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Final Poll of Cable Television News Viewers

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A calculation based upon the belief that Nielsen viewer ratings accurately reflect viewer's voting patterns:

This is the last call -- the validation, or invalidation, of judging voter intentions on the basis of which cable networks they choose to watch. These numbers cover the week of Oct. 27 - Nov. 2, that is, up to and including last Sunday.

Over the past few weeks, primetime viewers have moved towards CNN/MSNBC in large, but not decisive numbers. Most striking is the CNN/MSNBC lead in primetime viewing. Two weeks ago, those two networks edged FoxNews 52% to 48%. This week, it's 55.5% to 44.5% -- a 4 point lead has grown to an 11 point lead. It seems as if the primetime audience has trended toward the Obama networks in a big way.

Total audience over the full broadcast day last week split 55.6% for the Democratic networks, to 44.4% for Fox, the Republican network. That's also an 11 point lead, 3 points up from the previous week and further evidence of Obama's gain in momentum.

Both the primetime demos and the total day demos remain remarkably consistent. In primetime Obama was ahead 3-1 among 18-34s both last week and this week. In 18-49s, Obama maintains a slightly more than 2 -1 lead on McCain, and just under a 2 - 1 lead among 25-54 year olds.

In total day demos: 18-34s viewers split slightly under 3-1 in favor of CNN/MSNBC in both weeks. In 18-49s, it was just under 2-1 in both weeks, and with the oldest measured audience, the 25-54 year-olds, the audience split just 65-35 in both weeks.

If I were a serious political analyst, and if I were truly sure that these numbers translated into actual votes, I would say that the above numbers indicate a shift in attitude among older viewers, the guys I used to call "fogies". If all the 18-54 demographics have remained consistent, while the total audience numbers have moved towards Obama, that should mean that Obama has gained votes from the unmeasured audience -- people 55 and older. I hope that tonight's results will establish that, but it might just be a statistical fluke.

Tonight's election results are, of course of great interest to everyone reading this. But to me, it also offers proof or disproof of a long-held concept -- that people tend to watch news that comforts them and confirms their attitudes and biases. We'll know that tomorrow.

Once more, a fulsome thanks to Cynthia Turner and Cynopsis, who got these ratings to me in time to go on the record before we know the final results.