Here are two pieces of news that may seem unrelated, but aren’t. President Obama’s job approval rating has hit a four year high of 60% at the same time as Fox News’ ratings plummet to a 12 year low.
In January, Fox News has its worst prime time month in the key age 25-54 demographic since August 2001. Greta Van Susteren had her worst month ever on the network, and her show registered the lowest prime time ratings for 10 PM on Fox since July of 2008. While MSNBC’s ratings were up 9% in total viewers , Fox News registered their single worst day with viewers age 25-54 July of 2008.
Meanwhile, a new poll released today by ABC News/Washington Post revealed that President Obama’s favorability rating has reached its highest level since November 2009. Obama’s favorability is now at 60%, and has grown ten points since the summer. Obama now has more more people strongly in favor of him (39%) than strongly opposed (26%). The president has a 60% favorable rating with Independents, and a 68% favorable rating with moderates. The president also has a 66% with young adults, and middle/lower income people.
It is isn’t a coincidence that as approval of President Obama soars, Fox News’ ratings plummet.
The wave of change that was expected in 2009 appears to be arriving in 2013. Just in the past month, the country has moved to the left on gun control, immigration reform, and women in combat. The leftward shifts on gun control and immigration join the country’s shift left on taxes. Taxes, guns, and immigration have been three of the tent pole issues that kept the Republican coalition of evangelicals, fiscal conservatives, and libertarians united. In the past two months, the Republican Party has seen the nation move away from their positions on all of these issues.
The national shift left is also reflected in the cable news ratings. As with the results at the ballot box, the key demographic in cable news are people age 25-54. These viewers have been steadily fleeing Fox News for a while now, but their losses have grown from a trickle to a tidal wave. Like the Republican Party, Fox News is out of step with where a key demographic is right now.
More research would have to be done to determine if there is a direct causal link between Obama’s approval and Fox News’ ratings, but these two events taken together with the president’s landslide reelection and the nation’s policy shift left hint at a significant shift in the political winds. After the Bush years, the left is living a bit of dream right now. The Republican Party is in disarray. Fox News is on the decline, and a popular second term incumbent Democratic president is pushing a center/left policy agenda.
It may have taken a few years longer than some thought, but it looks like hope and change have finally come.