Supporters of President Bush watching Thursday's debate preferred Fox News Channel over other networks, according to a survey conducted by activist group MediaChannel.org.
While no channel attracted more than one-fourth of Kerry supporters, almost a half (47%) of surveyed Bush backers reported watching the debate on Fox.
MediaChannel's online survey also quizzed debate viewers on the appropriateness of questions posed to the candidates. Participants on the liberal-leaning MediaChannel site were overwhelmingly for Kerry--2,023 for him vs. 365 for Bush.
Most of Bush's supporters said the Miami debate--intended to focus on homeland security and the war in Iraq--overemphasized the war.
Kerry supporters voiced more positive views about the debate generally. More than three-fourths of Kerry's camp rated it helpful in learning about their own candidate's stance on issues whereas only 59% for Bush supporters expressed the same opinion.
When it came to the opponent's stance, 22% of Kerry's supporters vs. 14% of Bush's found it helpful.
Folks leaning Kerry's way were more likely, 37% vs. 16%, to say it will help them decide how to cast their vote. Kerry's camp also thought their man won. Ninety-seven percent of his backers thought Kerry took the debate, while only 67% of Bush supporters thought the president had won.
"The decision to make Iraq dominate the debate made it seem relevant and informative to the Kerry supporters in our panel," commented media analyst Andrew Tyndall of ADT Research, who devised the poll and interpreted results.
"Bush supporters, by contrast, found the debate fell short in examining the candidates' values and beliefs." A majority of Bush supporters wanted more time spent on Kerry's values, beliefs and religious faith. More Kerry supporters wanted more emphasis on the President's Vietnam-War-era record, compared with only one quarter of Bush supporters.
More than 83% of both groups of supporters felt moderator Jim Lehrer showed no favoritism to either candidate. More Kerry supporters (55% vs. 39% for Bush supporters) thought his question selection was "extremely" relevant.