Common liberal logic goes something like this:
People who watch more television are stupid.
Republicans are stupid.
Therefore, Republicans must watch more television than enlightened Democrats.
Not so fast says a new study from the Midwest Foundation for Media Research:
Nationally, base Democrats use more television than base Republicans with certain programs or stations skewing more Democratic (MSNBC) or Republican (Fox News). At the national level, newspaper and radio usage behaviors are similar for both base Republicans and base Democrats. There are, however, significant market-to-market differences in patterns of television, newspaper, radio, and Internet usage patterns – and of the sorts of programs within each mode that people pay attention to. These differences have implications for our understanding of political media planning and media effects.
Although, like Americans nationwide, Democrats in the Midwest are heavier overall users of television than are high-turnout Republicans or swing voters, there are differences in which programs party groups watch. Furthermore, at the market level, there are differences in patterns of use by type of media.
This particular study focused on eight metro areas in the Midwest. One of them was Minneapolis-St. Paul:
The top quintile of radio listeners in the Minneapolis-St. Paul market tends to be moderately Republican, and participate in politics at levels only slightly greater than average. Internet users lean slightly toward Republicans, yet are heavily active. While newspaper readers in Minneapolis-St. Paul tend not to favor either party, they are engaged in very high numbers (only slightly less than Internet users). Television viewers not only lean heavily toward Democrats, but they are engaged in politics in higher numbers than any other market tested other than Des Moines (although still not at levels that can be considered much higher than average).
It gets even more interesting when they break it down by media type. They're a rich vein of information to be mined here:
Minneapolis-St. Paul television viewers lean heavily toward Democrats. Of the 43 networks tested, only six (13.9%) had a majority-Republican audience (Fox News, FSN, ESPNews, Disney Channel, Speed, ABC Family, and Nickelodeon).
Other than Speed, all are channels in regular rotation in our home.
In Minneapolis-St. Paul, MSNBC is s the most favored network for Democrats, and ranks highest for political engagement and influence.
Yikes. That explains a lot.
MSNBC is more than twice as favored by Democrats as Republicans favor Fox News. In Minneapolis-St. Paul, CNN, CNBC, CNN Headline News, and the Fine Living network are all favored by liberals, and each one has viewership that is engaged at a higher rate than Fox News viewers.
I don’t even know what the Fine Living network is, but the fact that prole-protecting liberals dig it seems to open a broad avenue for irony.
The most Democrat-favored networks in Minneapolis-St. Paul include TruTV, Bravo, ESPN Classic, TLC, Comedy Central, SoapNet, MTV, Lifetime, Animal Planet, National Geographic, USA, A&E, AMC, the Weather Channel, VH1, Discovery Health, and the History Channel.
Other than Fox News, is there anything on cable that local liberals don’t like?
Internet viewing in Minneapolis-St. Paul is more ideologically balanced than other markets tested. FoxNews.com is heavily favored by Republicans, while TwinCities.com (the St. Paul Pioneer Press) and StarTribune.com are less favored by the GOP.
You don’t say...
ESPN.com, KARE11.com, AOL, and MyFoxTwincities.com are all favored by Republicans. TheOnion.com is also slightly favored by Republicans, but its readers are well below average political participants.
Falling in-between ideologies are websites such as WCCO.com, Google, eBay, and Yahoo!. Favoring Democrats are MSNBC.com, ABCNews.com, Ask.com, My29TV.com, CNN.com, Amazon.com, and Weather.com. MTV.com is favored most by Minneapolis-St. Paul Democrats, but its readers’ political influence is the lowest measured of any website in any market.
One of these days that vaunted youth vote is going to make a difference. One of these days...
While Minneapolis-St. Paul is the most Democrat-friendly market tested…
Again, you don’t say.
…the largest sports in Minneapolis trend towards Republicans. Most favored by GOP fans are the Minnesota Wild, NASCAR, Minnesota Twins, Minnesota Vikings, and University of Minnesota hockey, football, and basketball. Despite residing in a neighboring state, the Green Bay Packers also register with a large fan base, skewing slightly Republican.
Sigh. (hangs head in shame before resuming)
In Minneapolis-St. Paul, Democrats favor the Minnesota Timberwolves, fishing, women’s tennis, men’s tennis, and the LPGA tour (whose viewers are extremely likely to be politically active.)
Local LPGA viewers are likely to be liberal political activists? Wonder what the additional correlation would be with softball players and gym teachers?