Great news: Support for Fairness Doctrine rises six points since last year

I was kidding when I wondered whether the reinstitution of Fairness would qualify as force majeure for Limbaugh’s new contract. Belated note to Clear Channel’s lawyers: You might want to look into it.

Nearly half of Americans (47%) believe the government should require all radio and television stations to offer equal amounts of conservative and liberal political commentary, but they draw the line at imposing that same requirement on the Internet. Thirty-nine percent (39%) say leave radio and TV alone, too.

At the same time, 71% say it is already possible for just about any political view to be heard in today’s media, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. Twenty percent (20%) do not agree…

Democrats are more supportive of government involvement in the airwaves than Republicans and unaffiliated voters. Fifty-four percent (54%) of Democrats favor it, and only 26% are opposed. Republicans and unaffiliated voters are fairly evenly divided.

Last year’s Rasmussen poll came up in yesterday’s post, coincidentally enough. The breakdown as of July 2007: 41/41, with 18% undecided. What explains the shift? Either it’s part and parcel of the trend generally towards the Democrats or … what if, ironically, it’s being fueled by conservative reaction to election coverage? Rasmussen didn’t make the party crosstabs public last year but the ideological breakdown was 51/33 in favor among liberals and 40/48 against among conservatives. If Republicans are now “fairly evenly” divided, then conservative numbers have almost certainly shifted in favor of Fairness, which is less odd than you think when you note how Rasmussen’s question is phrased: “Should the government require all radio and television stations to offer equal amounts of conservative and liberal political commentary?” If you’re a righty who hasn’t given much thought to the issue, a law that would “correct” for pro-Obama bias in the media might sound like a fine idea.

The good news? Support for extending Fairness to the Internet has dropped considerably, from 34/50 to 31/57. Even Dems oppose it by a double-digit margin. The more populist and proletarian the medium, I guess, the less inclined the public is to meddle.