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Follow-Up Polls Continue to Show Fox News Viewers Are Informed

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Posted: May 19, 2021 11:00 PM
Follow-Up Polls Continue to Show Fox News Viewers Are Informed

Source: AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Last week, I highlighted a project from Rasmussen Reports and the Heartland Institute, where a poll on climate change showed Fox News viewers are more informed on the issue than their CNN and MSNBC counterparts. Other polls have since been released regarding the issues of police shootings, the budget, health care, and taxes.

Here's a refresher about the poll, which was conducted April 29-May 3: 

Of the 2,000 likely voters, a plurality, 34 percent, categorized Fox News as their "favorite." Nineteen percent chose "another" network as their "favorite."  

...

It's always illuminating to see the approval ratings for President Joe Biden. A plurality, 44 percent, "strongly disapprove." The next highest response, 33 percent, "strongly approve."

In this case, those pluralities are even more significant because the poll, like most polls, oversamples Democrats by 38-36 percent.

Another issue where Fox News viewers were better informed involved police shootings on the following questions. 

"Approximately how many unarmed African Americans were fatally shot by police in 2020?" asked one question. A healthy plurality, 44 percent, chose the correct answer of less than 50. In 2020, a total of 18 unarmed individuals were fatally shot by police, 26 if you include individuals carrying a "toy weapon" and "BB gun" as "unarmed incidents."

This included 60 percent of Fox News viewers. However, a plurality of MSNBC viewers overestimated these killings, with 31 percent choosing 50-100 and 31 percent likewise choosing 100-500. A plurality of CNN viewers also overestimated, with 27 percent choosing 50-100 and 26 percent choosing 100-500 black individuals. 

One question which really stumped respondents was on knife attacks. "Approximately how many homicides occur each year in the United States in which the assailant uses a knife or sharp object?" one question asked, with the correct answer being 1,700 per year from 2007-2017. 

While neither a plurality of viewers of Fox News, MSNBC, or CNN chose the correct answer, and a plurality instead chose 100-500 deaths, slightly more Fox News viewers performed better on this question. Eighteen percent of Fox News viewers chose 1,000-5,000, while 12 percent of MSNBC viewers and 17 percent of CNN viewers did. 

Fox News viewers did overestimate the amount of unarmed white individuals fatally shot by police in 2020, which was 37 if you count individuals with a "toy weapon" and "BB gun" as "unarmed." A plurality, at 37 percent, overestimated the answer to be 50-100. 

They also underestimated the amount of "how many homicides occur each year in the United States in which the assailant uses a rifle, including so-called 'assault rifles,'" which was 340 per year between 2007-2017, adjusted to 439 to account for underreporting. A plurality, at 39 percent, underestimated to say under 50. 

Justin Haskins, who has provided write-ups for the Heartland Institute on the polls, mentioned this as one of his takeaways, with original emphasis: 

Further, a large proportion of viewers for CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, and NBC dramatically overestimated the number of fatal police shootings of unarmed African Americans. For example, about one-quarter of CNN viewers said at least 500, and 9% reported 1,000 or more. Similarly, 11% of ABC viewers said 1,000 or more, with 5% of the total reporting at least 5,000 fatal police shootings of unarmed African Americans every year.

Another takeaway, also with original emphasis, provided to Townhall notes that "The public is way off on knife attacks." 

More analysis will follow in the coming days of other issues polled.