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Another 'Enthusiasm Gap': Democrats Enjoying the News a Lot Less

5 years ago
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A lot has been made in this election year about the "enthusiasm gap" between Republicans and Democrats when it comes to interest and intention to vote in the midterm elections, with Republicans enjoying as much as a 2-to-1 advantage by some measures.

But apparently, the lesser enthusiasm among Democrats in this year of grim forecasts for the party extends to reading, watching or listening to the news.

In 2008, when the force was flowing for presidential candidate Barack Obama and other Democrats running for office, 67 percent of liberal Democrats said they enjoyed the news "a lot," a number that now has fallen to 45 percent, according to a Pew Research Center survey on the media based on data collected in June. Fifty-eight percent of self-described conservative and moderate Democrats said they enjoyed the news in 2008, a number that is now down to 46 percent.

Pew did not inquire into the reasons. Maybe it is something in the make-up of Democrats compared to Republicans, because the percentage of conservatives who say they enjoy the news was about the same in 2008 (56 percent) when their side took its drubbing as it is today (57 percent).

The study said that cable news continues to play a significant role when it comes to where most people get their news, with 39 percent saying they get it from a cable channel.

But the new figures show some marked shifts since 2002 when it comes to the winners and losers among the cable and broadcast networks in the battle for viewers, with Fox News coming out on top.

In 2002, CNN led the pack with 25 percent, followed by Fox at 22 percent, NBC at 20 percent, ABC and CBS tied at 18 percent and MSNBC at 15 percent.

Now, Fox is ahead with 23 percent, CNN has fallen to 18 percent, ABC is at 14 percent, NBC at 12 percent, MSNBC at 11 percent and CBS scraping bottom at 8 percent.

Pew says that Fox is the only one of the outlets to maintain its audience size because of the increasing number of Republicans who regularly get news there. Forty percent of Republicans say they regularly watch Fox News, up from 36 percent two years ago and just 18 percent a decade ago.

CNN draws just 12 percent of Republicans and MSNBC, with news personalities like Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow being its answer to Fox's Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity, attracts just 6 percent of Republican viewers. In 2002, Republicans were about as likely to watch CNN (28 percent) as Fox (25 percent).

Unsurprisingly, Obama gets his highest approval ratings among regular viewers of Olbermann (84 percent approve) and Maddow (80 percent approve), but he also does almost as well with readers of The New York Times (79 percent approve).

His lowest ratings come from Hannity regulars (7 percent approval) and listeners to Rush Limbaugh (9 percent approval).

Some other observations from the Pew report about online, social networking and mobile device habits:

- Search engines are playing a substantially larger role in people's news gathering habits with 33 percent regularly using them to get news on topics of interest, up from 19 percent in 2008.

- Most Facebook and Twitter users say they hardly ever or never get news there.

- Thirty-one percent access the Internet over their cell phone, but just 8 percent get news there.

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Let us do some math. $13,000,000,000,000.00 (approximately) in debt. Both Dems and Repubs have overspent and overpromised. What is the budget for the Department of Education, how much has it increased over the last 10 years, and have student test scores shown any improvement? Department of Commerce, the only thing I see there as a positve is NOAA. Their weather forecasts are fairly accurate. I would get ready to learn some fix-it skills, as very soon we may have to learn to do it ourselves. Finally, unless the Fed cuts spending, no one will buy our T-notes, because I don't feel the rest of the world will find us a creditable nation. Just my opinion...and, I feel that the "blame game" is useless. If a problem arises, fix it; quit pointing fingers. Remember when you do, at least 4 point back at you.

September 13 2010 at 1:33 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

The US media is really not reporting or journalism, its advocacy or maybe best described as propaganda for political forces. Tood bad, real journalism would serve us well now. But we don't have that.

September 12 2010 at 9:07 PM Report abuse +18 rate up rate down Reply

polls and percentages will not influence the majority. obama will come on top again for another term. thank you

September 12 2010 at 8:41 PM Report abuse -24 rate up rate down Reply

As the old adage goes be careful what you wish for you you just might get it. Well the liberals and moderates got what they wanted,change. The problem was they weren't paying attention to what O'Bama was saying "We are going to fundamentally change America". They are starting to pay attention now and the Dems. are going to be faced woth "change" after Nov. Shame they don't like to hear about what the people really think .

September 12 2010 at 8:26 PM Report abuse +37 rate up rate down Reply


September 12 2010 at 8:17 PM Report abuse +9 rate up rate down Reply

The Republicans have the following ideas: 1. Spend prudently 2. Fix or repeal the health care bill 3. Incentivize business and individuals with tax cuts which will create jobs 4. Where possible begin to cut back entitlements 5 Stop apologizing to the world about the U.S. 6. Secure the borders 7. Identify terrorists for who and what they are. They have been talking about these points for the last 18 months.

September 12 2010 at 8:14 PM Report abuse +51 rate up rate down Reply
5 replies to oilmlh's comment

The dems SHOULD ENJOY the news a lot less...because in 7 weeks they will in the street and the cushy job gig is over. And the problem is Mc donalds doesn't pay all that well.

September 12 2010 at 7:56 PM Report abuse +45 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to sysaphus71's comment

With 10% unemployment, they'll be lucky to find jobs at McDonald'

September 14 2010 at 10:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

amazing how we forget in 1983, unemployment went up to almost 11%, our biggest spending in 1983 was defense, we were so afraid of the Russians...our economy was in the tank...interest rates in those years were in the 10 percent for a home, and today, we still do not learn from the experience...we let history repeat itself, well Reagan was President and it was not until the 90's that President Clinton got us out of the rut and left office with a surplus budget...only for President Bush to put us in the hole we are in today, only difference in the 80's is we did not have all these multimillion dollar talking heads are as I call them our social prostitutes that spew so much misinformation and divide us even more on our politics...I respected both Bush and Reagan, but lets be realistic and look at the there is a lesson to be learned from this and we have not learned an example the bailout, it was started by President Bush and today we see politicians with amnesia and FIXED NEWS putting this on President Obama, do you not remember when the vote for the bailout that candidate for President McCain came to DC, to vote and was giving Obama crap that he was not interested in issue of the soon we it should not be about republicans and democrats..liberal or should be about informed americans making informed decisions for the common good of our country and not the interests of the special interest who are our country's biggest challenge today...getting them out of the feeding troft of the american tax payers...

September 12 2010 at 7:55 PM Report abuse -35 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to supermexdj's comment

two words...JIMMY CARTER

September 12 2010 at 10:05 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Can anyone tell me one solution that the Republicans have offered to get us out of this mess that they put us in? Of course not; they have no ideas.

September 12 2010 at 7:50 PM Report abuse -47 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to mcl449's comment

Dogs just when have republicans ever spent less certasinly not in my life time .No republican pressident in my lifetime has created sustainable growth all just created a jobs growth bubble So be so kind as to give us a example of a republican pressident who paid down our deficet and spent less anmd shrank goverment and left office with less debt more jobs and smaller goverment in the last 35 years

September 12 2010 at 10:37 PM Report abuse -12 rate up rate down Reply

Had it not been for Obama and the Dems, we would be in a depression now! Things aren't as great as we had all hoped they would be, but we are a long way from where they would be. If the Republicans should win some seats in November (I don't think they will; most people are too smart for that.), we are in for some real hard times.

September 12 2010 at 7:47 PM Report abuse -47 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to mcl449's comment

if it had not been for Obama this recession would almost be over...

September 12 2010 at 8:09 PM Report abuse +44 rate up rate down Reply

mark stl just one question why didnt republicans accomplish that the last 8 years they were incontrol? instead of leaving us two wars a huge new entiltelment program niether paid for the largest deficet in our history and loosing over 750 thousand jobs a month when they left office.THey had ample opportunity the previous 8 years to accomplish the things you say they would have done the last two years but failed miserably to do so I hope you can see why manny would think your assement is of what the republicans would have accomplished the last two years is nothing more than wishfull thinking by a nieve person

September 12 2010 at 10:47 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply

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