Most Americans Thought The NYT Was Wrong To Publish McCain Story

Posted February 27, 2008 at 4:37pm

Read the Pew Research Center’s weekly News Interest Index

Americans who were aware of the New York Times story last week about John McCain’s relationship with a female lobbyist in 2000 say by a 57 percent to 33 percent margin that The Times did the wrong thing in publishing the story. The piece stirred controversy largely because the Times suggested McCain may have had a personal relationship with the lobbyist, but could not document it for certain. The Times’ Public Editor also cited that as a flaw in the story. The view of the story strongly depended on the reader’s partisan ties: Republicans said the Times was wrong by a 76 percent to 16 percent margin, while Democrats were more closely divided among themselves, with 47 percent saying The Times was wrong and 45 percent supporting the paper. The margin of error for this weekly survey was 3.5 percent.

Rasmussen Reports weighed in on public views of The Times in general. Its poll, conducted Feb.25-26, said 24 percent of American voters have a favorable view of The Times, 44 percent a negative view, and 31 percent are not sure. Liberals like it by a 58 percent to 18 percent margin while conservatives dislike it 69 percent to 9 percent.