A new survey has found that a dwindling number of journalists identify as Republicans, while the percentage of those who affiliate with Independents continues to grow.
Conducted by two professors at the Indiana University School of Journalism, the study found that 28 percent of journalists identify as Democrats, compared to only 7 percent who align politically with the GOP. Both political parties have seen a sharp decline since 2002, though more journalists are identifying as Independents than ever, at roughly 50 percent.
“Overall, U.S. journalists today are much more likely to identify themselves as Independents rather than Democrats or Republicans — a pattern not observed before 2002,” Lars Wilnat and David Weaver, the journalism professors who conducted the study, write.
Since 2002, there has been a decline of 11 percentage points — from 18 percent to 7 percent — in reporters who affiliate with the Republican party. In 1971, approximately 26 percent of journalists considered themselves to be Republicans.
However, journalists identifying as Democrats represent the lowest percentage since 1971, when 35.5 percent of reporters associated with the Democratic Party.
The largest jump in political affiliation comes from those who say they are Independents, as 32.5 percent of journalists identified as Independents in 2002, compared to more than 50 percent who did in 2013.
Interestingly, a whopping 60 percent of reporters polled said they believe journalism is heading in the wrong direction. They pointed to a decline in profits, the emergence of online media and job cuts as the most important significant issues facing the industry.
As The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza noted, Indiana University’s findings will likely reaffirm beliefs that bias in the mainstream media runs rampant.
However, shifts in political affiliations from either Democrat to Independent or Republican to Independent are consistent with national trends, as a growing number of adults in the U.S. identify as Independents, according to a December ABC News/Washington Post poll.
Only 24 percent of adults identify as Republicans, compared to 30 percent who affiliate with Democrats. Forty percent say they are Independents.