Staggering unemployment, a downturned economy and mounting criticisms over his handling of the coronavirus threat have eroded President Trump’s favorability among Americans, potentially hurting his chances of reelection to which he was practically a shoo-in until only months ago.
A new survey conducted by emotional engagement research consultancy Brand Keys puts this possibility into focus, revealing that the President’s approval ratings, while never high to begin with, might be in even more trouble than previously thought.
The Brand Keys survey, which bi-annually measures how much trust Americans have in the President and how it compares to their trust levels toward the media outlets they view regularly, found that overall trust in the President currently stands at only 12 percent. This reveals a three percent drop from the 15 percent trust rating Trump achieved during Brand Keys’ previous round of tracking in February and accounts for a drop of more than half from the 29 percent trust rating Trump enjoyed when Brand Keys’ survey first began in August 2018.
In contrast, trust in presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden is three times higher— currently standing at 43 percent.
When broken out by political affiliation, 30 percent of respondents identifying as Republican said they currently trust Trump, compared to four percent of independents and two percent of Democrats. Meanwhile, 72 percent of Democrats said they trust VP Biden, compared to 39 percent of independents and 18 percent of Republicans.
While President Trump faces new rating lows, broadcast and cable media networks, on the other hand, were rated consistently higher for trust than ever, as homebound Americans find themselves consuming unprecedented amounts of news coverage amid a daily deluge of constant COVID-19-related content.
|Trust ratings of media brands|
Of the nine media brands evaluated in the Brand Keys survey, eight of them—ABC, BBC, Bloomberg, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, PBS and NBC—saw improved trust ratings among Americans. Of those eight, half—ABC, CBS, CNN and NBC—exhibited significantly higher trust ratings compared to the last wave of tracking two months ago.
CNN revealed the single largest trust gains, at 90 percent, up from the 83 percent it exhibited in February and revealing gains of 21 percent from the initial 69 percent trust the network revealed when Brand Keys’ survey began two years ago. Two other networks—MSNBC and BBC—also exceeded 90 percent trust levels, at 94 percent and 90 percent, respectively.
Only one media brand—Fox News—failed to gain in viewership approval, falling two percent from its 89 percent trust level in February. Fox was widely criticized after prime-time anchors—namely, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham—famously flip-flopped on COVID-19, initially downplaying the threat of the virus as a “hoax” before eventually falling in line to reiterate the Trump admin’s warnings regarding the dangers of COVID-19.
The latest installment of Brand Keys’ Media Trust Tracker surveyed 5,226 respondents during the last week of April. The report is conducted for media and marketing publication MediaPost.