(Newsroom America) -- A new Gallup poll has found Americans' distrust in the media hit a new high this year, with 60% saying they have little or no trust in the mass media to report the news fully, accurately, and fairly.
The findings of the survey conducted Sept. 6-9, 2012 also means that negativity toward the media is at an all-time high for a presidential election year.
Trust in the media was much higher and more positive than negative in the years prior to 2004, reaching as high as 72% when Gallup asked this question three times in the 1970s.
Gallup said this year's decline in media trust is driven by independents and Republicans.
The 31% and 26%, respectively, who express a great deal or fair amount of trust are record lows and are down significantly from last year. Republicans' level of trust this year is similar to what they expressed in the fall of 2008, which Gallup said implied they were especially critical of election coverage.
Independents are sharply more negative compared with 2008, which Gallup said suggested they were quite dissatisfied with the media's ability to get fair and accurate news coverage of this election.
Republicans expressed the least trust in the media while Democrats express the most.
Gallup said on a broad level, Americans' high level of distrust in the media poses a challenge to democracy and to creating a fully engaged citizenry.
"Media sources must clearly do more to earn the trust of Americans, the majority of whom see the media as biased one way or the other. At the same time, there is an opportunity for others outside the "mass media" to serve as information sources that Americans do trust."
The results are based on telephone interviews conducted Sept. 6-9, 2012, with a random sample of 1,017 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. The poll had a margin of error of ±4 percentage points.