But, as you might expect, Fox News’s dominance was driven mostly by its overwhelming popularity among people who voted for President-elect Donald Trump. Hillary Clinton supporters named 10 other sources ahead of Fox News.
Which other media outlets polarized the electorate? Using Pew’s data, we have broken down the answer to that question in three ways: sources that divided Clinton and Trump voters, and sources that split voters in the Republican and Democratic primaries.
Among other things, the divisions offer a clue to Fox News's success. Outlets that catered to a general audience (the three major broadcast networks, for instance) were relied upon in roughly equal measure by all types of voters but developed strong followings among none.
Others that tailored coverage to hyper-specific worldviews (Breitbart comes to mind) built loyal — but relatively small — audiences.
Fox News struck a balance. It managed to deliver a strong enough perspective to attract conservative viewers but didn’t get so narrow that only a particular type of conservative would want to tune in.
MSNBC, in contrast, did not achieve the same kind of broad appeal among liberals. Voters who backed someone other than Clinton during the Democratic primary — mostly Bernie Sanders supporters, in other words — were less than half as likely to make MSNBC their main news source as voters who favored the party’s eventual nominee.
There also appeared to be a generational divide among Democratic primary voters. Clinton’s supporters — generally older than Sanders’s — were far more likely to rely on local television and far less likely to make Facebook their primary news source.
Overall, Democratic voters were much more scattered in their news consumption than Republican voters, who coalesced around Fox News.