New poll breaks down hyper-polarized electorate

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NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- A new poll finds an "enemy of the people" attack is leading to a hyper-polarized electorate.

The Judy Ford Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University released the poll Tuesday.

It found more than four out of five Republicans and almost two out of three independent voters say major American news organizations do publish fake news stories for political purposes.

"President [Donald] Trump's rhetoric appears to be having a massive impact on voter confidence in the media," said Rachel Bitecofer, the center's assistant director. "Although confidence in media has been declining for the past few decades, this represents a sharp decline in trust, which carries serious implications."

On the other hand, the poll found Democrats say they trust the press more, but almost a third agree about fake news stories being published for political reasons.

Overall, 57 percent of likely voters in the 2020 presidential election side with this assessment of media and coverage.

According to Bitecofer, the survey question was carefully worded to make sure respondents understood that it was addressing large, traditional sources such as major newspapers, not blogs and other sources.

The survey also found that 71 percent of Republicans say the views of Democrats are a threat to the country while 55 percent of Democrats say the same about Republicans.

When it comes to the issues, the poll found the messenger now matters more than the message itself.

Voters who responded to the poll reportedly would flip their opinion on policy issues depending on whether or not their party or Trump is said to support a proposal.

This included issues such as education vouchers for private schools and cap and trade legislation limiting greenhouse gas emissions.

The survey contacted about 1,000 likely 2020 voters and covers a wide variety of topics, including partisanship and ideology.

To view the full results of the survey, click on the link in the Related Links box.

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