There's less than a week to Election Day, and, due to the weather, last week's cable viewing numbers didn't come in until late yesterday. Once again, FoxNews had more viewers in primetime and total day than CNN and MSNBC combined. Ordinarily I'd say that indicates Mitt Romney will be our next President, but once again all the demographics, the 18-34s, the 18-49s and the 25-54s show that CNN/MSNBC have more viewers than FoxNews in all those categories.
In total day audience, FoxNews had about 500,000 more viewers than CNN and MSNBC, but in the 18-34s, where there are far fewer viewers, CNN and MSNBC had about 50,000 more viewers than FoxNews. In the 18-49s, it was about the same, as it was with the 25-54s. FoxNews' 500,000 viewer lead among all viewers gives Romney (if all FoxNews viewers vote for him), 58% of the vote, leaving 42% for President Obama. FoxNews also gets 58% of primetime viewing. That number is so far off what the pollsters are predicting, that it is obviously incorrect. The monthly numbers also indicate that FoxNews/Romney has an enormous lead, and I can only surmise that many older Democrats are so disgusted with the whole process they've entirely stopped watching cable news.
There's also another possibility. According to the Pew Research Center Project For Excellence in Journalism, 36% of US adults say they regularly get campaign news from the Internet. As of November 1, Ebizma estimates that CNN.com gets 74 million unique visitors a month while FoxNews gets only 32 million (http://www.ebizmba.com/articles/news-websites). (MSNBC numbers don't count because they include NBC numbers.) I would guess that the CNN users are predominantly younger people and/or Democrats. It may be that CNN/MSNBC internet users are the ones accounting for the current 49%/49% split in the polls.
There's one more week's rating numbers to be counted before the election, but I won't get them from Cynopsis until next Tuesday, while or after most votes have been counted. Nevertheless, you'll see them here late Tuesday, with a post-mortem to follow on Wednesday.
But to make it absolutely clear, I no longer believe that cable news ratings actually predict the winner of a Presidential race. They may reflect the preference of fogies, but younger viewers are still to be heard from.
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