Poll shows voters paying attention to Twitter files
Nearly two-thirds think the platform engaged in political censorship in 2020
The results from the December Capps Harvard Harris Poll seem to show voters have been paying attention to the changes at Twitter with Elon Musk at the helm as well as the release of the Twitter Files based on a subset of questions in the poll.
The poll included 1,851 registered voters and was from Dec. 14-15, 2022. That means that only Twitter Files 1-5 had been released.
The methodology does say that there was score weighting across demographics, age, and sex and to “adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.”
Here are the results involving Twitter:
64%, almost two-thirds of voters, think Twitter engaged in political censorship during the last presidential election. The same percentage believe Twitter was shadowbanning users on the platform.
61% said Twitter banning tweets about Hunter Biden's laptop was politically motivated.
58% responded that the laptop was genuine and not Russian disinformation.
The majority of voters responded that Twitter officials were politically motivated when it came to banning tweets about the laptop.
76% believe James Baker, the former FBI official involved in the Trump/Russia allegations, was acting out political bias.
48% responded that Twitter officials were actively trying to help Joe Biden win in 2020.
69% said they believe Twitter and government officials were working together to censor tweets about COVID.
68% said that censorship violated the First Amendment.
Additionally, 74% believe Twitter and government officials who were working to censor tweets should be prosecuted.
51% responded that Twitter's ban on Donald Trump was based on "made up" policies just to get the job done.
61% of respondents said Elon Musk is cleaning up Twitter and making it better.
When asked if the Twitter files revelations should be investigated more thoroughly by Congress and the FBI for First Amendment violations or a civil suit, 67% said yes.
A related question asked, Do you support new national laws protecting internet and social media users from corporate censorship or oppose it because corporations have a right to do what is in their best interest?
Another question asked if more laws were needed to protect against censorship on social media platforms. A whopping 70% responded they would support such a law or laws. The remaining 30% said companies should be able to do what they want.
Just a quick reminder - all of these questions were asked before the second half of the Twitter Files dropped and before the large number of FBI and CIA officials employed with the company was known.
For those who haven’t read the Twitter Files yet, the links to the files as of set 8 can be found at the bottom of this article.
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These results are interesting given that mainstream media outlets have completely failed to report on the Twitter Files.
Only FOX News seemed to be covering the story in any depth, noting that after the first sets of files came out, “major Sunday shows on ABC, NBC, CBS, and CNN devoted a total of seven seconds to the story.”
The mere seconds-worth level of coverage by major outlets has continued as more installments have been published.
There was also a blackout of coverage by print media giants like the NY Times and Washington Post.
In a Dec. 11 column in the NY Post calling out the “shameful” media blackout, Miranda Devine opined that “The best description for what the Times and WaPo are doing is “totschweigetaktik,” a great German word for “death by silence,” a tactic to kill ideas or news stories by ignoring them.”
The media was not left out of the Capps Harvard Harris poll and voters continue to view mainstream media negatively:
63% of voters believe mainstream media supports political censorship.
60% said the media are really working as political activists.
These responses are not surprising given the public’s faith in media remains near a record low, according to an Oct. Gallup poll:
“At 34%, Americans' trust in the mass media to report the news "fully, accurately and fairly" is essentially unchanged from last year and just two points higher than the lowest that Gallup has recorded, in 2016 during the presidential campaign.
Just 7% of Americans have "a great deal" of trust and confidence in the media, and 27% have "a fair amount." Meanwhile, 28% of U.S. adults say they do not have very much confidence and 38% have none at all in newspapers, TV and radio. Notably, this is the first time that the percentage of Americans with no trust at all in the media is higher than the percentage with a great deal or a fair amount combined.”
A NY Times/Sienne Poll also published in October had a set of questions asking respondents if they believed “democracy was under threat,” and 71% said yes.
The poll dug into that question and found that nearly 60% feel the media is a major threat to democracy; 14 percentage points higher than former President Trump as a major threat.
With major and minor threats combined, 84% said the mainstream media is a threat to Democracy.
Mainstream media - major threat 59%; minor threat 25%; not a threat 15%
Donald Trump - major threat 45%; minor threat 22%; not a threat 31%
Joe Biden - major threat 38%; minor threat 22%; not a threat 37%
Democrats - major threat 33%; minor threat 30%; not a threat 34%
Republicans - major threat 28%; minor threat 39%; not a threat 29%
The NY Times/Sienna poll was conducted on Oct.9 and 12 and surveyed 792 registered voters.
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