Accuracy in Media

The media’s favorable coverage of South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg hit an abrupt speed bump when NBC News disputed his claim that his campaign appealed to Republican voters. Buttigieg, according to NBC News, “is pitching himself as a rare Democrat who can win over GOP voters in a general election, a Midwesterner whose message of national unity and healing can convert President Donald Trump’s supporters into “future former Republicans.”

Yet NBC News countered Buttigieg’s assertions on the campaign trail in its latest political analysis, headlined, “Buttigieg says he can win Republicans in a contest with Trump. The polls don’t.”

The news outlet pointed out how national polls “suggest Buttigieg doesn’t have much appeal to Republicans in a one-on-one race against Trump,” despite Buttigieg’s insistence that he does appeal to Republican voters. At the same time, Republican voters overwhelmingly back trump and “is cruising to renomination” as the GOP presidential nominee. One of his primary opponents, former Rep. Joe Walsh, dropped out after the Iowa caucuses.

NBC News doused Buttigieg’s claims with a cold dose of reality and noted how Buttigieg received only 5 percent support among self-identified Republican voters in a head-to-head match-up with Trump. Trump received 92 percent support in the same survey, which NPR, PBS NewsHour and Marist conducted. An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll added more credibility to the NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll when it discovered Buttigieg received 9 percent of Republican voters’ support. Another poll, conducted by Quinnipiac, noted that Buttigieg polled worse than other candidates among Republican voters in battleground states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

According to 2016 exit polls, Trump won 88 percent of Republican voters, while Hillary Clinton received 8 percent.

Despite Buttigieg’s best efforts to promote himself as the sole candidate who could appeal to Republican voters, NBC News debunked his narrative. Polls are reliable data points and none of the polls validated Buttigieg’s claims that he has cross-party political appeal. The rest of the mainstream media should temper their coverage and tone surrounding Buttigieg’s campaign since the data does not support one of his core pitches to Democratic Party primary voters.

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