts to express worries about fake news’ presence in the 2020 election. 58 percent of Democrats who describe themselves as “liberal” said they’re “very concerned” about fake news’ impact on the election, as did 57 percent of Republicans who describe themselves as “conservative.”
Moderate/conservative Democrats and moderate/liberal Republicans, meanwhile, were far less worried about the threat of fake news, at 40 percent and 38 percent, respectively.
Older adults in both parties were also more likely than their younger counterparts to express concerns about misinformation in the election. Nearly two-thirds (62 percent) of Democrats ages 65 and older reported being “very concerned” about fake news, compared to only 38 percent of Democrats between the ages of 18 and 29. Similarly, 68 percent of Republicans ages 65 and older said they’re “very concerned” about fake news, compared to only about a quarter (26 percent) of Republicans between the ages of 18 and 29.
Pew’s report was based on a survey of more than 12,000 U.S. adults conducted in October and November. The findings are part of the nonpartisan group’s Election News Pathways project, an initiative that seeks to understand how Americans are getting their news in the months leading up to the 2020 presidential election.