Opinion: If you watch ‘Colbert’ or ‘Doctor Who,’ we know if you’ll vote for McCain or Obama


This article was originally on a blog post platform and may be missing photos, graphics or links. See About archive blog posts.

Oops. Be careful what you let out to co-workers about your television viewing habits.

It turns out the folks over at Nielsen Co., who’ve been reporting how many people watched each one of these presidential and VP television debates this fall, can also eerily detect our political proclivities from what programs we prefer.


No, really!

Some shows attract a truly bipartisan audience, both Republicans and Democrats (and maybe even some of Bob Barr’s Libertarian crowd and still-mourning Ron Paulites) are drawn to closely watch and enjoy the programs.

But if you spontaneously blurt out, for instance, too much about, oh, say, episodes of ‘South Park’ or ‘Deadliest Catch,’ the Nielsen people (and advertisers who want to reach certain segments of the population) can pretty much predict whether you’re gonna vote for Republicans John McCain and Sarah Palin or Democrats Barack Obama and Joe Biden come Nov. 4.

Kinda creepy, isn’t it?

Nielsen does this by measuring what it calls ‘engagement.’ Researchers ask a scientific sampling of people about the content of their favorite programs (sports excluded).

Those who know the most about a cable program are deemed more ‘engaged.’

These results are then matched with each individual’s self-reported political affiliation or independence.

We’re gonna play a little bipartisan game here now. We’ll give you a long list of assorted cable programs. See which ones you like to watch and remember the most about. And guess which ones are ‘Democratic,’ ‘Republican’ or ‘bipartisan.’

And then click on the Read more line to see which shows are preferred by which group(s). See how many you get right.

‘South Park,’ Battle 360,’ ‘Damages,’ ‘Cash Cab,’ ‘Doctor Who,’ ‘The Bill Engvall Show,’ Rock of Love.’


Also, ‘Deadliest Catch,’ ‘Ax Men,’ ‘Colbert Report,’ ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,’ ‘I Love New York, ‘My Boys, ‘Tin Man.’

Also, ‘In Plain Sight,’ ‘Saving Grace,’ ‘The Hills,’ ‘Army Wives,’ ‘What Not to Wear,’ ‘Design Star,’ ‘The Next Star,’ ‘The Real Housewives of Orange County,’ ‘The Cleaner.’

--Andrew Malcolm

We can also tell you are among the most intelligent people on the planet if you go here now and register for free alerts to your cellphone of each new Ticket item.

OK, here are the answers:

The first paragraph grouping of shows has the highest engagement among Republicans.

The second paragraph grouping shows the highest engagement among Democrats.

And the third paragraph grouping is for losers. No, just kidding. The third group of shows has the highest bipartisan (and independent) engagement.

If none of these programs are among your favorites, then, sorry, you’ll have to move to Canada where you’ll get pretty much the same shows, but there are a whole lot more commercials for tea.

And if any of these shows doesn’t match your voting tendency, there’s only one real solution. Since you obviously can’t change your TiVo settings, you’ll just have to vote differently in 13 days. There’s no other way around it.

Won’t that throw off all the polls?

--Andrew Malcolm

Source: The Nielsen IAG Co.

Photo credits: ‘Deadliest Catch’ (top); ‘South Park’ (middle); ‘The Colbert Report’ (bottom).