The Pew Research Center has a new study out that looks at television network news choices, both cable and broadcast, and compares that to party affiliation, and the results are clear. Not only do Republicans flock to Fox, they tend to shun the other options, which in the Pew study are CNN, MSNBC and nightly network broadcast programs. The spread is more balanced for Democrats and independents, although Democrats tend to avoid FNC.
25% of Pews respondents identified themselves as Republicans; 38% as Democrats; 29% as independent; and 10% as other/don’t know (which begs the question, what kind of voter is so befuddled by party identification that he/she can’t determine that lack of a party affiliation in fact IS independent by definition? – but moving along…).
The FNC audience, by contrast, boasts the largest concentration of Republicans, with 39%; followed by D: 33%; I: 22% and O: 6%. Clearly, the network is a Republican magnet.
CNN has the highest concentration of Democrats among the four, with 51%; followed by I: 23%; R: 18%; and O: 8%.
Despite its reputation as a magnet for liberals and Democrats, MSNBC sports the highest concentration of independents, with 27%. The biggest category however is D: 54%; and includes R: 18%; and O: 10% (an O category high). Still, its pattern is roughly equivalent to CNN’s.
The broadcast nets have roughly the same breakdown as CNN and MSNBC: D: 45%; I: 26%; R: 22%; and O: 7%.
Pew notes that when the independents who will admit to leaning to one party or the other are added to that party’s results, the findings hold –. The R/D numbers are these: FNC: 49%/39%; CNN: 23%/64%; MSNBC: 25%/60%; broadcast networks: 29%/59%.
RBR-TVBR observation: When push comes to shove, the partisan audience composition of CNN, MSNBC and the networks are roughly equivalent. FNC is the only network with a completely unique partisan profile – but still, and perhaps surprisingly, one out of three of those viewers is a Democrat.