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.
Highest Bipartisan Engagement
Highest Republican Engagement
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|
|In Plain Sight||USA|
|Source: The Nielsen Company (2008).|
Read coverage of Nielsen’s findings on NPR.org and in the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post and Mediaweek.