Our Viewing Tastes Are “Polls” Apart

I was, for a brief time, receiving, for free, this conservative magazine called Newsmax. The February 2012 issue has “How Grover [Norquist] Conquered Washington,” Norquist being the author of the “taxpayer Protection Pledge.” One of the features in that issue reported polls commissioned by the Hollywood Reporter about movies, and the other by Entertainment Weekly about television.

The reported premise is that Democrats like comedies, “at least today’s version of it,” while Republicans prefer reality TV which is, according to an Iowa professor, “the only genre that regularly includes Christian conservatives and treats them like they’re normal.” But Republicans do like the sitcom The Middle.

Conservatives like reality shows on History such as American Pickers (collectibles), Top Shot (shooting challenge), and Only in America with Larry the Cable Guy, while Democrats like the “raunchy” Jersey Shore. The Democrats also like the scripted HBO drama Treme, which shows “sympathy for the underdog.”

In the graphic box, the favorite TV shows of Republicans are Castle, The Biggest Loser, Hawaii Five-O, and The Mentalist, while Democrats prefer 30 Rock, Parks and Recreation, Glee and Cougar Town.

As for movies, Republicans like Secretariat, Chariots of Fire, My Fair Lady and The Sound of Music, while Democrats prefer Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Kramer vs. Kramer, American Beauty and Crash (the 2005 version).

“Interestingly, the majority of both parties conclude that movies have a liberal bias…The movie that [both parties] say reflects that left-wing bias most happens to be the biggest blockbuster in history: Avatar.”

I found Chariots of Fire boring, but The Sound of Music has wonderful music. I know some Castle fans who probably aren’t Republicans. And I find fascinating that the NBC shows that apparently Dems like (30 Rock, Parks & Rec) haven’t translated to higher ratings.

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10 thoughts on “Our Viewing Tastes Are “Polls” Apart

  1. This sounds very much in the territory of The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt that I wrote about the other day. For example, if you are in a Whole Foods store, there’s an 89% chance that the county surrounding you voted for Barack Obama, but if it’s a Cracker Barrel restaurant there would be a 62% chance the vote went to McCain.

  2. It’s interesting that I like some shows and movies that are considered Republican or Democratic, and I’m registered Independent. I also find it hilarious that Avatar is considered left-wing bias when it’s simply a retelling of Pocahanus.

  3. I like Castle and loathe Jersey Shore—and I’m about as far from being a Republican as is possible! I think it’s interesting that conservatives supposedly like reality shows because it’s “the only genre that regularly includes Christian conservatives and treats them like they’re normal.” While I might dispute the assertion that it’s the only genre, and though I suspect there may be other factors at play, I do know plenty of liberals who roll their eyes and even mock the overt religiosity in some reality shows. Again, I’m not one of them—mostly because I can’t be since I never watch those reality shows.

    But of all those supposed correlations, the one I think is truly bizarre is the assertion that Avatar has the most left-wing bias (I’ve heard this elsewhere). I’ve also seen an assertion that all James Cameron’s movies have an anti-big business/corporation theme.

    All of which says to me that people see what they want to see, and look for patterns where, just maybe, there are only coincidences.

  4. Ugh, American Beauty is a terrible movie if you’re older than 19. I re-watched it a few years ago and all it seemed to be was artsy camera angles and angst over first world problems. Several hours of other people’s puberty and midlife crises.

    The Matrix also did not hold up in a recent viewing. It was just the same camera trick over and over. When I saw it as a teenager it rocked my world.

    Not all angsty movies are bad, though, particularly if they’re about real things. The Danish movie Princess and Blood Diamond changed my opinion about the porn industry and nonessential mineral industries, respectively.

  5. So according to your post, I must be a republican for being a fan of Sound of Music for years. Now that’s something new. The truth behind this is that I’m very much an open type of person and can accept any opinion from people as long as they make utter sense to me.

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