Poll Suggests 49% of Trump Voters Think it Should Be Easier to Sue the Media


screen-shot-2016-12-20-at-2-41-35-pmWhile a new poll of Donald Trump voters from GPG contains data on dozens of poll questions, one in particular on page 54 of the poll slideshow, jumps out at us. That would be the one asking about the something that Trump made a campaign issue at a March 2016 Trump campaign rally in Fort Worth, Texas: “Opening up” defamation laws. According to the new survey, 49% of Trump voters favor making it easier to sue news media. Specifically, here’s the exact phrasing that was used in the poll question and possible answers according to GPG:

As you may know, there has been discussion recently about whether or not the courts should make it easier for public figures to sue and to win lawsuits against the news media for unfavorable or false coverage. Which of the following statements comes closest to your own view on the issue?

49% The courts should make it easier to sue and to win lawsuits against the news media
29% The courts should not make it easier to sue and to win lawsuits against the news media
22% Not sure

The question does seem slightly skewed in the sense that it mentions “unfavorable or false coverage” as opposed to just “false coverage,” which could influence the responses a bit, but it’s still an interesting figure even answering that specific question. What makes it especially interesting is that the poll was conducted after Trump had already disavowed that promise last month in his post-election interview with the New York Times:

SULZBERGER: So, I, with apologies, I’m going to go to our C.E.O., Mark Thompson, for the last, last question.

TRUMP: Very powerful man …

MARK THOMPSON: Thank you, and it’s a really short one, but after all the talk about libel and libel laws, are you committed to the First Amendment to the Constitution?

TRUMP: Oh, I was hoping he wasn’t going to say that. I think you’ll be happy. I think you’ll be happy. Actually, somebody said to me on that, they said, ‘You know, it’s a great idea, softening up those laws, but you may get sued a lot more.’ I said, ‘You know, you’re right, I never thought about that.’ I said, ‘You know, I have to start thinking about that.’ So, I, I think you’ll be O.K. I think you’re going to be fine.

[Photo: YouTube screen grab]

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