Research Shows Democrats And Republicans Like Different Shows

Based on new research, Democratic and Republican political consultants have to be crestfallen that HBO and Showtime accept no advertising. If their ads look to convert the non-believers, these pay-TV networks might be ideal venues.

Buyology, a research firm that uses neuroscience, has found that across a slew of competitive brands, there was a large gap in the emotional connections Democrats and Republicans felt toward HBO and Showtime.

Democrats have a passion for HBO and GOPers embrace Showtime. While Buyology’s research used science to capture reflexive responses, guessing why the results came back one way or another is more art than science. Theories can be emotionally engaging. They may also be telling -- or not.

With HBO, is passion for Bill Maher the main reason Democrats like it? Or is it a belief that “Game Change,” the film about John McCain’s 2008 campaign, was a needed attack job on Sarah Palin? Of course, a favorable documentary of President George Bush I debuted last night, so that may temper Democratic liking of HBO the next time.



Why is Showtime such a GOP favorite? Is it the national security fight against al-Qaeda in “Homeland”?

Yet, "Homeland" is a President Obama favorite. And, how could Republicans embrace Showtime with its show about a lawless pot dealer ("Weeds")?

Overlay data from Experian Simmons and it indeed shows Bill Maher's HBO series has large appeal among liberal Democrats. Experian Simmons found the show's audience had the highest concentration of liberal Democrats during a Jan. 1, 2011-March 16, 2012 time frame -- behind only several MSNBC shows and "The Daily Show."

Yet, how varied can media research be? Buyology found Showtime appealed to Republicans. And yet, a trio of Showtime series – “Shameless,” “United States of Tara” and “Californication” – were in Experian Simmons' top 20 with liberal Democrats.

Stripping out local news that campaigns can't get away from, where else can politicos advertise to grab new support? To fish where your fish aren’t?

The Buyology data found Animal Planet was the “most desired TV channel” among Democrats and the History channel led for Republicans.

Of course, the Buyology research may not be needed for GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney to consider Animal Planet for some image-boosting. His campaign has been dogged by the story that he placed the family dog in a carrier on top of the family car during a vacation in 1983.

Why do Republicans like History? Maybe they embrace the free enterprise dynamic of big hit “Pawn Stars"? Experian Simmons had three History shows in its cable top-20 for conservative Republicans -- “American Pickers,” “Top Shot” and “Swamp People.” So, perhaps the network could be fertile ground for President Obama? 

In broadcast TV, the scripted shows leading among liberal Democrats were “Modern Family,” followed by “30 Rock,” "Parks and Recreation,” “Glee” and “Parenthood.”

Among conservative Republicans, the Experian Simmons data had “NCIS” on top, followed by “Castle,” “The Good Guys,” “The Middle” and “NCIS: Los Angeles.”  

The Experian Simmons research came via a survey of 24,000-plus who identified their political outlook and party registration.

(By one metric, Adult Swim and Comedy Central did well among independents -- people both parties need to reach. Adult Swim had three of the top five with “Robot Chicken,” “American Dad” and “King of the Hill.” Comedy Central’s “Tosh.0” and “Futurama” accounted for the other two.)

The Buyology research called on 4,000 Americans to evaluate 200 brands, looking to gauge which ones had more emotional engagement between Democrats and Republicans. Lest there be confusion, just because a brand was preferred among Democrats does not mean no Republicans embraced it and vice versa. So, it is possible at least one Republican appreciated Bill Maher.

Political consultants aren’t the only ones that can gather worthwhile insight from Buyology’s wealth of information to evaluate ad platforms. There’s plenty there for all kinds of marketers.

Democrats and Republicans disagree on everything from “most desired” car to gaming system to insurance. First, though, how about a focus on the bi-partisanship?

Party loyalists agreed on “most desired” beverage (Coke), financial service (Visa), Internet brand (Google), technology (Apple) and beauty brand (Oil of Olay).

Coke had the famous Super Bowl commercial featuring Democratic consultant James Carville and former GOP Sen. Bill Frist getting along while enjoying a Coke. Maybe there’s something to take away from that.

Everyone uses Google and who doesn’t have an Apple product? Not sure why Visa made it and not MasterCard. Oil of Olay’s anti-aging products must have some magic potion that not only works, but gets into the subconscious with some let's-make-a-deal thoughts.

In general, though, Buyology CMO Melissa Hobley said the reason some brands were appreciated by both parties may be that “it’s very clear what those brands stand for and they’re distinctive.”

It’s shocking that the NFL is not on the “agreed” list for Democrats and Republicans. Football is supposed to be the new American pastime. But, the NFL drew more emotional connection among Democrats, while Major League Baseball led among the GOP.

Hobley’s theory here is intriguing. On one level, it has roots in the New York Yankees. Baseball has no salary cap – the NFL does -- and the Yankees can spend whatever they want to pursue a championship. That would dovetail with Republican support for the Citizens United decision, which eliminated spending caps for corporate campaign spending.

“I think Republicans might say this is the way to approach our government and our economy,” Hobley said.

In the car arena, Buyology found a Jeep is “most desired” for Democrats, while a BMW leads for Republicans. Hobley said a recurring theme was Democratic desire for “exploration.” Democrats might just say Republicans have more money to spend.

In gaming systems, Democrats’ “most desired” was the Wii and Republicans liked the Xbox. Some say Wii games such as tennis and bowling offer a degree of physical activity. Could any conclusions be drawn from the health care debate?

In insurance, Republicans leaned towards Allstate. Yet, Progressive was most sought after by Democrats. Maybe they just like the name?

1 comment about "Research Shows Democrats And Republicans Like Different Shows ".
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  1. Chuck Lantz from, network, June 15, 2012 at 6:12 p.m.

    None of the choices are surprising, except the NFL and MLB. So surprising that I wonder if it's accurate. The NFL is violent and tightly timed, while MLB is much more serene and "open-ended" ... a baseball game can literally go on forever. I would have thought that any game that includes "long bomb" and "Hail Marys" would be GOP fodder. Maybe the NFL is popular among Democrats simply because it's vicarious violence?

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