How anti-Trump conservatives fled Fox News


The Goldberg / Hayes saga is the manifestation of a larger trend. Audiences in right-wing media such as Fox News, Newsmax, and One America News Network don’t want much to do with resistance to Trump, even if it means they are resisting the truth. Republicans who have not heard from these networks are much more unfavorable to the former president.

We can see it in a CNN / SSRS survey carried out in August and September. In the poll, I isolated Republicans and Independents who leaned for Republicans who preferred to get their TV or digital news only from Fox News, Newsmax, or One America News Network.

Almost uniformly (88% to 11%), Republican voters who like to learn from these conservative media believe that President Joe Biden did not legitimately get enough votes to win the presidency. In other words, almost every Republicans in the conservative media audience thinks a blatant lie is true.

A majority of Republican voters (57%) who follow digital or cable news and have not listed Fox News, Newsmax, or OANN (e.g. New York Times or said they don’t have a favorite) as a primary source also mistakenly believe Biden did not legitimately win the election. This level, however, is far below that of those who like to learn from the conservative media. In addition, a significantly larger share of those Republicans (42%) believe in the truth that Biden rightfully received enough votes to win the presidency.

The difference between these two audiences, however, isn’t just about opinions about the 2020 election. It’s how important those views are to their identity as Republicans.

Republican voters who prefer to hear their news from Fox, Newsmax, or OANN are three times more likely (57% to 18%) to say that thinking Trump won in 2020 is very important to what it means to be a Republican to them.

That is, while a majority of Republicans, regardless of where they like to get their news, have some false beliefs about 2020, those views run much more deeply among those who prefer these media. preservatives.

A different slice of the data may indicate this better. Only 11% of those who prefer conservative media say that thinking Trump won in 2020 is not at all important to what it means to be a Republican. This climbs to 38% among Republican voters who prefer other media.

More importantly, it demonstrates that the percentage of non-conservative media audiences who say Trump’s victory is not at all important to their GOP identity is far higher than those who say it is very important. The reverse is true among Republican voters who prefer the conservative media.

Now, the big question may be whether this is a correlation (i.e., Trump fans were less likely to watch conservative media from the start) or a causal link (i.e., the conservative media makes people believe that Biden did not legitimately win).

The answer is probably both. Yes, Republicans who prefer to learn from the conservative media were more likely to vote for Trump in 2020 (99% to 83%) among those who voted.

But even among Republicans who voted for Trump, 31% of those who prefer to learn outside the conservative media believe Biden rightfully won. That’s a small percentage, but it’s significantly higher than the 10% of those who enjoy receiving their news from Fox News, Newsmax or OANN.

Likewise, the percentage of Trump’s Republican voters who prefer their news to non-conservative media and think Trump winning in 2020 is very important to Republican identity (21%) is only about a third of what he is among those who prefer to get their news from the conservative media (60%).

This shouldn’t be surprising, given how much some conservative media have put forward the idea that Biden did not legitimately win.

Going forward, it seems unlikely that the divergent views on Trump among Republicans by choice of news consumption will dissipate. Republicans who prefer to learn from Fox News, Newsmax, or One America News Network remain much bigger fans of Trump than those who don’t.

A large 53% of Republican voters who get their news from conservative media say supporting Trump is very important to being a Republican. This is only 21% of those who get their media from other TV or digital sources.

Another way to measure this is to look at those who argue that supporting Trump is not at all important to their Republican identity. Arguably, these are some of the most ardent anti-Trump Republicans.

Only 8% of Republican voters who prefer conservative media think it is not at all important to support Trump. Among those who prefer to obtain information from other sources, it is 35%.

Anti-Trump resistance within the GOP is weak no matter where you go, but it is much weaker among those who like conservative media.

Looking ahead to the 2024 presidential primary, any Republican looking to beat Trump (assuming he runs) will likely have to dominate among those who do not prefer the conservative media. It probably won’t be enough to win. This route is probably a minority of Republicans (20% to 40% depending on the most generous definition). Without it, however, any challenge to Trump will be very difficult to succeed.


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