Report: GOP Ad Buyers Favor Crime Dramas, While Dems Go For Comedies


According to Ashley Parker of the New York Times, Dancing with the Stars attracts ads from Republicans and Democrats in equal measure. As Parker writes, though, the “bipartisan consensus on America’s TV habits apparently ends there.”

In a year when political spending on TV advertising will hit an all-time high of $3 billion, all television programs are not created equal. Each major party targets different sets of voters by choosing to run ads for their candidates during different types of shows.

Will Feltus, senior VP of a Republican political media buying organization, explains that conservatives are more likely to buy ads during “certain types of crime dramas” that draw right-skewing audiences. “Republicans tend to like shows where there are good guys and bad guys, and where the good guy prevails. On ‘NCIS,’ the good guys just so happen to work for the Navy,” Feltus says.

Republicans also advertise much more heavily during sports programming, as Parker writes:

Republicans bought nearly three times as many ads as Democrats on “Saturday Night College Football,” more than twice as many on “Sunday Night NFL Football” and Nascar racing, and almost twice as many during Major League Baseball games.

According to demographic data from the Nielsen Company, the sports shows most favored by Republican buyers — “Saturday Night College Football,” “NBC Sunday Night Football,” “NFL Sunday Kickoff,” Nascar racing and Major League Baseball — have an audience that is nearly two-thirds or higher male.

“College sports is probably the cleanest buy for Republicans, or the buy where they’re getting the biggest advantage,” said Ken Goldstein, the research director for the Midwest Media Research Foundation. “Republicans think their base is more likely to be watching sports, and if they’re looking for younger males, or younger white males, it’s college football.”

Democrats, for their part, target talk-show watchers and comedy lovers with their ads—audiences that tend to include more women:

Evan Tracey, the president of the Campaign Media Analysis Group, said that talk programs were “the opposite of sports.”

“Women and especially single women are a very reliable voting bloc for Democrats,” he said. “That’s why you see a lot of Democrats being aimed at in those programs. That’s an important turnout audience for them.”

Despite all this, though, prime time ad purchases still only make up 10 to 20 percent of all political spending. The majority of ads still run on news shows, presumably because those viewers are the ones most likely to vote. Read Parker’s article in full at

[h/t Daily Intel]

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