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Fox News Viewers’ Vaccine Skepticism Drops To Record Low, Poll Finds

By News Creatives Authors , in Business , at August 5, 2021


Vaccine skepticism among Fox News viewers hit its lowest level since March this week, a new Morning Consult poll found, suggesting new pro-vaccine statements by some of the network’s anchors and other GOP figures could be helping to combat Covid-19 vaccine hesitancy among Republicans, which remains disproportionately high.

Key Facts

Morning Consult, which conducts weekly polls tracking vaccine skepticism among between 26,675 and 43,054 U.S. adults, reported 27% of Fox News viewers were unsure about or unwilling to get the Covid-19 vaccine in its August 2 poll.

That 27% figure marks a record low for Fox News viewers since the question was first asked in March, and is down from 30% last week and 37% in mid-March.

Fox News viewers still have the highest rate of vaccine skepticism among mainstream media consumers, as those who get their news from CNN, MSNBC and the New York Times all have vaccine skepticism rates of below 20%.

The network’s viewers have lower rates of vaccine hesitancy than those who get their news primarily from social media: Snapchat users have the highest rate of skepticism at 35% followed by 31% of Instagram users, while Facebook and Reddit users are approximately 30% skeptical and Twitter users are on par with Fox viewers.

Crucial Quote

“Our coverage has been consistent throughout with an overwhelming majority of our audience supporting the vaccination efforts,” Fox News previously told Forbes in a statement about its coverage of the Covid-19 vaccines, noting the network has aired pro-vaccine PSAs and reporting on the vaccines.

Key Background

Polling has consistently shown Republicans are one of the largest demographic groups resisting or hesitant about getting the Covid-19 vaccine, sparking a new wave of pro-vaccine statements from major GOP figures in recent weeks as the Delta variant surges particularly in right-leaning states with lower vaccination rates. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has said the vaccines are “saving lives,” for instance, and former Vice President Mike Pence praised the vaccines in a speech Wednesday night and encouraged attendees to get the shot. Fox News anchors including Steve Doocy and Sean Hannity have also recently made more full-throated calls for people to get vaccinated, after the network and anchors like Tucker Carlson have been repeatedly criticized for promoting vaccine skepticism and sowing doubt in the vaccine in recent months. CNN reports the White House has also had “regular contact” with Fox News about its vaccine coverage. Despite the endorsements, however, skepticism on Fox still remains: Anchors like Hannity have been highly critical of so-called vaccine passports and mandates, for instance, and Fox & Friends host Brian Kilmeade disagreed with Doocy Thursday morning after Doocy encouraged viewers to get vaccinated, with Kilmeade saying people should instead “see a doctor and decide what you want to do.” “I don’t think anchors should be recommending medical advice,” Kilmeade said.

What We Don’t Know

Whether GOP officials’ pro-vaccine statements have influenced Republicans who are even further to the right of Fox News viewers. A recent survey from the Public Religion Research Institute found Republicans who get their news from far-right television news networks like One America News and Newsmax were more likely to resist the Covid-19 vaccine than Fox viewers, with 46% of far-right news consumers refusing to get the shot as compared with 18% of Fox ones. Republicans who don’t consume any television news at all were also less likely to approve of the vaccine than Fox News viewers, with 24% refusing to get vaccinated.

Further Reading

Fox News Personalities Started to Promote COVID-19 Vaccines. Viewers Have Taken Notice (Morning Consult)

Despite Praise For Hannity And Doocy, Fox News Still Offers Muddled Views On Vaccines (Forbes)

Some Republicans Have Changed Their Messaging On The COVID-19 Vaccine. Is It Too Little, Too Late? (FiveThirtyEight)

Here Are The Republicans Most Likely To Refuse The Covid-19 Vaccine, Poll Finds (Forbes)

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