US survey: Disinformation exacerbates political extremism

Americans across the political spectrum say disinformation is fueling political extremism and hate crimes, according to a survey released just weeks before the country’s midterm elections.

Some three-quarters of adults say misinformation is leading to more extreme political views and behavior, such as violence based on race, religion or gender, according to the Pearson Institute and The Associated Press-NORC survey. Center for Public AffairsResearch.

“We’re at a point where misinformation is so bad that you can have very little trust in what you read in the media or on social media,” said Republican Brett Reffeitt, 49, of Indianapolis, who participated in the poll. . “It’s about getting clicks, not the truth, and it’s the extremes that get the attention.”

The Pearson Institute/HPD-NORC survey shows that regardless of political ideology, Americans agree that misinformation is leaving a mark on the country.

Overall, 91% of adults say the spread of misinformation is a problem, and 74% consider it a major problem. Only 8% say misinformation is not a problem at all.

By party, 80% of Democrats and 70% of Republicans say misinformation fuels extreme political views, according to the poll. Similarly, 85% of Democrats and 72% of Republicans say disinformation increases hate crimes, including violence motivated by gender, religion, or race.

Overall, 77% of respondents think misinformation increases hate crimes, and 73% say it increases extreme political views.

About 7 in 10 say they are at least somewhat concerned about being exposed to misinformation, and 50% say disinformation reduces trust in government.


Nuha Dolby in New York contributed to this report.


The survey of 1,003 adults was conducted from September 9 to 12 using a sample drawn from NORC’s probability-based AmeriSpeak panel, representative of the population. The margin of error is +/-4 percentage points.

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