During the last two years of Trump's presidency, he has developed a reputation among the media for bending the truth on some occasions, and flat-out lying in others. His repeated falsehoods have inspired any number of clap backs from politicians, world leaders, and news publications across the spectrum — but the question of how many Americans actually believe Trump's false claims isn't directly addressed as often. A new poll from The Washington Post sought to answer it, and the results speak volumes.
The Washington Post poll was conducted from Nov. 30 to Dec. 10, and was comprised of a "random sample" of 1,025 English and Spanish-speaking American citizens, with efforts made to diversify in terms of gender, age, race/ethnicity, and education. The Post noted this poll was defined by the following parameters:
The survey included 18 pairs of opposing statements — one true, one false — without identifying who made the statement. Eleven questions gauging belief in false claims by Trump were mixed among four false claims by Democrats, a true claim by Trump and two probing other factual statements.
The results could suggest a majority of citizens know when Trump's lying: fewer than three in 10 Americans believed the claims made by Trump that were featured in the poll. What's more, less than one in six Americans in a "pool of strong Trump approvers" believed that a majority of his claims were true.
Interestingly, the poll further revealed that where Americans get their news was also a determinant in how much they believed false claims. The adults who counted Fox News as one of their top news networks believed in 33 percent of Trump's false claims, on average, compared to the 21 percent of those who said Fox News wasn't one of their main news sources.
However, the poll wasn't only about Trump. It also explored common falsehoods perpetuated by the Democratic party, including the claim that there are more people in prison for selling or possessing marijuana than for all other violent crimes combined (this claim is false). According to the poll, the Americans who chose MSNBC and CNN as their top news networks were more likely to reject false claims made by Trump, but they were simultaneously more likely to believe false statements made by Democrats.
And then, there was good news for print publications everywhere. The poll revealed that the people who reflected the lowest percentage in terms of believing falsehoods were those who said they got their news from NPR or print newspapers.
It's worth noting that Trump's "believability" isn't necessarily correlated to his approval rating. In fact, new polls from Iowa reveal that a majority of Republican voters in the state would elect Trump to a second term, though they would also welcome challengers. As for his literal approval rating, FiveThirtyEight has him hovering at 42 percent approval as of Dec. 16.
Trump has developed such a penchant for making incorrect claims about the same topics (regardless of how many times he is proven to be false) that The Washington Post announced the addition of the "bottomless Pinocchio" to its rating scale for the accuracy of statements made by politicians. One claim that was given the "bottomless Pinocchio" was his claim that the border wall is currently under construction. He has made this false claim 86 times in the last seven months, according to the Post.