Saturday, September 27, 2008

Forget red or blue, we're a nation divided by TV

By Joanne Ostrow
Denver Post Television Critic

Article Last Updated: 09/25/2008 07:55:48 PM MDT

Barack Obama's campaign would do well buying ads on "Two and a Half Men." The sitcom, starring Charlie Sheen and John Cryer, far left, has the highest ratings for undecideds and Obama supporters. ( Warner Bros. Television )

We are not a nation of red states and blue states. We are a nation of "Family Guy" states and "NCIS" states.

That may be a bit extreme, but it does summarize the personality types engaged in the current round of culture wars we call election-year politics.

In this poll-crazy season, a new survey has determined which TV shows are most watched by supporters of each presidential candidate, and the results are intriguing.

Turns out, supporters of Barack Obama are more likely to be fans of "Family Guy," "Two and a Half Men" and "Bones."

Supporters of John McCain are more likely to be fans of "NCIS," "CSI: Miami" and "Survivor."

Will these results swing the election? Let's give voters a tad more credit for decision-making than that. More likely they'll give columnists some demographic fat to chew. Still, it's valuable information if you are inclined to stereotype members of the opposing political party.

Democrats can now claim that McCain supporters enjoy violence, poorly acted crime shows and nasty reality contests.

Republicans can claim that Obama supporters like raunchy cartoons, sitcoms loaded with innuendo and forensic dramas built on sexual tension.

The poll-takers say the results give them insight into how to reach the country's undecided voters. Heads up, political advertising gurus.

According to E-Poll Market Research in Encino, Calif., the TV show where Obama ads could affect the highest percentage of undecided voters is "Two and a Half Men." The Charlie Sheen-Jon Cryer comedy apparently has the highest percentage of "undecideds" among those shows embraced by a high percentage of Obama supporters.

Similarly, the TV show where McCain ads could impact the highest percentage of undecided voters is "C.S.I.: Miami," which has the highest percentage of undecideds of all shows embraced by a high percentage of McCain supporters.

Researchers say the source, FastTrack Television Aug. 18-22, 2008, was compiled from a statistically valid sample of 1,000 viewers ages 18-54.

"NCIS" (that's Navy Criminal Investigative Service) is the earnest Mark Harmon crime show in its sixth season that this week investigates the mysterious suicide of a Navy lieutenant aboard an aircraft carrier in an episode titled "Agent Afloat."

"Family Guy" is the satirical Seth MacFarlane animated comedy in its seventh season that this week offers an episode titled "Love Blactually."

Go figure.

By the way, the series most mentioned as a favorite by both Obama and McCain supporters was "House," proving that good taste sometimes does prevail.




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