A study of political affiliation and use of media has found that, contrary to popular assumption, Republicans are more active online than Democrats. Republicans are also more likely to watch “The Office,” like sports, and watch the History Channel. Democrats prefer newspapers, “Ugly Betty,” Comedy Central, and basketball. At least in the Midwest, the focus of the study, though some of the results are thought to be transferable more broadly. Here are more details from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, which takes a Wisconsin-centric view of the data:
Democrats and Republicans not only vote differently and see the world differently, but they get their information and entertainment from very different places.
A new study on media consumption in the Midwest illustrates how this works in individual media markets like Milwaukee.
Heavy radio and Internet users here tend to skew Republican, while big television and newspaper users skew Democratic.
Viewers of Fox News, the Golf Channel, the History Channel, the Speed Channel, ESPN and Country Music Television lean Republican.
Viewers of MSNBC, CNN, Comedy Central, Lifetime and Bravo lean Democratic.
“We know Wisconsin is polarized politically. We’re also polarized in how we pay attention to media,” says UW-Madison political scientist Ken Goldstein, who did the report for a research group he launched last year, the Midwest Foundation for Media Research.
Milwaukee is a microcosm in many ways of national patterns in partisan media consumption. . . .
“Sports channels skew Republican, which is a (more) male audience, and women’s channels skew Democratic,” says National Media’s Will Feltus, who was part of the Bush campaign’s media team in 2004.
Primetime network shows follow partisan patterns as well; nationally, “Survivor” and the “The Office” skew Republican; “60 Minutes” and “Ugly Betty” skew Democratic. . . .
The heaviest newspaper readers score the highest for political engagement and skew somewhat Democratic in their politics. Big TV watchers are even more Democratic but less engaged. Heavy Internet users tend to skew Republican, not Democratic as is often assumed. And radio users skew Republican, reflecting in part the role of conservative talk radio. . . .
Golf and car racing have a more Republican following; basketball and hockey have a more Democratic following. The Brewers don’t skew in either direction. The Packers skew a little bit Republican (as do sports fans overall, which is consistent with the fact that men are more likely than women to be both sports fans and to be Republicans).
In a separate analysis Feltus did last year on “The Politics of Sports Fans,” he wrote that sports fans nationally tend to report higher than average rates of voting. That’s especially true of golf, college sports and big league baseball fans. (They tend to be older and have higher income and education levels, which correspond to higher voter turnout).
Fans of pro wrestling and monster trucks, however, reported much lower than average voting rates.
How do you account for these differences?