Monday, November 12, 2007

Listening to Rush

I have often thought, and occasionally said, that one reason conservative talk radio gets better ratings than liberal talk radio is that liberals are more willing to listen to conservative talk than conservatives are willing to listen to liberal talk. A new poll from Zogby International and the Norman Lear Center at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School provides some hard evidence that I'm right about that:

The extensive interactive survey of deeply held beliefs and behavior patterns – conducted June 26–29, 2007, including 3,939 adults nationwide and carrying a margin of error of +/– 1.6 percentage points – shows that liberals were much more likely than conservatives to listen to commentary and entertainment with which they disagreed philosophically.


The numbers:

While 22% of conservatives said they “never” enjoy entertainment that reflects values other than their own, just 7% of liberals felt the same way. At the other end of the scale, just 11% of conservatives said they “very often” enjoyed programming that ran counter to their personal philosophies, compared to 20% of liberals and 18% of moderates who said the same thing.


Given a country that is closely divided along partisan lines, that may be enough to make all of the difference.

UPDATE: Also this tidbit: "Over 80% of liberals admit that they are entertained by material that’s in bad taste. Almost 40% of conservatives say they are never entertained by it."

12 comments:

Jay Stevens said...

Hm. Could those numbers have been created by conservative talk radio? That is, because liberals have had little choice in the matter, could they have listened to Rush and gotten used to it?

In other words, the numbers might be the way they are because of the radio environment, not the other way around.

Cart, meet horse. Which goes where?

David said...

Maybe listening to conservative talk makes listeners more liberal. I was never a big supporter of Hillary Clinton until I listened to Sean Hannity pound on her relentlessly day after day. He made me a fan.

jcurmudge said...

When I was in the Pastorate I always listened to those guys so I would know hat my parishioners were listening to.

Chuck Rightmire said...

Yeah, but it's hard to laugh when you know they are deliberately using perjorative words without any essense behind them. Lies, in other words, made to sound better by the use of more than one syllable. People seem to believe what they don't understand if it sounds authoritative. The bias is just so damn obvious that it's not even entertaining.

JP said...

I'd buy into those numbers. When I was programming AM Talk Radio, the democrats were a strong part of my audience.

Mark T said...

Surely we were the most interesting part, JP! I find talk radio entertaining when there is an exchange of views. I find that liberal talk radio hosts often have the other side on as guests, while right wingers never do.

Anonymous said...

What I can't figure out is how these talk hosts can really claim to wear the "conservative" label. To me "conservatives" are those who resist government intrusion (e.g. Patriot Act, FISA, etc)and are fiscally "tight". They have a "live and let live" attitude. But the truth is that these guys are too often none of the above. Likewise, their "family values" are often colorful--to put it mildly.

Dave Rye said...

You guys will hate Ann Coulter's explanation for better ratings for conservative talk:

People do most of their radio listening while driving. Conservatives listen to the radio more than liberals because they spend more time traveling to and from some sort of job.

David said...

Typical Coulter: a rash assertion, unsupported by evidence, seasoned with bile.

Dave Rye said...

Yah, but she LOOKS so fabulous while saying it.

David said...

The idea that Coulter looks good is another of the mysteries of the conservative mind.

Mark T said...

Ouch! Remind me never to argue with Mr. Crisp.