Survey: Trump Voters Overwhelmingly Chose Fox News as Main Source of Election News

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Hillary Clinton; Donald Trump

Supporters of Hillary Clinton did not coalesce around a single news source, according to a new Pew survey.

At a time when the media has become more diffuse and consumers are sharing stories on social media (where “fake news” has proliferated), Fox News Channel is still the go-to source for supporters of Donald Trump, according to a new survey.

In fact, 40 percent of respondents to a Pew Research Center survey say that Fox News was their “main source” of election news leading up to the 2016 presidential election. On the other hand, voters who cast their ballots for Hillary Clinton did not coalesce around a single news source the way Trump voters did. The top source for Clinton supporters was CNN, with 18 percent of respondents naming the cable news network as their main source for election news. Conversely, only 8 percent of Trump voters cited CNN as their main source for election news and a mere 3 percent of Clinton voters named Fox News.

MSNBC, Facebook, local television news, NPR, ABC, The New York Times and CBS were each named by between 5 and 9 percent of Clinton voters. MSNBC was named by 9 percent of Clinton voters, said the survey, but only 1 percent of Trump’s voters “relied most on that network.”

The findings are in line with past surveys that found that conservatives and liberals have strikingly different media diets, reflecting the polarization of society in general. A 2014 Pew survey found that 47 percent of “consistent conservatives” cited Fox News as their “main source for news about government and politics.” The current survey was conducted among 4,183 adults between Nov. 29 and Dec. 12, 2016. The margin of sampling error for the full sample of 4,183 respondents is plus or minus 2.7 percentage points.

For all the attention paid to digital native news sites including BuzzFeed and Breitbart, none served as main news sources for either Trump or Clinton voters. The pro-Trump Breitbart was named by just 1 percent of voters, while no respondents cited BuzzFeed.

The Trump team’s efforts to malign the so-called mainstream media as reflexively liberal notwithstanding, there were a handful of news organizations that appealed equally across party lines, including NBC and CBS, but also Facebook, which doesn’t actually produce its own news.