November 15, 1987

The People, the Press and the 1988 Campaign

Report Summary

Public Favorability Toward the Press

The public continues to regard news organizations less favorably than it did before news of the Iran-Contra affair changed public opinion.  A Gallup/Times Mirror survey conducted last January found that the President’s declining popularity had a fallout effect on other institutions, including the press.  Since January, there has been some modest improvement in the favorability scores for new organizations. The proportion of the public expressing unfavorable views has decreased somewhat for both network television news (13% now vs. 22% in January) and local daily newspapers (13% vs. 19%).  current ratings, however, are substantially below those recorded earlier in 1986 and 1985, an “era of good feeling,” when the President’s high approval rating buoyed up ratings for other institutions.