The television remote control has become a de facto ballot in today’s hyper-polarized world of politics.
Turn the dial to the left to watch MSNBC and it’s more likely you lean left. Turn it to the right to tune in Fox, and it’s more likely you lean right. Which cable news channel people watch has become a bona fide indicator of what they think about taxes, health care, immigration and the size and scope of the federal government, according to a new McClatchy-Marist poll.
Take the big debate this year over the role of the federal spending in the economy. Just 19 percent of Fox viewers think that increasing government spending would help the economy, while 79 percent think increasing the debt in the process would hurt the economy. MSNBC viewers lean the other way, with 55 percent saying more spending would help and 43 percent saying the debt would hurt the economy.
Or taxes. MSNBC viewers are more likely to be willing to pay more taxes and to support higher taxes on the rich and Wall Street. Fox viewers are more likely to think the poor should pay more.