September 7, 2021
Andrew Speno

Cable News Network Viewership Divided Along Political Lines

Fox News Channel is the most popular source for network news according to the latest data compiled by SoonerPoll. The network draws more viewers in Oklahoma than CNN and MSNBC combined. Not surprisingly, voters largely choose which news network to watch based on their political leanings.


SoonerPoll surveyed 299 likely voters -- Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, and Independents -- across the state. The survey is stratified to represent Oklahoma's likely voter population.

[QUESTION] Which of the following cable news networks do you watch the most even if you don’t watch any of them often?

1. Fox News Channel: 53.2%
2. CNN: 26.1
3. MSNBC: 20.6

 Fox News Channel has historically presented news and information from a more conservative perspective while CNN and MSNBC demonstrate liberal leanings. That disparity is clearly reflected in the political affiliations of their respective viewers.

Among the respondents who identify as Republican, 82.6% primarily watch Fox News Channel, 11.2% watch CNN, and 6.2% tune into MSNBC. Conversely, 47.7% of Democrats turn to CNN for news, 39.3% watch MSNBC, and just 13% watch Fox News Channel. Among Libertarians, 71.0% choose FNC, 29% watch CNN, and none of them watches MSNBC.

Independents are evenly split with 52.0% mainly watching FNC, 27.7% watching MSNBC, and 20.3% watching CNN.

These results are consistent with a survey SoonerPoll conducted in 2010 regarding political affiliation and opinions of mainstream media outlets.

About the Poll, Oklahoma’s public opinion pollster, asked these questions of Oklahoma likely voters as part of the SoonerPoll Quarterly Poll.

The scientific study was conducted from July 21-August13, 2021 with 300 likely Oklahoma voters selected at random statewide from a tri-frame of both landline telephone and cell phones, plus SoonerPoll's proprietary online panel. The sample was weighted by age, gender, and congressional district in order to reflect the Oklahoma likely voter population for a general election. The weighting was conducted using a 'layered technique.'

The sample reflects the traditional demographical profile of the Oklahoma likely voter with roughly half of respondents identifying as conservative and attending religious services once or more per week. The study has a Margin of Error (MoE) of ±5.67 percent.

A complete description of the methodology can be found here.

Photo by Rachael Dickson

Andrew Speno
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Andrew Speno