Fake News

Trump Supporters, Fake News and the “Reality Gap”: Vol. 2

FOX News reported today,

A Fox News poll came out the other night, and I tweeted some of the findings about President Trump.

No analysis, no commentary. Just a few numbers.

“Trump approval at 40%, down from 45% last month. 53% say his agenda is coming apart; 44% say he’s shaking up Washington.”

And: “68% approve of DOJ naming a special counsel, 29% disapprove.”

Well, you’d have thought I had called for the president’s impeachment.

I practically got buried under an avalanche of angry tweets.

Most of them didn’t seem to want to engage in an actual discussion. They just attacked me, Fox, and polling in general:

“The way Fox is headed. This poll is wrong. I talk to people from all over the US everyday. Trump is still tops. No one unhappy. All cool.”

The article lists a whole series of comments from Trump supporters who rejected the results of the poll.  Trump supporters do not even trust FOX News anymore: any news that does not support Trump is considered “Fake News.”

A few weeks after the election, Buzzfeed did an analysis that showed fake news generated more engagement on Facebook during the election than the top election stories.  A poll was released in December of 2016 by Public Policy Polling could give us some idea of the impact of this phenomenon.  The results show Trump voters have a unique misunderstanding of reality: with respect to unemployment, the stock market, the popular vote, voter fraud and George Soros.

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Nate Silver wrote an article in November of 2016 entitled, “Education, Not Income, Predicted Who Would Vote For Trump.”  He demonstrates that Clinton’s lead peaked in the 50 most educated counties.  Trump does well with people who do not have a college education.  This lack of education clearly contributes to the reality gap between Trump voters and the rest of us.

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