Poll finds nearly 90 percent of Americans rely on public figures for their news
A new poll has found that a vast majority of Americans follow a public figure to get their news, a finding that comes amid evidence showing declining confidence in news organizations.
According to the new poll from Gallup and the Knight Foundation, about 9 in 10 Americans follow at least one public figure to keep up with news and for other information.
When asked what kind of public individual they follow for information, more than half of respondents said they followed scientists or experts, journalists and politicians or elected leaders.
“What’s more, a portion of the American public says they trust public individuals more than news outlets to report the news,” the poll analysis said. “These findings hint at the amount of power individuals with public platforms have today in informing — and potentially persuading or even misleading — the public.”
The poll found that 66 percent of respondents follow scientists or experts for news, 58 percent say they follow journalists and 54 percent say they follow politicians or elected officials. About 43 percent also said that they follow hosts of a show or program, while 36 percent said they follow community organizers or activists.
When asked about specific individuals, Tucker Carlson, who parted ways with Fox News on Monday, came out on top.
The former Fox News host was cited 113 times; he was followed closely by MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, who received 107 mentions.
Other media hosts received a high number of mentions, with Fox News host Sean Hannity and former The Daily Show host Trevor Noah receiving 57 mentions each. President Biden and former President Trump received 37 and 30 mentions, respectively.
More than 90 percent of those who follow journalists follow them for news, while 65 percent of those who follow politicians and elected officials use their platforms to get news, according to the poll. The analysis also said that those who follow actors, athletes or social media influencers report higher rates of following those groups for careers, hobbies and other interests rather than news.
Nearly 50 percent of those who follow social media influencers say that they receive news from them, while 58 percent of the group say they receive commentary and analysis from them.
The Gallup poll surveyed more than 3,800 U.S. adults in October 2022.
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