Do Dem & GOP Viewers Respond Differently To TV Shows

Do Dem & GOP Viewers Respond Differently To TV Shows

Do politics play a role in TV viewing? 

Yes and no, according to Nielsen IAG, which recently released data showing which cable programs are most “engaging” among self-identified Democrats and Republicans.

“Engagement” refers to the amount of attention paid to a television program by the average viewer.  Nielsen measures TV engagement by questioning a representative panel of viewers about their recall of specific telecasts’ content.

Nielsen’s analysis found that the cable programs that received the highest overall engagement scores — meaning viewers were most engaged in the shows’ content — also received the most bipartisan support, drawing high engagement scores from viewers of both parties, as well as from viewers who identify as political “Independents.”  

As might be expected, however, several programs had clear partisan bents.  On Comedy Central, for example, Democratic viewers paid the most attention to “The Colbert Report,” while “South Park” was the network’s most engaging show among Republicans.


Cable Series:

Highest Bipartisan Engagement

Network Cable Series:

Highest Republican Engagement

Network Cable Series:

Highest Democrat Engagement

The Cleaner A&E South Park COMEDY The Colbert Report COMEDY
Real Housewives of Orange County BRAVO Cash Cab DSC Deadliest Catch DSC
The Next Food Network Star FOOD Damages FX Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia FX
HGTV Design Star HGTV Battle 360 HISTORY Ax Men HISTORY
Army Wives LIFE Doctor Who SCIFI Tin Man SCIFI
The Hills MTV The Bill Engval Show TBS My Boys TBS
What Not to Wear TLC Rock of Love With Bret Michaels VH1 I Love New York VH1
Saving Grace TNT        
In Plain Sight USA        
Source: The Nielsen Company (2008).

Read coverage of Nielsen’s findings on and in the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post and Mediaweek.