We found in our survey, for instance, that Republicans who got their news from OANN or Newsmax were generally more extreme in their beliefs around QAnon and in their refusal to get vaccinated than those who got their news from Fox News. Meanwhile, Fox News Republicans were often more in line with Republicans who got their news from other mainstream outlets.3 Considering Fox News Republicans were once touted as the Republicans with the most extreme views, this signals a real change in the conservative media landscape and suggests that media habits are as important for understanding Republican voters as ideology.
Some of the most substantial daylight we observed between Fox News Republicans and far-right news Republicans was on their beliefs around conspiracy theories — especially the core beliefs of QAnon. Overall, 23 percent of Republicans mostly or completely agree with the core QAnon tenet that “the government, media, and financial worlds in the U.S. are controlled by a group of Satan-worshipping pedophiles who run a global child sex trafficking operation.” But Republicans who trust mainstream news sources or Fox News were actually the least likely to believe in the main QAnon conspiracy theory, with just 19 percent and 17 percent, respectively. Meanwhile, Republicans who don’t watch television news, which notably includes those who get news solely from online sources, were considerably more likely to believe in a system run by Satanist pedophiles (27 percent). But by far, the Republicans who were most likely to believe in QAnon were those who trusted far-right news sources (39 percent).