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Arizona election officials count ballots inside the Maricopa County Recorder's Office in Phoenix on Nov. 6, 2020. (AP) Arizona election officials count ballots inside the Maricopa County Recorder's Office in Phoenix on Nov. 6, 2020. (AP)

Arizona election officials count ballots inside the Maricopa County Recorder's Office in Phoenix on Nov. 6, 2020. (AP)

Louis Jacobson
By Louis Jacobson April 27, 2021

About 66% of U.S. public thinks Joe Biden is the legitimate president, not 30%

If Your Time is short

• According to the most recent Gallup poll, 33% of adults distrust the media entirely, about half of the 70% cited in the post.

• Meanwhile, the most recent poll asking about Biden’s legitimacy found that 66% believed he was legitimately elected, which is twice as high as the 30% cited in the post.

A Facebook post that’s been circulating recently says that only 30% of Americans think Joe Biden actually won the 2020 presidential election.

"Please keep in mind," the post says, "that 70% of Americans don't believe a word the mainstream media puts out, except for maybe a few faces on Fox News. That means everyone you’re seeing and everyone who thinks Biden won are only 30% of the population."

The post is off-base on both statistics — and in assuming that there’s a direct connection between the two ideas.

Trust in media

Trust in the mainstream media has been declining for years. The polling firm Gallup has asked this question consistently since 1997, and the overall level of trust among all adults surveyed has fallen during that period from 53% to 40%. These figures combine the responses for "a great deal" of trust and "a fair amount" of trust.

For 2020, Gallup found that 33% of respondents had no trust in the media and another 27% had very little trust.

 

It’s worth noting that the percentage of respondents reporting trust in the mass media — which is defined in the polling question as "newspapers, TV and radio" — varies widely depending on the respondent’s partisan identification.

In 2020, Gallup found that 73% of Democrats trusted the media "a great deal" or "a fair amount," compared with 36% for independents and just 10% for Republicans.

 

The Facebook post uses pretty strong language, referring to 70% as the share of people who "don't believe a word the mainstream media puts out." But according to Gallup, only about half that — just 33% — say they have no trust in the media. 

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Belief in Biden’s victory

Where the post’s message goes off the rails is its conclusion that as a result of the distrust of the media, "everyone who thinks Biden won are only 30% of the population."

The most recent survey to address this was the Associated Press-National Opinion Research Center, which was conducted between Jan. 28 and Feb. 1.

It asked, "Do you think Joe Biden was legitimately elected president, or not?"

The answers broke down to 66% yes, 33% no, and 1% other. 

That’s more than double what the Facebook post said.

As was the case with trust in the media, there was a significant difference by party affiliation. Only 33% of Republicans said that Biden was legitimately elected, compared with virtually all Democrats who said yes.

Earlier polls — those taken in November, shortly after Biden was declared the winner — showed 60% to almost 80% of Americans agreed with Biden’s legitimacy.

In any case, regardless of whether the media is trusted, Biden is the duly elected president, having been certified as the victor by state election officials, the Electoral College and Congress.

Our ruling

The Facebook post said, "70% of Americans don't believe a word the mainstream media puts out," so "everyone who thinks Biden won are only 30% of the population."

The level of people who have a complete distrust of the media is about half as high as the post says, according to the most recent Gallup poll, and the most recent poll asking about Biden’s legitimacy found 66% support, which is more than twice as high as what the post said.

We rate the statement False.

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About 66% of U.S. public thinks Joe Biden is the legitimate president, not 30%

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