Pew Study: Only Fox News Stable After Post-Presidential Election Dip

By Alex Weprin 

The 2008 presidential election delivered record ratings for the cable news channels, but in the two years since, ratings have taken a hit. According to a new study out today from the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, only Fox News Channel has managed to maintain its audience size.

The study was not looking at ratings, but rather the proportion of people that watch television, and cable news in particular.

Overall, Pew says that 39% of respondents get news regularly from a cable news channel.

According to the study, 23% of respondents say they regularly watch FNC, flat since 2008. By comparison, CNN and MSNBC are both down from 2008, with CNN down from 24% to 18% and MSNBC from 15% to 11%.

Not surprisingly, the viewership of the cablers is highly partisan.

Pew reports that a full four in 10 Republicans watch FNC. By comparison, only 15% of Democrats watch FNC, and 20% of self-identified independents. The number of Republicans is up from 2008, with the other two categories down.

16% of Democrats say they watch MSNBC, compared to 10% of independents and 6% of Republicans, all down from 2008.

At CNN, 25% of Democrats tune-in,. compared to 17% of independents and 12% of Republicans, with all down from 2008.

The study also looked at the oldest and youngest programs.

The oldest programs tend to be the broadcast nightly newscasts, the Sunday public affairs shows and programs on FNC, while the youngest were not news programs at all, but “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” and “The Colbert Report.”