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Fox News Cited as "Winner," Regardless of Political Party

Oct. 7, 2004

- Majority Agree FNC "Fair and Balanced" -

The Fox News Channel is seen as a winner by Democrats, Republicans and independents, according to a Baylor University poll conducted by i.think inc.

1023 adults were surveyed in the poll. A majority of Democrats (56.6%) somewhat or strongly believed that the Fox News Channel could be labeled a winner. That number increases for independents (63.8%) and for Republicans (79.3%). Overall, two-thirds of respondents agreed to some extent that Fox News is a winner.

This study extends research being conducted by Dr. Kirk Wakefield on why people identify themselves as fans of organizations. Wakefield is chair of the Marketing department at Baylor's Hankamer School of Business and teaches in the school's Sports Sponsorship & Sales program. "Just like people become fans of sports teams that are winners, people identify with companies that are seen as winners," Wakefield explained.

In this poll, 34% claimed to be Democrats, 30% reported they were Republicans, and 36% stated they were independents. This poll sampled individuals who are part of an online panel of over 1.4 million Americans, represented in proportion to the population of each state.

Respondents were asked to rate Fox News as either a loser or winner, failure or success, laggard or frontrunner, and whether Fox News is at the bottom or at the top. Based on these responses, 66% noted that Fox News was more of a winner, success, frontrunner, and at the top.

The results of the i.think poll reveal that the odds of a respondent being a highly identified Fox News fan is over 16 times more likely if the individual believes that Fox News is a winner than if the individual thinks Fox News is a loser.

The view of Fox News as a winner also translates into how individuals rated Fox News as being "fair and balanced." Among the two-thirds who believed that Fox News is more of a winner than a loser, 80.7% agreed that Fox News is "fair and balanced." Among the one-third who believed Fox News to be a loser, only 31.5% agreed with the statement that Fox News is fair and balanced. Overall, 43.3% strongly agreed that Fox News is fair and balanced, 21.4% moderately agreed and 36.3% strongly disagreed that Fox News is fair and balanced.

"The poll found that TV news viewing patterns among respondents differed significantly based on party affiliation," said Wakefield. "Interestingly, Democrats and independents reported viewing Fox News, on average, more often than Republicans." Democrats reported watching 2.34 days per week, independents 2.03 days per week and Republicans 1.63 days per week. Conversely, Republicans in this sample were more likely to watch CNN (3.08 days per week) than were Democrats (2.68 days per week) or independents (2.77 days per week). Further, across all individuals in this online poll, the numbers for Fox (2.02 days per week) and CNN (3.08 days per week) viewers exceed NBC nightly news (1.90 days per week ), ABC nightly news (1.77 days per week), MSNBC (1.55 days per week), or CBS nightly news (1.44 days per week). Excluding undecided voters, respondents indicated that 49.8% planned to vote for George W. Bush and 48.5% for John F. Kerry in this year's upcoming presidential election.

The Baylor/i.think poll draws from a panel of over 1.4 million online Americans, among whom samples can be selected according to national averages relative to geographic region, political party, and other demographic data.

Although not explicitly representative of all Americans due to the online nature of the panel, the margin of error in all cases is plus or minus two percentage points. The poll was conducted from September 23 to September 29, 2004.

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