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Republicans who watch a lot of Fox News don’t like the Green New Deal



Among the 35% of Republican voters who watch Fox News more than once a week, support for the Green New Deal proposal has plummeted in recent months, according to a new Yale/George Mason poll of registered voters.

Polling in December found that a big majority of Americans — 82% according the Yale/George Mason poll— didn’t know anything about Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s ambitious proposal, which calls for a 10-year transition to renewable energy and a massive investment in green infrastructure.

But 81% of registered voters — and 64% of Republicans — supported the plan after reading a paragraph description of it. Similarly, a February INSIDER poll found that a plurality of respondents were receptive to the Green New Deal and large majorities supported the bulk of the resolution’s broad policy goals.

But the Yale/George Mason poll found that by April, support for the Green New Deal had plummeted among the most conservative Republicans and those that watch the most Fox News, while remaining strong among Democrats.

Meanwhile, a majority — 56% — of registered Republicans who watch Fox News once per week or less continue to support the Green New Deal.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez stands in front of a ‘Green New Deal’ sign at the Women’s March in January 2019.
Ira L. Black/Corbis via Getty Images

Republicans are hearing more about the Green New Deal

During the week prior to the Senate’s March 26 vote on the Green New Deal resolution, the liberal watchdog group Media Matters found that Fox News delivered more primetime coverage of the policy than both MSNBC and CNN combined.

And Republicans appear to have been exposed to more news about the policy than Democrats. More than double the percentage of conservative Republicans said they’ve heard “a lot” about the Green New Deal as compared to liberal Democrats.

Awareness of the ambitious plan to fight climate change and stimulate the economy has increased dramatically since Ocasio-Cortez and progressive activists brought national attention to the issue with protests and public messaging late last fall.

The poll found that the percentage of registered voters who had heard at least “a little” about the policy tripled — from 17% to 59% — between December 2018 and April 2019. Meanwhile, the percentage of those who had heard “nothing at all” about the Green New Deal halved — from 82% to 41%.

Read more: Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are introducing a radical plan to cap the credit-card interest rate at 15%

Democrats who’ve heard “a lot” about the Green New Deal are seven percentage points more supportive of it than those who’ve heard “nothing” about it. Republicans who’ve heard the most about the policy are 81 percentage points less supportive than those who haven’t heard about the policy.

“These shifting views of the Green New Deal are an example of how quickly partisan polarization can develop over a short period of time at the national level,” the poll summary read.

But, as the Yale/George Mason poll notes, it’s possible that Republicans who watch Fox more than once a week are more politically engaged than other members of their party and get their news from other right-leaning outlets that may also influence their thinking.

This phenomenon isn’t new.

A study of cables news coverage of climate change in 2007 and 2008 found that Fox’s coverage of the issue, which featured a greater proportion of climate change skeptics than CNN and MSNBC, drove political polarization and skepticism of the scientific evidence among Republicans.

The survey, done by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication, was administered between Nov. 28 and Dec. 11, 2018 and between March 29 and April 9, 2019. The first poll surveyed 966 registered voters, while the second surveyed 1,097 registered voters with a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points at the 95% confidence level.

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