Trusting information from Fox News makes US Republicans more likely than other Republicans to believe that Christians in the US face a lot of discrimination, according to new research.
The Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) study revealed that ‘Fox News Republicans’ – the 40 per cent of Republicans who trust Fox News the most, among television news sources – held significantly different views to “non-Fox News Republicans” about a range of issues of interest to Christians.
The different views were especially evident when research participants were asked to identify which groups faced a lot of discrimination in the US.
About 73 per cent of Fox News Republicans said there is a lot of discrimination against Christians in the US today, compared with 54 per cent of non-Fox News Republicans. This figure is significantly more than the 37 per cent of all Americans who said Christians face a lot of discrimination in the US.
The group felt similarly about white people, with 59 per cent of Fox News Republicans saying that white people face a lot of discrimination in the US today, compared with 56 per cent of non-Fox News Republicans, and in contrast to just 32 per cent of all Americans.
In contrast, only 36 per cent of Fox News Republicans identified Black people as facing a lot of discrimination, compared with 62 per cent of non-Fox News Republicans (in strong contrast with 75 per cent of all Americans). Discrimination faced by Hispanic people was regarded similarly, with only 36 per cent of Fox News Republicans saying they faced a lot, compared with 53 per cent of other Republicans, and 69 per cent of all Americans.
Likewise, discrimination of Asian people was not something Fox News Republicans felt was a significant issue, with only 27 per cent saying they face a lot – in comparison with 43 per cent of non-Fox News Republicans, and 55 per cent of all Americans.
These views were carried through in participants views towards the goals of the Black Lives Matter movement. About 91 per cent of Fox News Republicans are opposed to the goals of the Black Lives Matter movement, including three in four who said they are strongly opposed (74 per cent). A total of 72 per cent of non-Fox News Republicans also responded that they oppose the Black Lives Matter movement’s goals – a strong contrast to the 41 per cent of all Americans who say the same.
The study also found that “compared to other Americans, Fox News Republicans place a much greater emphasis on the connection between religion and morality.”
“Fox News Republicans (60 per cent) are much more likely than non-Fox News Republicans (47 per cent) and all Americans (39 per cent) to agree with the statement ‘It is necessary to believe in God in order to be moral and have good values,'” the report reads.
Fox News Republicans are “more likely than all Americans to identify as white evangelical Protestants …”
Also, this group had a much more favourable view of President Donald Trump’s Christian faith. “Seven in ten Fox News Republicans, compared to half as many non-Fox News Republicans (36 per cent) and 21 per cent of all Americans, say Trump models religious values with his actions and leadership.”
“Fox News Republicans (64 per cent) are also twice as likely as non-Fox News Republicans (32 per cent) to say that Trump has strong religious beliefs (18 per cent of all Americans),” it said.
So, who are Fox News Republicans as a group?
The study identified 81 per cent of Fox News Republicans to be white – a higher proportion than that represented in the population of US (63 per cent). The group also skews male, with men making up 57 per cent of the group, despite only being 48 per cent of all Americans. And, 32 per cent of Fox News Republicans are over the age of 65, while that age group only represents 21 per cent of all Americans.
When it comes to Christianity, Fox News Republicans are “more likely than all Americans to identify as white evangelical Protestants (36 per cent vs. 13 per cent), much less likely to identify as religiously unaffiliated (5 per cent vs. 25 per cent), and more likely to say they attend religious services at least once a week (46 per cent vs. 27 per cent).”
The research also reports that 66 per cent of Fox News Republicans agreed with the statement “society as a whole has become too soft and feminine” (in contrast to only 38 per cent of all Americans); 70 per cent agreed with the statement “These days, society seems to punish men just for acting like men” (38 per cent of the national response).
Further findings and the Public Religion Research Institute’s Survey Methodology is available here.