Perhaps nothing has frustrated and befuddled Donald Trump’s opponents as much as reports that the public trusts him. As Trump has sought to disembowel the media by denigration, constantly calling mainstream reporting “biased, unfair, failing, crooked and lying”, a veritable cottage industry of media defenders has arisen comparing Trump’s “alternative facts” to the real ones. (James Fallows lists many of the pertinent defenses here.) Yet poll after poll have shown that none of this reasoned argument makes a dent in Trump’s support. Polls seemed, in fact, to show the opposite — the more combative Trump is, the more his followers tend to side with him.
But the latest poll out of Quinnipiac University paints a broader picture of the effectiveness of Trump’s anti-media rhetoric. The survey found that 52% of voters trust the media more than Trump. 37% trust Trump more than the media. That’s not an insignificant difference — it’s actually the kind of landslide Trump keeps saying he won the election by. Yet Republicans — not just diehard Trump supporters but those identifying as GOPers — still give Trump a massive 78% trust advantage, with a mere 13% thinking the media trustworthy.