Fox News viewers in key battleground state less likely to wear masks: poll

Fox News viewers in key battleground state less likely to wear masks: poll
Fox News

Given that Fox News, as well as some conservative radio stations, have downplayed the severity of the novel coronavirus pandemic, it’s not too surprising that people who rely on such sources for their news may not take all advised precautions seriously at this point in the public health crisis. What sort of precautions? Oh, one of the most essential, basic ones: wearing a face mask in public. A new poll from the University of New Hampshire found that where we get our news can have a seriously big impact on our mask-wearing, and from what we know about this public health crisis, that’s far from good.

According to this research, which was conducted in July 2020 and involved 995 New Hampshire residents, 77% of people living in New Hampshire do, indeed, always wear a face mask in public, unless they are outside and properly socially distanced. Only half of the respondents who said they regularly watch Fox News, however, report the same. For conservative radio listeners in the state, that drops to one-third.

80% of surveyed residents who never tuned in to Fox News or similar conservative outlets wanted the government to make prioritizing containing the virus a bigger priority over the economy. Just over 10% of regular Fox News viewers felt the same. Similarly, three-quarters of people who never consumed these conservative media sources believed that the worst of the virus is still yet to come; less than one-quarter of conservative viewers, however, believe that to be the case.

This is certainly not the first poll to show such variation; for example, in the Daily Kos/Civiqs poll from July, only 20% of frequent Fox News viewers believed that wearing a face mask helps prevent the spread of the virus. A majority of Fox News viewers also felt comfortable with schools reopening; as we’ve already covered, campuses are seeing fresh clusters of cases seemingly by the day.

Interestingly, according to the New Hampshire polling, some people who regularly watch Fox News are concerned about the virus. 25% of respondents said they were worried about either their own health or someone else’s. The majority of respondents, coming in at two-thirds, who did not watch conservative media, however, were worried about health amid the global pandemic.

New Hampshire is an interesting place to conduct this poll as it actually doesn’t have a statewide mask mandate, though Republican Gov. Chris Sununu has ordered that masks must be worn in gatherings of more than 100 people. Some cities do have mask mandates, and businesses are allowed to enforce them as well. That 100 people guideline garnered quite a bit of attention when Trump held a rally in New Hampshire last week; masks were supposed to be worn, but many attendees reportedly did not wear them.

Looking at some viral images from Trump arriving in North Carolina this afternoon, we see many people greeting him without masks or social distancing.

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