Almost 8 in 10 Republicans who watch Fox News say Donald Trump is the most successful president in history.
That was just one finding of a new poll showing the deep ideological divide between Fox News viewers and everyone else. The poll results were provided to The Daily Beast by Navigator, a project launched by Democratic groups Global Strategy Group and GBA strategies. They surveyed more than 1,000 registered voters online with the goal of examining the differences in views between Fox News viewers and non-Fox viewers.
It comes after Democratic strategists have debated whether candidates and officeholders should appear on Trump’s favorite cable news channel to win over its regular viewers. Candidates like Sen. Amy Klobuchar have deliberately made efforts to speak to Fox News viewers, and the Democratic National Committee briefly entertained the idea of hosting a debate on Fox News before deciding against it.
But Thursday’s survey shows why many in the party have largely written off the network’s viewers as a lost cause.
The survey’s authors argue that the network presents an “alternate reality” in American politics, and plays an “outsized role in the way many experience and form opinions on the most important issues facing the country.”
The data show numerous ways in which Fox News-watching Republicans have radically different beliefs from non-Republicans and even Republicans who do not watch Fox News.
Republicans who don’t watch Fox News, for example, are over twice as likely to believe climate change is man-made, compared to just 12 percent of Republicans who watch Fox News. According to the poll, 78 percent of Republicans who watch Fox News believe Trump has accomplished more than any other president in history, compared to 49 percent of Republicans who do not watch Fox News. And 79 percent of Republican Fox News viewers said they believed people within the FBI and US intelligence agencies were trying to sabotage Trump, compared to 49 percent of non-Fox News viewing Republicans and just 8 percent of non-Fox News viewing registered voters who did not identify as Republican.
“Where Republican partisan affiliation and the Fox News echo-chamber overlap, there is near unanimity on the politics and even the facts defining the Trump presidency. This is the ‘FoxHole,’” the pollsters said. “What the Navigator data demonstrates is this particular segment of the public is so vastly different from the rest, it may serve progressives best to focus their attention on everyone else.”
Thursday’s poll also found that Fox News viewers say they are much more aware of many progressive issues because Fox News has covered the issues more often than other news sources. The survey found that twice as many Fox News viewers reported being aware of the Green New Deal compared to those who do not watch Fox News, because the right-wing network’s personalities endlessly lambaste the Democratic proposal as a plan to implement socialism.
“When evaluating national polling about progressive items like the Green New Deal, it should be acknowledged that opinion can often be driven by this highly aware, but relatively narrow slice of Fox News-watching Republicans,” according to the survey’s findings.
But while the numbers may show why many Democratic presidential candidates have focused their media attention elsewhere, the survey/poll suggests that Democratic candidates should not completely neglect the network.
According to the survey, 15 percent of Fox News viewers are not Republicans. This group, while more conservative than non-Fox News watching non-Republicans, is much more amenable to Democrats’ positions on issues like climate change, Republicans’ tax plan, and Trump’s job performance.
“Progressives should be mindful of the challenge from the Fox News echo-chamber and how it skews public perceptions,” the survey said. “At the same time, there may be opportunities to reach people who aren’t in the chamber: Republicans who don’t watch Fox News, and non- Republicans who do.”