Demographics and Media Behaviors of Key 2012 Voter Groups

Demographics of political consumer segments

While demographics alone are not necessarily predictive of political consumer voting behaviors and beliefs, this chart gives a sense of the similarities and differences across the groups. For example, in the upper left among high-turnout Democrats, the top-ranked demographic characteristic is African-American; the index score of 176 means that black Americans are 1.76 times more likely than the average adult to be a high-turnout Democrat. The table estimates there are roughly 6.6 million black high-turnout Democrats of 36 million high-turnout Democrats.

High-turnout partisans and leaners at both ends of the political spectrum tend to be older, better educated and, particularly in the case of Republicans, to have higher incomes. High-turnout independents are demographically similar to the high-turnout partisans, although a bit younger and less wealthy. The none-of-these voters are less well-off, less well-educated, and more likely to be out of work.

The lower turnout presidential-only voters in the second row are younger. Presidential-only voters under 30 are particularly likely to describe themselves as a pure independent or none-of-these. Interestingly, military-specific occupation is the one demographic characteristic of the presidential-only vote that cuts across party segments. The presidential-only independent segment is a good example of the limitations of demographics to explain political consumer behaviors – this segment indexes highly against both high-income professionals and the unemployed.

Media behaviors of political consumer segments

This table ranks the top ten media categories, based on their index scores, for each of the twelve political consumer segments. Cable channels, because their audiences are relatively smaller, are most likely to show up in these rankings. Fox News and Fox Business lead with Republicans and Republican leaners, while MSNBC, CNN, HLN and, less predictably, CNBC are favored by Democrats and Democratic leaners. High-turnout voters enjoy sports – for example, The Golf Channel ranks in the top ten for high- turnout independents and none-of-these, as well as Republicans and Republican leaners.

Media preferences of presidential-only voters reflect their age. Hours spent on the Internet shows up here, along with radio music formats and reality television programs. For example, higher turnout Republicans and leaners are more-likely to be listening to news/talk radio. But the radios of presidential-only Republicans, leaners, and independents are more likely to be tuned to contemporary Christian, country, classic rock, and hot adult contemporary stations. Presidential-only voters are lighter consumers of news, and therefore more likely to get candidate information from advertising and entertainment programs.

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