More than a fifth of Fox News Channel viewers are less trusting of the cable network in the wake of publicly disclosed text messages and emails from Fox executives and on-air personalities, according to a new survey.
But only 9% of Fox News viewers say they aren’t watching the network as much as they used to, per research provided exclusively to Variety Intelligence Platform by consumer insights specialists Maru Group. (Click to an expanded subscriber version for full results.)
A representative for Fox News told VIP+, “There has been no impact to advertising, with no advertisers dropping or pausing,” and confirmed that viewership levels had not been impacted.
In addition, 13% of Fox News viewers no longer believe the 2020 presidential election was stolen after reading communications in which the network’s stars, including Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity, were making allegations on TV regarding voter fraud that was inconsistent with what they were saying privately.
The survey was fielded online March 10-12, 2023, to 1,524 respondents just days after the latest batch of texts, emails and depositions were released in connection with a $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit filed against Fox News by Dominion Voting Systems.
The communications in question reveal what the network’s stars, as well as top execs including Fox Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch and Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott, were saying behind the scenes after Election Night in 2020. In one deposition excerpt, Murdoch said he “seriously doubted” election-fraud allegations made by Donald Trump.
In a previous disclosure, Carlson expressed disbelief in fraud claims being made by a top Trump adviser. “The whole thing seems insane to me, and Sidney Powell won’t release the evidence,” he wrote in a text to another Fox News anchor, Laura Ingraham. Carlson had also expressed on air that Powell never responded to requests for evidence around voter fraud.
Half of Fox News viewers surveyed after the disclosures say they still believe the election was stolen — almost double the national average (28%) among the respondents who said the same.
Moreover, more than half of Fox News viewers who said they were aware of the deposition and texts said they continue to trust Fox News — nearly double the percentage of the group that said they trust the network less.
Just over half of Fox News viewers (52%) remain favorable toward the network’s primetime hosts, while 16% say their opinion has become less favorable.
More data from this exclusive survey is available at Variety Intelligence Platform (subscription only), including:
• What percentage of Fox News viewers heard of the lawsuit, the Murdoch deposition and the texts?
• What percentage of U.S. adults, as well as CNN and MSNBC viewers, knew of the lawsuit?
• What percentage of viewers aware of the lawsuit believe the 2020 election was stolen?
Methodology note: This Maru Public Opinion survey conducted on behalf of Variety Intelligence Platform was undertaken by the sample and data collection experts at Maru/Blue. 1,524 randomly selected American adults who are Maru Springboard America online panelists were surveyed March 10-12, 2023. For comparison purposes, a probability sample of this size has an estimated margin of error (which measures sampling variability) of +/- 3.0%, 19 times out of 20. The results have been weighted by age, gender, race and region to match the population according to census data, which ensures the sample is representative of the entire adult population. Discrepancies in or between totals when compared with the data tables are due to rounding.