Media

Nearly half in poll say they struggle to determine if information is true

Nearly half of respondents said they struggle to know if the information they consume is true, according to a new Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research-USA Facts poll.

Forty-seven percent of those surveyed said they believe it's difficult to determine if the information they encounter is correct, while 31 percent said it is easy to do so. Respondents widely agreed that the best way to determine information's veracity is to consider how it was gathered and if it is based on data.

The poll also found that nearly two-thirds of Americans say they often come across information that is one-sided and about 60 percent say they consistently see clashing reports from different outlets about the same set of facts.

While many Americans agree it is difficult to determine if the information they find is correct, the poll showed partisan divides in the sources they trust.

Democrats said they were more likely to lean on scientists and academics to determine if a piece of information is true, while Republicans said they are more likely to trust what they hear from President Trump.

The GOP is more likely to put stock in what Trump has to say than Democrats, 40 to 5 percent, though a 61 percent majority of respondents say they have little trust in information that comes from the president. 

Meanwhile, more Democrats (72 percent) than Republicans (40 percent) said they believe information from scientists. Democrats also favor information from academics over Republicans by a 57 percent to 30 percent margin.

When it comes to information about the government, 54 percent of those polled said they get their facts from social media at least once a day, 52 percent get facts from local news, 50 percent from national television networks and 47 percent from cable news. About 60 percent also said they use government websites to look up information.

Yet despite the widespread use of those sources, majorities of Americans surveyed said they have minimal or no confidence in information they get about the government from social media, the president, members of Congress and businesses.

The AP-NORC-USA Facts poll surveyed 1,032 adults from Oct. 15-28 and has a margin of error of 4.2 percentage points.

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