A recent study of likely Oklahoma voters reveals that a majority of Oklahomans have negative perceptions of the mainstream media. The study found that 66.9 percent of Oklahomans polled have negative perceptions of mainstream media while only 20.4 percent hold positive perceptions.

“There has been an ongoing decline of confidence and approval of large institutions in the U.S., and the media are not immune,” reported SoonerPoll VP Dr. Keith Gaddie.

SoonerPoll.com, Oklahoma’s public opinion pollster, conducted the scientific study using live interviewers by telephone of 1000 likely voters from Feb. 25 – March 8. The study has a margin of error of ± 3.1 percent.

The also study found that liberals are more trusting of the mainstream media than are conservatives. Only 48.8 percent of liberals have a negative view of the mainstream media. However, of those who consider themselves very liberal a larger number, 50 percent, have negative opinions of mainstream media, 1.8 points higher than those who said they were somewhat liberal, 48.2 percent.

Conservatives are less trusting than the statewide 66.9 percent, 77.4 percent of Oklahoma conservatives have a negative perception of mainstream media.

The study showed that, similar to liberal’s results, a gap also developed between the very conservative and the somewhat conservative respondents. The gap is more defined among conservatives with 68 percent of somewhat conservatives holding negative views of the mainstream media compared to 82.8 percent of very conservative respondents, a 14.8 point difference.

The highest percentage of negative opinions is found among those disenfranchised Oklahoma voters who find the national Tea Party movement favorable. The study found that 82 percent of those Oklahomans who find the Tea Party movement favorable have negative perceptions of the mainstream media.

Self identified evangelical Christians were 10.9 points more likely to hold negative opinions of mainstream media then those who do not consider themselves evangelical Christians. 77.2 percent of evangelicals hold negative opinions of the mainstream media as opposed to 61.3 percent of non evangelicals.

“We also saw that the more political ideological are more sensitive to news that opposes their ideology. They are also more prone to develop definite perceptions of, and opinions about, the media,” Gaddie noted. “It is part of a long-observed phenomenon in American culture, where people seek information they want to believe and shun or try to discredit sources that offer information contrary to their beliefs.”


  1. Sometimes I find the wording used in soonerpoll’s questions interesting. For example, FoxNews makes daily, if not hourly reference to the problems with the “mainstream” media subtly saying that it is in fact not mainstream media. However, with a larger viewership than any other cable outlet, it is quintessentially “mainstream”. It seems that the poll does not take into account that many regular viewers of FoxNews have been primed into thinking that it is not mainstream. This poll seems to measure the distrust of all non-FoxNews outlets which has very different implications.

    • Stephen–
      I really like the point that you make. I’m old enough to remember when there was just NBC, CBS, and ABC. There was no reason to call them the ‘mainstream’ media because they were the only game in town. When cable was created, ‘mainstream’ become the moniker for those three networks. Today, cable news channels has really become the ‘mainstream’, but the term is still used to describe the ‘big three’ networks (although they are not the ‘big three’ anyone). We used terms and phrases to met with the current definitions in our culture. At some point that may change given Fox News’ growth and what, in the future, might be defined as ‘mainstream.’ Thanks for your comment.


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