Do note: The question wasn’t whether the end product is biased (say, unconsciously), it was whether the media’s even trying to be objective. Answering no: 68% overall, including 56% of Democrats and 50% of liberals. Our nutroots betters assure us that the press is thoroughly right-wing, so it must be McCain whom people believe is getting a free ride, yes? Not so much:

Voters have little doubt as to who is benefitting from the media coverage this year—Barack Obama. Fifty-four percent (54%) say Obama has gotten the best coverage so far. Twenty-two percent (22%) say McCain has received the most favorable coverage while 14% say that Hillary got the best treatment…

Looking ahead to the fall campaign, 44% believe most reporters will try to help Obama while only 13% believe that most will try to help McCain. Twenty-four percent (24%) are optimistic enough to believe that most reporters will try to offer unbiased coverage.

Even Democrats tend to believe their candidate will receive better treatment—27% of those in Obama’s party believe most reporters will try to help him win while only 16% believe they will help McCain. A plurality of Democrats—34%–believe most reporters will be unbiased.

Among unaffiliated voters, 44% believe reporters will try to help Obama and 14% believe they will try to help McCain.

Doubtless most of the lefties claiming the media’s in the tank for Obama are Hillary diehards (43% overall say she’s gotten the rawest deal among the three, compared to 27% saying McCain and 15% saying Obama). Exit question: It’s too much to expect most of her supporters to either stay home or vote McCain in the fall, but is it too much to expect them to be more sensitive to the media’s Obama shilling going forward? Not that they’re going to pound the table about it on McCain’s behalf, but I keep thinking back to Jeralyn Merritt of TalkLeft calling Olbermann “the most shameless ridiculous hack on TV.” Quite so, and once that lesson’s been learned, it can’t really be unlearned. Or can it?

Update: My mistake. It was Big Tent Democrat, not Jeralyn, who so aptly dubbed Olby the shameless hack.