• Focus Groups
  • Polling

Divisions in America By Media Consumption

Tuesday, June 29, 2021 By Bryan Bennett
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Welcome to NAVIGATOR – a project designed to better understand the American public’s views on issues of the day and help advocates, elected officials, and other interested parties understand the language, imagery, and messaging needed to make and win key policy arguments.

Key takeaways from the focus groups

  • On questions of race, voting reform, and media bias, voters are deeply divided along party lines, with few charitable words about the other side.
  • Despite disagreements on race, we see no support for anti-CRT legislation.


Many Seek Out “Different Perspectives” From Multiple Media Sources

Republicans In Particular Equate “Media Bias” With Trump Criticism

“Critical Race Theory” – Despite Confusion Of Its True Meaning – Represents The Debate Over Teaching Race In Schools

Democrats Want To See More Robust, Complete Teaching Of Race

Despite Opposition To CRT, Republicans Do Not Seem To Support Politicians Preventing Teachers From Teaching Facts

Key takeaways from the survey

  • Americans associate images of a female small business owner, nurses, and a family grilling outdoors with the Democratic
  • The Republican Party is most tied to images of white truck drivers, sit-down family dinners, and construction workers.
  • There is a strong association between an image of the Capitol riot and the Republican Party.

Visual Associations Vary Across Party Lines

  • A female small business owner, nurses, and a family grilling conjure associations of Democrats; a pair of small business
    owners are split; and construction workers, a family meal, and a truck driver conjure associations of Republicans.

Democrats Tied to Business Owners, Nurses, and Families

Among independents, roughly one in four associate each image with Democrats.

  • More than two in three Black Americans (69%) associate an image of a Black female business owner with the
    Democratic Party, and 46% of Hispanic Americans associate an image of a Hispanic family with Democrats.

A Truck Driver, a Sit-Down Family Dinner, and Construction Workers Are Associated More Strongly With the Republican Party

Republicans especially associate these images with their party; of the three images, a white truck driver is most strongly associated with the Republican Party.

Americans Split on Partisan Association with White Small Business Owners

The most split of the images tested was a pair of white small business owners: partisans strongly associate the image with their own party (55% of Democrats with their party, 63% of Republicans with theirs). Two in three independents (66%) say they associate the image with neither.

Majorities Associate the Capitol Riot with the Republican Party, Though Republicans Are More Split

Three in five Americans (61%) associate an image of the Capitol riot with the Republican Party.

  • But, among Fox News Republicans, 37% associate the image with the Democratic Party, and three in ten (29%)
    non-Fox News Republicans say the same.

About The Study

This release features findings from online focus groups conducted on June 16, 2021, with voters in three states: Ohio (mixed partisans who have been on unemployment insurance within the past year), Georgia (Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters), and Arizona (Republican and Republican-leaning voters who aren’t very unfavorable toward Biden or very favorable toward Trump). Qualitative results are not statistically projectable.

This release also features findings from a national online survey of 1,001 registered voters conducted June 10-14, 2021. Additional interviews were conducted among 99 Hispanic voters, 102 African American voters, 101 independents without a partisan lean, and 71 Asian American and Pacific Islander voters.

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About Navigator

In a world where the news cycle is the length of a tweet, our leaders often lack the real-time public-sentiment analysis to shape the best approaches to talking about the issues that matter the most. Navigator is designed to act as a consistent, flexible, responsive tool to inform policy debates by conducting research and reliable guidance to inform allies, elected leaders, and the press. Navigator is a project led by pollsters from Global Strategy Group and GBAO along with an advisory committee, including: Andrea Purse, progressive strategist; Arkadi Gerney, The Hub Project; Joel Payne, The Hub Project; Christina Reynolds, EMILY’s List; Delvone Michael, Working Families; Felicia Wong, Roosevelt Institute; Mike Podhorzer, AFL-CIO; Jesse Ferguson, progressive strategist; Navin Nayak, Center for American Progress Action Fund; Stephanie Valencia, EquisLabs; and Melanie Newman, Planned Parenthood Action Fund.

For press inquiries contact: press@navigatorresearch.org