Only 11 Percent of Fox Viewers Disapprove of Trump Asking Ukraine to Investigate Biden
October 9th 2019
By Dan Desai Martin
The partisan cheerleading of Donald Trump coming from Fox News seems to have had a measurable effect on how Republicans view Trump’s actions with regard to Ukraine, the Atlantic reported Monday.
Only 11% of Republicans who rely primarily on Fox News for information say Trump’s interactions with Ukraine are an abuse of power. Among Republicans who rely on other sources for their news, the number jumps to 38%, based on researcher analysis from an Oct. 3 USA Today/Ipsos national poll.
That same poll shows 45% of all Americans support the current impeachment inquiry in the House of Representatives. Only 38% of Americans oppose the effort.
That split between Fox News viewers and non-Fox viewers is remarkable, given its real-world implications, Peter Beinart, a journalism professor at the City University of New York, wrote in a column for the Atlantic on Monday.
“When Ipsos asked Republicans who say Fox is not their main source of news whether ‘President Trump asking Ukraine to investigate Biden is an abuse of power,’ 38 percent said yes,” Beinart wrote. “Given that most of those respondents likely voted for Trump in 2016, that’s a high number.”
That number also suggests “some genuine willingness to recalibrate views of [Trump] based on this new information,” he said.
“If 38 percent of Republicans in the Senate supported Trump’s impeachment, he would be forced from office,” he added.
The USA Today/Ipsos poll specifically asked respondents about Trump’s July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. On that call, Trump asked Zelensky to open an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden, his 2020 election rival, suggesting Biden had used his position to benefit his son. (There is no evidence to support this claim.)
Concerns about the appropriateness of that call were initially revealed in a whistleblower complaint, and later largely confirmed by subsequent reporting and documents released by the White House.
It is illegal to solicit or accept election assistance from a foreign national.
Fox News is a favorite of the Trump administration, and Trump regularly both watches and tweets comments he hears on the channel, which regularly sides with and defends him. The network also frequently attacks Democrats in Congress who are leading investigations into Trump.
Since the Ukraine story first broke late last month, Trump has promoted Fox News coverage in 51 tweets, according to Media Matters, a liberal watchdog organization.
On rare occasions, Fox News personalities have criticized Trump’s actions, as Andrew Napolitano, Fox News’ senior legal analyst, recently did when he called Trump’s actions both “criminal” and “impeachable.” Others, like anchor Shepard Smith, have attempted to act as a check on their colleagues, debunking the many baseless conspiracy theories pushed by the network’s evening programming.
While Fox News-viewing Republicans may not see Trump’s actions as wrong, Americans in general support the House impeachment inquiry into Trump’s actions: A Tuesday Washington Post poll shows 58% of Americans agree with the decision to begin the inquiry, compared to 38% who oppose it.
The same poll shows that more than 1 in 4 Republicans (28%) support the impeachment inquiry. Independent voters favor impeachment by a 19-point margin that mirrors the sentiment of Americans overall: 57% in favor and 38% oppose.
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