Democrats Listen To Podcasts The Most, Republicans Trust Them More

The American audience is almost evenly split between those who listen to podcasts and those who don’t, according to a new study by the Pew Center for Research. 

Of the individuals polled, 49% have listened to a podcast in the last 12 months, and 51% have not. Roughly 20% listen at least a few times a week, including 33% of adults under 30.  

Democrats and those who lean that way are slightly more likely to have listened to a podcast in the past 12 months: 54%, versus 46% for Republicans. And 69% of Democrats say news is discussed on the podcasts they listen to, compared to 65% of Republicans.

But Republicans are more likely to trust the news they get from podcasts—46% say so, compared to 19% of Democrats.  

Overall, 87% expect the news on podcasts to be accurate, and 31% trust it more than news they get from other sources, with 55% saying the level is about the same and 15% who find it less trustworthy. 



In general, people listen to podcasts for these reasons: 

  • For entertainment—60% 
  • To learn—55% 
  • To have something to listen to when doing something else—52%
  • To hear other people’s opinions—30% 
  • To stay up to date about current events—29%
  • For encouragement or inspiration—27%

Moreover, consumers are influenced by podcasts, with these percentages doing the following because of a podcast they listened to: 

  • Watched a movie, read a book, or listened to music—60% 
  • Followed the social media account of a podcast or its host(s)—52% 
  • Made or tried a lifestyle change (e.g., a workout, a new diet, or journaling)—36%
  • Bought something promoted or talked about on a podcast—28%
  • Joined an online discussion group for a specific podcast—16%
  • Donated to, volunteered for, or attended an event for a political cause—13% 
  • Paid for a subscription to a podcast—13% 
  • Bought merchandise—12% 

Of those who have favorites, 22% say they listen to a podcast most because they feel highly connected the host, and 38% say that is somewhat true.  

Those who named a podcast they like cited these programs:

  • "The Joe Rogan Experience"—5% 
  • "The Daily"—1%  
  • "Crime Junkie"—1% 
  • "The Dan Bongini Show"—1% 
  • "Dateline"—1% 
  • "The Ben Shapiro Show"—1% 

Politics and government are the biggest podcast draws. Of those who have a podcast they listen to, most listed these topics: 

  • Politics and government—20%
  • Entertainment, pop culture and the arts—12% 
  • Comedy—12% 
  • True crime—9%
  • Religion and spirituality—8%
  • Self-help and relationships—6% 
  • Sports—6% 
  • Money and finance—5%
  • Science and technology—5% 
  • History—3% 
  • Health and fitness—2%
  • Race and ethnicity—1% 
  • Something else—12% 

Pew surveyed 5,132 U.S. adults from Dec. 5-11, 2022. 


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