Cable News Ratings, Democrats May Yet Have a Chance

05/12/2010 02:30 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The three centrist to liberal news networks combined have had more total day viewers than FoxNews for the past two weeks. If, as I believe, that viewing forecasts voting, that means the Democrats have a better chance of maintaining their Congressional edge in the 2010 elections than previously predicted.

Ordinarily, I report only on month-to-month or quarter-to-quarter news ratings, but since I'm going to be out of the country over the next month, and since I've beaten up on CNN, Headline News and MSNBC over the last quarter when the results were truly disastrous, I think its only fair to report on their improvement. Last week, the three news networks had larger audiences in total viewing, primetime viewing and every demographic category than did FoxNews. This week they beat FoxNews in all categories but primetime, where FoxNews beat them with 1.817 million viewers to their combined total of 1.795 million, that's 22,000 in a universe of 3.6 million viewers, or as those in the polling business say, "a rounding error".

This is due less to the success of the three news networks than to a FoxNews' loss of 100,000 in primetime viewers (which could be ascribed to the decline of Glen Beck as a lead in). In total day viewing FoxNews has remained relatively steady while CNN has picked up 60,000 viewers in the first two weeks of May. In all of the younger demographics, that is 18-49, 18-34 and 25-54, the combined three news networks are well ahead of FoxNews. It is the viewers 55 and older that keep FoxNews ahead in total viewing.

Given the negativity of my previous reports about new ratings, I get some satisfaction out of reporting even mildly good news about them. But, I cannot resist mentioning that my other network, the Food Network, is well ahead of every one of the news networks, including Fox, in all the key demographic measurements. I guess most people would rather eat than watch a food fight among fools, which seems to be the common fare for all news networks.