September Cable News Viewing As Election Indicators

It's that time of the year when television viewing reflects the attitudes of people who are going to vote in November. If that's the case in 2012, it's going to be a very tough campaign for President Obama. Last month, FoxNews averaged 1,278,000 viewers in total day, while MSNBC and CNN averaged only 1,094,000. If you throw in Headline News (which I'm reluctant to do, because its primetime includes Nancy Grace, and I do not believe people watch her for her political views). The three network combo totals 1,326,0000, just enough to edge out FoxNews.

As often mentioned here, the FoxNews audience is the oldest of any of the cable news audiences, and given the switch by younger video consumers to the internet, the cable viewing audience may not be as good an indicator as it used to be. On the other hand, the percentage of older viewers that vote is far greater than the 18-34s. I think the President is going to need those voters to come out again, as they did in 2008, if he's going to win this time.

In primetime, FoxNews prevailed again over the MSNBC/CNN combo, averaging 2,358,000 viewers to the combo's 2,192,000. Once again, if you throw in Headline News, Obama wins the poll, but by only 40,000 votes out of more than 4,600,0000. So, if you count in the Nancy Grace viewers, the are is still a statistical tie. In other words, this election is still up for grabs. I am sure that voters have yet to fall in love with either candidate, and since I do not believe, based on my past experience (covering every election from 1960 to 1980), that the debates will be nearly as decisive as others claim, so I'll wait to see who the viewers are watching in October before I dare make a prediction.

After all, a lot of political "experts" are saying this may be an election determined by who makes the fewest gaffes.