Trust in UK Government and News Media COVID-19 Information Down, Concerns Over Misinformation from Government and Politicians Up

Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, 2020

8 Pages Posted: 25 Jun 2020 Last revised: 5 Oct 2020

See all articles by Richard Fletcher

Richard Fletcher

University of Oxford - Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism

Antonis Kalogeropoulos

University of Liverpool - Department of Communication and Media; University of Oxford - Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism

Rasmus Kleis Nielsen

University of Oxford - Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism

Date Written: June 1, 2020

Abstract

In this Reuters Institute's factsheet we examine people’s attitudes towards how news organisations, government and other institutions are responding to the coronavirus pandemic in the UK based on a survey fielded from 21 May to 27 May, with a focus on changes since the first wave of our survey was fielded from 10 April to 14 April.

We find that:

Trust in the UK government as a source of information about coronavirus has declined substantially since April. 48% rated the government relatively trustworthy in late May, down from 67% six weeks earlier. Trust in news organisations is also down, from 57% to 46%. These drops are large and significant (as is the drop for politicians), and much more dramatic than the significantly smaller changes around other institutions.

The decline in trust in the UK government has happened across the political spectrum, including among those on the right (down 10 percentage points), as well as among people in the centre (down 19 percentage points) and on the left (down 24 percentage points). Trust in news is much less politically polarised.

We also find a significant increase in the percentage of people who say they are concerned about false or misleading information about coronavirus from the UK government (up 11 percentage points to 38%) and from politicians (up 9 percentage points to 40%). There has been no significant parallel change in the number of people who say they are concerned about false or misleading information about coronavirus from news organisations or other institutions.

The percentage of people who say that the UK government is doing a good job responding to the coronavirus crisis is down 21 percentage points since April. The biggest drops are among people in the political centre (down 25 percentage points) and on the political right (down 21 percentage points). The drop for news organisations is eight percentage points.

27% think that the coronavirus situation in the UK is heading in the right direction (down from 35% in April), and 25% think the UK is on the wrong track (up from 10% in April). Just under half (42%) think the picture is mixed.

Keywords: news, misinformation, trust, UK, coronavirus, COVID-19

Suggested Citation

Fletcher, Richard and Kalogeropoulos, Antonis and Nielsen, Rasmus Kleis, Trust in UK Government and News Media COVID-19 Information Down, Concerns Over Misinformation from Government and Politicians Up (June 1, 2020). Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, 2020, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3633002

Richard Fletcher

University of Oxford - Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism ( email )

13 Norham Gardens
Oxford, OX2 6PS
United Kingdom

Antonis Kalogeropoulos (Contact Author)

University of Liverpool - Department of Communication and Media ( email )

19-23 Abercromby Square
Liverpool, L69 7ZG

University of Oxford - Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism ( email )

13 Norham Gardens
Oxford, OX2 6PS
United Kingdom

Rasmus Kleis Nielsen

University of Oxford - Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism ( email )

13 Norham Gardens
Oxford, OX2 6PS
United Kingdom

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