A survey conducted by Indiana University professors Lars Willnat and David H. Weaver reveals that just 7% of journalists identify as Republican. This represents a substantial drop from the survey taken a decade ago, when almost 19% of journalists admitted affiliation to the GOP.
This is the fifth such survey conducted since 1971.
More than 28% say they’re Democrats compared to nearly 36% ten years ago. The number of “other” political affiliations among journalists grew from 11% a decade ago to 14.6% today.
The number of journalists identifying as independent is at 50.2 percent, the highest percentage since the survey began, and the number identifying as Democrat dropped to 28.1 percent. Of those polled, 14.6 percent identified as “other.” That means nearly 65 percent of journalists polled don’t identify with either of the major parties.
The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza notes two caveats to those numbers: The first, is that the study is among all reporters, not just political reporters whose party identification may be a lot different. Second, “the movement toward independent status among reporters is in keeping with a similar move in the broader electorate as they find the two parties increasingly rigid and, therefore, less welcoming.”
We’ll add another – the parties of today are much different than those in the 1970s. Additionally, with everyone’s information readily available through a quick online search, it’s no surprise journalists would be more willing to stay in the “independent” lane rather than risk being called bias based on their political affiliation.
Some other interesting tidbits from the survey: Nearly 60 percent of those surveyed think journalism in the U.S. is heading in the wrong direction; job satisfaction has dropped from a quick peak in 2002 to just 23.3 percent of journalists saying they are “very satisfied” in their jobs; and only 12.1 percent find reaching the widest audience possible “extremely important.”
Meanwhile, the number of journalists who consider their role to be “investigating government claims” is at its highest yet, with 78.2 percent finding that aspect of their jobs “extremely important.”
The study was conducted via online interviews with 1,080 reporters between August and December 2013.
That 7% number is probably inflated by economic and business reporters who may not be quite as liberal as news and political journalists.
I would also imagine that there are at least a few of those reporters identifying as “independents” who would rather keep the fact that they vote Republican to themselves. A much larger number of self-described independents are liberals trying to hide their bias.
Perhaps the most fascinating number on the graph is the 14.6% who identify as belonging to “other” political parties. Greens? Commies? Constitution Party? Probably a few Libertarian Party adherents in there too.
You could demand that media outlets hire more conservatives, but it wouldn’t do much good, as I’ll explain on the next page.