How have approval ratings been covered on television news? The timeline below shows total mentions of the phrase across CNN, MSNBC and Fox News over the past decade, showing that it is evenly split between two periods. The first, running from the data's start in 2009 through 2015, is quite bursty and Fox News tends to focus on approval ratings the most. Most of 2015 is an outlier: a period of relatively little coverage of approval ratings from any of the three channels. From 2016 to 2017, mentions of approval ratings increased steadily and then have decreased through present, while Fox News mentioned approval ratings the least of the three.
Looking at just this year, more attention was paid to approval ratings from January to April, then a lull through July, followed by a rampup in mentions again. Fox News has also taken the lead on mentions since July.
From January to the end of June this year, MSNBC displayed the phrase "approval rating(s)" in its onscreen text far more than its peers, totaling 1.8 hours, compared with 37 minutes on CNN and 19.5 minutes on Fox News.
In contrast, from July to present, Fox News has displayed the phrase the most, totaling 1.5 hours compared with 45.6 minutes on CNN and 34.5 minutes on MSNBC.