Conventional Wisdom

“Conventional Wisdom”

This blog is politically neutral—even if the author isn’t.

While a week can be a lifetime in politics, there is a general consensus that the outcomes of the political conventions were more favorable to the Democrats. Could this be seen in the appeal of the conventions? How well did they draw in their respective bases?

We looked at this question by taking the primetime coverage of the elections across the major networks, PBS, MSNBC, Fox Business News, Fox News and CNN. We used Rentrak’s Advanced Demographics where viewership across 20 million TVs is classified across the political spectrum. Let’s look at the Democratic Convention first (D comes before R!).

The average composition of the audience to the Democratic Convention consisted of 21.2% conservatives, 40.8% liberals, and 38.2% of the aggregate of moderates/mixed and low interest. Compared to the primetime audience average during August to the first week of September for these same networks, we can see in the table below that Democrats were able to pick up 10% more liberals as part of their audience. Conservative composition fell by 7.5%, and the middle segments fell by 2.8%.

COMPOSTION OF PRIME PROGRAM DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION AUDIENCE VERSUS PRIME TIME AVERAGE

Now looking at the Republican Convention we don’t see the same shift to the base. The Republican Convention did not show any major movement by any segment as shown by the table below.

COMPOSITION OF PRIME PROGRAM REPUBLICAN CONVENTION AUDIENCE VERSUS PRIME TIME AVERAGE

Even the solid Republican and conservative-based Fox News channel didn’t show change during the Republican Convention.

COMPOSITION OF PRIME FOX NEWS REPUBLICAN CONVENTION VERSUS ITS PRIME TIME AVERAGE

For whatever reason, it appears the Republicans were not able to stimulate their base.

But the show isn’t over yet, and only Rentrak gives the insight of the political orientation of the audience.

In case you don’t know, I am Bruce Goerlich, Chief Research Officer at Rentrak, the global standard in movie measurement and your TV Everywhere measurement and research company. I have been in the research end of the marketing business for more than 30 years primarily on the ad agency side, with my last stint prior to Rentrak in the role of President, Strategic Resources Zenith Optimedia North America. Somewhere along the way I morphed from young Turk to old fogey. Now that I have grey hair and am horizontally-challenged, I can speak with some authority on advertising and research issues – which I will do from time-to-time on this blog.

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