As have previous studies of viewer information, this study found that Fox News watchers are the most uninformed of any news consumers. In fact, one prior study showed the Fox News viewers were less informed than people who don't follow news media at all.
The Brookings study added a new line of data, which show a highly significant difference among Republicans themselves as to whether they watch Fox News.
For example, the Dream Act is supported by 62% of "Foxless" Republicans but only 42% of "Foxies." Raising the minimum wage to $10.10 is supported by 56% of Foxless, but only 33% of Foxies. On both issues, there is a 20% difference in the two groups.
And, at least on these two issues (and presumable it's a trend), those who don't watch Fox News are more in line with the electorate at large on controversial issues. As Daily Kos concludes:
What this tells us is that Fox News is polluting the Republicans who tune in to the network with reporting and commentary that is biased, misleading, and downright false. . . . In both cases the Foxless Republicans are more closely aligned with the electorate at large. It is the Foxies who hold the extremist position on the fringes of the far right.As the results in some elections have shown, these extreme views may help the far right fringe candidates win primary elections, but they tend to result in loss to the Democrats in general elections.
The study asks the question: Does Fox News cause ignorance, or do ignorant viewers prefer Fox News? The answer is not particularly clear cut and is likely a combination of the two. However, the real problems for the GOP come into the equation when the party tries to evaluate the opinions of their constituents as represented by the folks at Fox News. It's clear that the Fox version of Republican views are far removed from reality.
Then should we just stop protesting Fox News coverage and hope they keep driving the GOP into defeat?