The tension between Donald Trump and Megyn Kelly has been one of the more entertaining aspects of the saga that is the 2016 Republican primary. It started with Megyn’s question about his treatment of women, continued as Trump struck out with some sexist comments, and peaked when Trump refused to attend the debate moderated by Kelly. All in all very entertaining in terms of political campaign drama.
This week we decided to delve a little deeper into what the Republican primary electorate has to say about this issue and about Megyn Kelly in general. Here’s the question we posed:
Which of the following best describes your opinion of Megyn Kelly and her coverage of the Republican nomination for president?
Respondents were asked if Kelly has been fair to all candidates, unfair to Trump while fair to others, fair to Trump while unfair to others, or unfair to all candidates.
Right off the top in Figure 1, it looks like the majority of people believe that Kelly is unfair to Trump, or a combination of Trump and the other candidates. This is a bit surprising considering Megyn Kelly is generally viewed as a likable person, and an anchor on Fox News of all networks. It becomes slightly less surprising however, as we dive a little deeper into the numbers.
When looking at the breakdown by candidate in Figure 2, we can see that the majority people who are buying into the victim-narrative that Trump is peddling are Trump supporters. They really appear to believe that he’s being unfairly treated by Megyn Kelly, with nearly 60% saying that Kelly is unfair exclusively to Trump. Supporters of the other candidates are a bit more skeptical, with only about 15% believing that Kelly is unfair just to Trump. Kasich supporters are most favorable toward Kelly with a 67% considering her fair to all, but that still leaves 26% who believe that she has been unfair Trump or to Trump and others.
Though we don’t have data collected before Trump’s entry into the race, it is very likely that opinions on Kelly were evenly distributed across the primary electorate; she was after all a rising star on Fox News. This speaks to Trump’s ability not only to attract support from within the primary electorate, but to shift those supporters’ views on personalities who were once Republican icons.
Analysis derived from poll taken 4.11.16 – 4.14.16. Full Results and Methodology.