Pew Poll: People Split on Media’s Fairness Toward Sarah Palin

Survey Also Finds Interest in Election Reaches New High

About as many people say the media have been too tough on Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin as say they have been fair to her, according to viewers polled by the Pew Research Center (, though far more say they have been too tough than say they have been too easy.

While those viewers mostly say the press has been fair to Democratic VP candidate Joe Biden (66%), Barack Obama (60%) and John McCain (also 60%), only 38% say the media have been fair to Palin, the same percentage who say it has been too tough. By contrast, only 5% say that they media been too tough on Biden.

Many more people said the coverage of Obama was too easy (31%) than too hard (7%).

Not surprisingly, most of the percentages are heavily influenced by political affiliation. For example, only 18% of Democrats say the Palin coverage was too tough, while 68% of Republicans say it has been.

A telling figure there, though, is for self-described independents. Forty-one percent also say the Palin coverage has been too tough.

Pew said the interest in the campaign reached a new high last week, with 89% of the public following campaign coverage either "very closely” (57%) or “fairly closely” (31%).

However, the biggest story of last week was not the election but the financial meltdown, with 65% of those polled saying they followed that story "most closely," followed by 22% for the campaign. The death of actor Paul Newman was tied with the War in Iraq, with 2% saying they were most interested in that story.

The Pew survey, conducted by Opinion Research Corp., is a telephone poll of approximately 1,000 adults 18-plus. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.5 points.

For complete election coverage, click here.


Palin Slipping In Media Coverage

Project for Excellence in Jorunalism study says that campaign news has overtaken the financial crisis as the most covered story, though coverage of VP nominee Sarah palin has slipped to its lowest level since being named to the ticket.