Overwhelming Majority of Americans Concerned ‘Fake’ News Will Impact 2020 Election
An overwhelming majority of Americans — 82% — fear made-up news and other false reports about the candidates will undermine the 2020 presidential election, a new Pew Center study finds.
The report, released Wednesday, said nearly half of those survey participants, a full 48%, placed themselves in the highest category of being “very concerned.”
The analysis by the Pew Research Center’s Election News Pathways project, found concern is highest among people who follow political news most closely, older adults and those who display more knowledge about politics in general.
These findings are based on a survey of 12,043 U.S. adults who are members of the Center’s American Trends Panel, conducted from Oct. 29 to Nov. 11, 2019.
The issue of made-up news has already been a significant part of the coverage of the 2020 presidential race.
Perhaps related to that fact, the more closely people are following political and election news, the more likely they are to be very worried about the influence of false news on the 2020 election, the Center says.
In a similar vein, those who showed the greatest knowledge of politics and government, giving correct answers to a series of nine questions on the topic, expressed greater concern than those who got fewer correct.
The survey also found anxiety about the influence of made-up news on the election increases notably with age.
Only one-third of those ages 18 to 29 say they are very concerned about the prospect of made-up news affecting the election. But the percentage of those who are very concerned virtually doubles among respondents who are ages 65 and older (64%).
How closely someone follows political news is connected to other views related to the presidential election. In this case, the more closely people follow political news, the more likely they are to be concerned about made-up news impacting the election, the survey found.
Seventy-five percent of Americans following election news very closely are also very concerned about made-up information. That compares with about half of those following political news somewhat closely (49%) and one-third of those following it not too closely (33%). Roughly a quarter of those who say they are not following political news closely at all (23%) say they feel very concerned.
The nine questions posed related to general political knowledge, ranging from trends in the U.S. unemployment rate to which party is more supportive of a smaller federal government.
In looking at political knowledge alongside concerns about made-up news, Americans with high political knowledge express the greatest amount of concern about the influence of made-up news on the election, while those with low knowledge express the least.
Nearly two-thirds of those with high political knowledge (64%) say they are very concerned about the influence of made-up news on the 2020 election. That falls to 54% among those with mid-level knowledge and to 31% of those with low knowledge.
On the flip side, nearly three-in-ten of those with low political knowledge (28%) say they are not very or not at all concerned about made-up news impacting the election, four times as many as those with high knowledge (7%).
In The News
In The News
WASHINGTON - The hallmark of a true battleground state is that any one of a variety of factors can come into play and make a sure bet in the weeks leading up to the vote an “also ran” on election night. In that respect Michigan in... Read More
WASHINGTON (AP) — Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a diminutive yet towering women’s rights champion who became the court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington. She was 87. Ginsburg died of complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer, the court said. Ginsberg’s death... Read More
WASHINGTON — The months leading up to the coronavirus pandemic already spelled trouble for the Rome Water System and the tiny community it serves in the Mississippi Delta. A tornado tossed around several homes, closed roads and left the community without power for two weeks. Lightning... Read More
WASHINGTON — More than ever, Eric Harris is mindful of the elected officials around him: The school board members deciding whether his children will go back to the classroom, the sheriff influencing how officers interact with people like him, and the U.S. president steering the country’s... Read More
WASHINGTON — Dave and Diane Schell, a retired social studies teacher and a retired human resources professional from South Windsor, Connecticut, left their careers in 2015, and have worked the polls at their local precinct every election since. But not this November. The Schells — he’s... Read More
WASHINGTON — Chittawan Boonsitanon started junior year at Michigan State University last week from his home in Bangkok, 8,500 miles and half a world away. Boonsitanon said many international students decided months ago to take classes online, before Michigan State administrators in mid-August urged all undergraduates... Read More