The "Fox News Effect"

Ira Stoll of the New York Sun blogs about a new UC Berkeley study which purports to show that the introduction of Fox News Channel to a cable market increases the Republican share of the vote to a small but discernable degree.

Two economists at U.C. Berkeley, Stefano DellaVigna and Ethan Kaplan, have published a paper on what they call "The Fox News Effect."

A summary from the National Bureau of Economic Research reports:

Between October 1996 and November 2000, the conservative Fox News Channel was introduced in the cable programming of 20 percent of US towns. Fox News availability in 2000 appears to be largely idiosyncratic. Using a data set of voting data for 9,256 towns, we investigate if Republicans gained vote share in towns where Fox News entered the cable market by the year 2000. We find a significant effect of the introduction of Fox News on the vote share in Presidential elections between 1996 and 2000. Republicans gain 0.4 to
0.7 percentage points in the towns which broadcast Fox News. The results are robust to town—level controls, district and county fixed effects, and alternative specifications. We also find a significant effect of Fox News on Senate vote share and on voter turnout. Our estimates imply that Fox News convinced 3 to 8 percent of its viewers to vote Republican.

In statistical studies, the devil is in the details. It may be that FNC draws mostly existing conservatives, though the company claims a large share of its viewers are not conservative.

Assuming the study shows that the orientation of television news influences voting behavior, imagine if CBSNBCABCMSNBCCNN were not so biased to the left.

Hat tip: Michael M.

Thomas Lifson   4 21 06

Ira Stoll of the New York Sun blogs about a new UC Berkeley study which purports to show that the introduction of Fox News Channel to a cable market increases the Republican share of the vote to a small but discernable degree.

Two economists at U.C. Berkeley, Stefano DellaVigna and Ethan Kaplan, have published a paper on what they call "The Fox News Effect."

A summary from the National Bureau of Economic Research reports:

Between October 1996 and November 2000, the conservative Fox News Channel was introduced in the cable programming of 20 percent of US towns. Fox News availability in 2000 appears to be largely idiosyncratic. Using a data set of voting data for 9,256 towns, we investigate if Republicans gained vote share in towns where Fox News entered the cable market by the year 2000. We find a significant effect of the introduction of Fox News on the vote share in Presidential elections between 1996 and 2000. Republicans gain 0.4 to
0.7 percentage points in the towns which broadcast Fox News. The results are robust to town—level controls, district and county fixed effects, and alternative specifications. We also find a significant effect of Fox News on Senate vote share and on voter turnout. Our estimates imply that Fox News convinced 3 to 8 percent of its viewers to vote Republican.

In statistical studies, the devil is in the details. It may be that FNC draws mostly existing conservatives, though the company claims a large share of its viewers are not conservative.

Assuming the study shows that the orientation of television news influences voting behavior, imagine if CBSNBCABCMSNBCCNN were not so biased to the left.

Hat tip: Michael M.

Thomas Lifson   4 21 06