According to a new poll from USA Today and Suffolk, Trump voters are beginning to turn to other outlets for their fix of conservative news. According to the survey, only 34% of the former president’s supporters still consider Fox News the “most trusted source of news” on the airwaves.
To say this is a precipitous drop would be an understatement. When the same poll asked Trump supporters this question in 2016, 58% of his voters said that Fox News was their primary staple for trusted news.
Instead of Fox News, Trump voters are increasingly turning to the network’s upstart competitors, One America News Network and Newsmax TV. According to the poll, 17% of his voters say that Newsmax is their most trusted news source and 9% name OANN. These are remarkable numbers, given how long Fox has had a stranglehold on the conservative news business, particularly when it comes to cable. For Newsmax to have already built up a support base half that of Fox in such a short time…that does not bode well for Fox’s future.
“At the time of our October 2016 poll, OANN and Newsmax were barely 2 years old, so they were not offered as options,” David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center, said. “However, we do not believe that in 2016 they would have been trusted the most by a statistically significant portion of respondents.”
The poll found that those voters who picked Newsmax and OANN over Fox News are among the former president’s biggest supporters. 92% of those who favored Newsmax believe that Joe Biden was “illegitimately elected” in November; 90% of OANN viewers said the same thing. Meanwhile, those who chose Fox News have a more balanced view of conservative politics. Asked to choose between Trump and the Republican Party, Fox News viewers picked Trump 51%-37%. Among those who watch Newsmax, 72% went with Trump over the GOP. Among OANN viewers, that number surged to 80%.
The poll is in line with sentiments we’ve seen on social media and what we’ve seen reflected in the ratings. Fox News alienated viewers when they called Arizona early for Biden, and their ratings dropped 30% in the weeks immediately following the election. Trump supporters were counting on Fox to report on the election’s irregularities, and instead they got reports that differed only slightly from the rest of the liberal media. It’s not clear if the network can recover from that lost trust, even if their primetime hosts remain popular.
So far, the lagging popularity hasn’t hit the network’s bottom line. The Fox Corporation announced in February that it saw a 17% jump in pretax profit for the three months ending in December. Fox News specifically saw its revenue rise 1% to $1.49 billion alongside a 31% increase in advertising revenue.