The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Wednesday, June 09, 2004

According to Pew, Dems are more credulous

So I've turned to the Pew study (PDF), and got to page 4 - on which the headline story is the fall-off in CNN credibility.

More interesting to me is the table headed Growing Credibility Gap which shows the breakdown between Republican and Democrat for 2000, 2002 and 2004 of those who say they believe all or most from specified news outlets.

In 2004, for every outlet except Fox News Channel, the Dems score higher than the GOP. And, though the overall headline from the survey is fall-off in Republican trust in media, the 2000 numbers show exactly the same feature.

Except, in 2000, Dems trusted Fox more than Republicans did!

As much as the Republican headline, it's the credulousness of the - I almost said Dumbocrats - that needs explaining.

For instance, even in 2004, the FNC believe all or most number for Dems is 24%, compared to 29% for GOP. Which, given the notoriety of Fox as partisan hacks, is just a little surprising.

Interesting to see some meta-research here (which may come later in the Pew study, of course): do the 24% of Dem believers perceive that Fox is partisan? What do they mean by believe? How Democratic are these guys? Etc.

The table on page 45 gives some perspective: for various outlets, the percentages of Republicans and Democrats believing all or most of their output are given - and the gap for Fox is the smallest of all. The largest is CNN, for which the BAOM number is 26% for GOP, 45% for Dems.


On page 15, we get the party breakdown of Fox viewers. In 2000, Dems and GOP were 32% and 29% of viewers; in 2004, the corresponding numbers were 29% and 41%.

For the categories conservative: moderate: liberal, the percentages were, in 2000, 40:33:21; and, in 2004, 52:29:13.

This provides a possible explanation for the belief numbers I mentioned earlier: over the four year period, during which the perception of Fox partisanship will have grown, the category of self-describing Democrats amongst Fox viewers has been emptied of a large proportion of liberals. Those Dems left viewing Fox are much more ideologically sympathetic to the channel's line.

The detailed numbers at the back of the report may have the answer - I'm getting there...


I notice (page 43) that the believe all or most number for the New York Times is just 21% - as opposed to the Fox News overall number (page 42) of 25%.

There is a box (page 44) with the credibility trend for various rags, but the Times only has a 2004 number (all the outlets with earlier numbers are trending down).


More evidence of general Dem credulousness: a table on page 46 lists the top six outlets for Republicans and Democrats, in descending order of believedness. For GOP, the BAOM numbers range from 29% (Fox) to local TV news (21%): for Dems, the numbers go from CNN (45%) to NPR (33%).

Thus the Dems give more trust to their least trusted outlet than the GOP give to their most trusted!

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