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Cable News Viewers Still Turn To Fox First

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Most voters turn to cable news for political coverage, and Fox News remains the top channel for these viewers. But voters still remain dubious of much of the political news they are getting.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that, in a typical week, 75% of Likely U.S. Voters say they watch cable news networks for their political news at least occasionally. That includes 21% who say they do so several times a week and 25% who watch every day. Twenty-four percent (24%) say they rarely or never watch cable news networks for politics. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

These findings are similar to those measured last July.

Among those who tune in to cable news networks at least occasionally, 42% say Fox News is the channel they generally watch, compared to 35% who turn to CNN and 19% who prefer MSNBC. These findings, too, are little changed from last year.

Among cable news network viewers who watch Fox News most often, 50% say they trust the political news they are getting. That compares to 43% of MSNBC viewers and just 33% who tune in mostly to CNN.

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Among all voters, only 37% trust the political news they are getting, while just as many (36%) do not. Twenty-six percent (26%) are not sure.

Voters shared a similar distrust in political news last year, but just 33% trusted the political news they were getting during the 2014 midterm election season.

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The national survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on January 2, 2017 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Cable news networks were the number one source of news about the presidential campaign for 37% of voters. Twenty-two percent (22%) relied on internet news sites, while just as many (21%) turned to traditional TV networks news. Seven percent (7%) got most of their news about the campaign from social media. Five percent (5%) used radio, and four percent (4%) looked primarily at print newspapers. Voters were pretty critical of the news coverage they got this election cycle, particularly those who relied on social media.

More frequent viewers of cable news are more trusting of the political news they are getting compared to those who tune in less often.

Among those who watch cable news for politics every day, 48% say they are most likely to watch Fox News; 28% prefer CNN, and 22% lean toward MSNBC.

The older the voter, the more likely he or she is to watch cable news networks for politics. Those under 40 are more likely to watch CNN, while older voters prefer Fox News.

Most Republicans (72%) watch Fox, while 50% of Democrats would rather view CNN. Voters not affiliated with either party are evenly divided between the two.

Unaffiliated voters are less trusting of the political news they receive compared to Republicans and Democrats.

Sixty-two percent (62%) of all voters say the media, not the candidates, set the agenda in the presidential campaign, and 74% believe the media was more interested in controversy than in the issues.

Most also didn’t trust media fact-checking during the campaign.

As in previous presidential election cycles, voters expected most reporters covering political campaigns to help their favorite candidates, and they thought it was far more likely reporters would help the Democrat rather than the Republican. We’ll tell you at 10:30 a.m. EST whether voters think reporters have been biased for or against Republican Donald Trump since his upset defeat of Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Fifty-five percent (55%) of Americans believe it is at least somewhat likely that so-called ‘fake news’ sites on the internet impacted the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.

After Clinton alleged in the second presidential debate that Russian hackers were trying to influence the election, 56% of voters said it was more likely that many in the media were working to get Clinton elected than that the Russian government was working to get Trump elected.

Additional information from this survey and a full demographic breakdown are available to Platinum Members only.

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We conduct public opinion polls on a variety of topics to inform our audience on events in the news and other topics of interest. To ensure editorial control and independence, we pay for the polls ourselves and generate revenue through the sale of subscriptions, sponsorships, and advertising. Nightly polling on politics, business and lifestyle topics provides the content to update the Rasmussen Reports web site many times each day. If it's in the news, it's in our polls. Additionally, the data drives a daily update newsletter and various media outlets across the country.

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