Does the media give too much attention to mass shootings? Our poll finds a plurality of Utah voters believe so

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Utah voters are split over whether the media give mass shootings too much attention, a new poll by and Y2 Analytics shows.

This is the final publication of the findings of an extensive survey by Y2 on how Utahns feel about gun issues these days, after a summer of some high-profile shootings/killings across America.

You can find the poll questions and results on the Utah Political Trends website, along with the methodology of surveying our statistically accurate panel of voters.

The new poll shows:

— 44 percent of voters say the media gives “too much attention” to mass shootings.

— 39 percent say the coverage we get from traditional news services “is about right.”

— Only 12 percent say the media gives “too little attention” to mass shootings, roughly defined as when four or more people are shot or killed by firearm violence in one incident or several incidents quickly following each other.

— 5 percent “don’t know.”


Once again, the poll finds a significant difference between the opinions of men and women in Utah.

— A majority of men, 52 percent, say the media gives too much attention to mass shootings.

— But only 36 percent of women agree.

That 16-percentage-point difference is statistically significant.

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In question after question in the gun survey, we see women favor more gun control, and believe government can make a difference in gun violence, while fewer men agree on these issues.

— 44 percent of women say the media plays the stories about right, while 15 percent say too little attention is given to mass shootings.

— Only 35 percent of men say the media gets it about right, while only 9 percent of men say too little attention is paid to mass shootings.

As we’ve seen in our other gun violence/gun control questions, the issue is highly partisan:

— 64 percent of “strong” Republicans say too much attention is paid to mass shootings by the media.

— 53 percent of political “independents” agree — too much attention.

— But only 9 percent of “strong” Democrats have that opinion.

— 64 percent of “strong” Democrats say the media gets it right on mass shooting coverage.

— 29 percent of independents say that.

— And 28 percent of “strong” Republicans say the media gets its coverage right.

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We see even more substantial differences between those who said they are “strong” conservatives, those who take the “middle of the road” in their political philosophy, and those who self-identified as “strong” liberals.

— 75 percent of “strong” conservatives say the media overplays mass shootings.

— 39 percent of middle of the road folks agree.

— While only 16 percent of “strong” liberals say the media overplay mass shootings.

As mentioned in our other gun polling results, leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ban all guns (except law enforcement) from their ward houses and other public properties.

Y2 finds that 45 percent of “very active” Mormons say the media overplays mass shootings, 43 percent say it gets coverage about right, while only 7 percent of very active members of the LDS faith say too little attention is paid by the media to mass shootings.