Proving that fake news is getting credibility (no, I’m not talking about Dan Rather, thank you very much), the University of Pennsylvania’s National Annenberg Election Survey shows that viewers of The Daily Show are more aware of candidates’ positions on issues than those who don’t watch late-night TV.
Polling conducted between July 15 and Sept. 19 among 19,013 adults showed that on a six-item political knowledge test people who did not watch any late-night comedy programs in the past week answered 2.62 items correctly, while viewers of Late Night with David Letterman on CBS answered 2.91, viewers of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno answered 2.95, and viewers of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart answered 3.59 items correctly. That meant there was a difference of 16 percentage points between Daily Show viewers and people who did not watch any late-night programming.
There’s more interesting nuggets from the study, which is summarized here. Most surprising to me? Jay Leno is the most partisan of all late night hosts, making fun of Bush in more jokes than Kerry. Oddly, Republicans surveyed preferred Leno (33%) to Letterman (27%) or Stewart (15%). (Stewart was the favorite of both Democrats and Independents.)