ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. — Even before President Trump was elected, media organizations reported on his mistreatment of women, his failure to pay contractors, his bankruptcies, his runaway mendacity, his shady business partners and so much more.

Mary Vance sees a different man. “I mean really, come on,” said Vance, who lives in Philadelphia. “I don’t understand why everybody says he’s such a bad person. If he was a really bad guy, we’d know it.”

Vance was among nearly 1,800 Fox News superfans who last Wednesday night filed into the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg, Fla., for the Patriot Awards, an hour-long show that streamed on Fox Nation and celebrated “modern day patriotism by honoring individuals across the country who have shown steadfast dedication to our nation, and the patriotic values we hold dear.” Fox News celebrities such as Steve Doocy, Brian Kilmeade and Ainsley Earhardt — the “Fox & Friends” crew — plus roving correspondent-host Ed Henry were in attendance. Fox News’s Pete Hegseth, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, hosted the event.

The real action, however, was on the red, white and blue carpet outside the arena, where the Erik Wemple Blog was stationed alongside members of the Post Opinions Video team — Joy Sharon Yi and Kate Woodsome. We had come in search of context: The Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) recently published the results of a survey showing some startling statistics about President Trump and the support he receives from Fox News viewers. A nearly airtight 98 percent of Republicans who use Fox News as their primary source of news oppose impeachment and removal from office. And a hefty 55 percent of Republicans who use Fox News as their primary source of news say “there is nothing Trump could do to lose their approval, compared to only 29 percent of Republicans who do not cite Fox News as their primary news source.”

No better place to test out those numbers than Fox Nation’s Patriot Awards. Is there anyone in this crowd willing to bail on the president?

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