What do your favorite shows say about you?

I never would have called myself a Democrat, but if this study from the Hollywood Reporter about Americans’ TV preferences is to believed, I should be a Prius-driving, arugula-munching, Pelosi-loving liberal:

According to months of data from leading media-research company Experian Simmons, viewers who vote Republican and identify themselves as conservative are more likely than Democrats to love the biggest hits on TV. Of the top 10 broadcast shows on TV in the spring, nine were ranked more favorably by viewers who identify themselves as Republican. . . .

“The big shows with mass appeal tend to have above-average scores from Democrats and Republicans but with higher concentrations of Republicans,” says John Fetto, senior marketing manager at Experian Simmons. “Looking at the Democrats side, I don’t mean to make light of it, but they seem to like shows about damaged people. Those are the kind of shows Republicans just stay away from.”

Looking at the lists of shows that are most popular with each party, I watch none of the top 15 “Republican” shows with any regularity, while most of my favorite shows on TV (Mad Men, 30 Rock, and Community, among others) are all on the “Democrat” list.

Of course, I’m not sure that the “Democrat/Republican” split really captures the differences here: Other factors like age, gender, education level, and so on are also going to have a big impact on what kind of TV you watch. I can’t really see any men ranking Kourtney and Khloe Take Miami very highly, Democrat or Republican; meanwhile, my dad had never heard of Mad Men until I mentioned it to him, even though our politics are broadly similar. I’d think a survey sorted for some of these other factors would give a clearer picture.

Still, the results are interesting: For one, though “big Hollywood” may be populated by liberals, it does seem that “Republican” tastes reign supreme when it comes to picking winning shows. And really, the two lists share a lot in common: Apparently, both Democrats and Republicans love their respective talking heads (Glenn Beck and Keith Olbermann), trashy reality TV (The Bachelor and the aforementioned Kourtney and Khloe), soapy dramas (Desperate Housewives and 90210), and crime procedurals (NCIS and Law and Order: SVU). Maybe we’re not quite so different as all that.

Be sure to check out the Hollywood Reporter‘s corresponding findings about late-night talk shows, too: My love for Coco and Jon Stewart apparently means I’m somewhere in between “largely independent voters who enjoy vodka drinks, watch Comedy Central and are most likely to be single atheists who own Volkswagens” and “Democrats who watched MSNBC and AMC, drank beer and were most likely to be married and Catholic.” Actually, a cross of those two would be just about right…

So let’s do an informal IC poll: What shows do Catholic viewers like?


Margaret Cabaniss is the former managing editor of Crisis Magazine. She joined Crisis in 2002 after graduating from the University of the South with a degree in English Literature and currently lives in Baltimore, Maryland. She now blogs at SlowMama.com.

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