On Monday, writing for The Washington Post, columnist Greg Sargent outlined the results of a new poll from the Public Religion Research Institute, suggesting Fox News' messaging is actually turning people off one of the easiest and most convenient forms of voting — putting President Donald Trump's re-election in jeopardy.
"Republicans who place great trust in Fox News say in truly overwhelming percentages that they are 'not at all' confident that vote-by-mail will be secure against fraud," wrote Sargent. "This is precisely an outcome that Republican strategists worried about. Last spring, when Trump was pushing false and unsubstantiated claims about fraud in vote-by-mail particularly hard, Republicans loudly voiced their fears this would put them at a disadvantage in key swing states."
The poll finds that 56 percent of Republicans have no trust in voting by mail, as opposed to 25 percent of Democrats. For Republicans who say they most trust Fox News, that figure jumps to 73 percent.
These results track with early vote totals in Florida that suggests Republicans are lagging badly — when in previous years they often led the mail-in ballot count. While Trump supporters can still vote in person, they will face the obstacles inherent in doing so, including longer wait times.
"This has been a pattern all throughout. Fox’s relentless promotion of Trump’s efforts to falsify the coronavirus crisis induced him to further dig in behind that position, leading to the dire political position he now finds himself in," wrote Sargent. "And as the Associated Press reports, some Republicans fear the right-wing media’s obsession over Trump’s fake new Hunter Biden scandal will persuade the president that it constitutes an effective attack, leading him to squander more time he needs to win back the voters he’s alienated."
"If Fox News has also assisted in deepening the GOP disadvantage on vote-by-mail — and if Trump does end up losing in part as a result — it will constitute yet another way that Fox helped seal Trump’s fate," concluded Sargent.
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