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Diane Sawyer, Anderson Cooper and Brian Williams are America's Favorite News Personalities

 
 

Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly and Nancy Grace are least favorite

NEW YORK, Feb. 27, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Decades ago there were just a few names that dominated the news world. Everyone knew who Walter Conkrite, David Brinkley and Chet Huntley were. And, the odds were good it was one of those men who gave people their evening dose of national and world news. Today, that is not the case. Yes, there are still the big three anchors, but there are also the multitude of news personalities on all the various cable stations and even a radio personality who transcends many of his brethren on television. Many of these individuals can cause either a positive or negative reaction.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20100517/NY06256LOGO)

Looking at a list of 26 current affairs personalities, when asked which three are their favorites, almost one-quarter say ABC News' Diane Sawyer (23%), while one in five each say CNN's Anderson Cooper (19%) and NBC's Brian Williams (19%). Rounding out the top five favorite current affairs personalities is Bill O'Reilly (15%) and Barbara Walters (15%).  A little further down the list are George Stephanopoulos (14%), Matt Lauer (13%), Katie Couric (13%), Rush Limbaugh (9%) and Sean Hannity (9%).

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,016 adults surveyed online between January 16 and 23, 2012 by Harris Interactive.

Looking at the flip side, which three of the 26 news personalities are America's least favorite, almost half say Rush Limbaugh (46%). Three in ten say Bill O'Reilly (31%) and almost one-quarter say their least favorite is Nancy Grace (23%). Rounding out the top ten least favorite news personalities are Sean Hannity (14%), Katie Couric (10%), Piers Morgan (10%), Barbara Walters (10%), Chris Matthews (10%), Rachel Maddow (7%) and Wolf Blitzer (7%).

All news is political

Much has been made about how certain cable channels, and their personalities, lean politically. And, depending on one's own political inclinations certain personalities are more or less liked. For Republicans, the top three favorite current affairs personalities are Bill O'Reilly (29%), Sean Hannity (25%) and Rush Limbaugh (22%) while for Democrats and Independents the top three are Diane Sawyer (28% and 25% respectively), Anderson Cooper (24% and 21%) and Brian Williams (24% and 20%).

Interestingly, one person is in the least liked top three for all three political parties. For Republicans, the three least liked current affairs personalities are Nancy Grace (25%), Rush Limbaugh (24%) and Chris Matthews (18%). For Democrats, the three news personalities that are the least favorite are Rush Limbaugh (66%), Bill O'Reilly (45%), and Sean Hannity (23%) while for Independents it is Rush Limbaugh (49%), Bill O'Reilly (31%) and Nancy Grace (25%).

So What?

Sometimes a news personality is supposed to just provide the news such as the anchors of the three network newscasts and some of the cable shows. Other times, controversy or political leanings drive a current affairs personality and that might actually be the purpose of his or her news program. People choose their newscaster for certain reasons. One person may watch Brian Williams, for example, because they always watched NBC news and it's a habit for them. Another may watch Bill O'Reilly because they believe in what he believes in politically. Each of these personalities has a core audience. But each also have those who would never watch them – and most are just fine with that!

 

TABLE 1
FAVORITE NEWS PERSONALITY
"Thinking now of media in general, of the news and current affairs personalities listed below, which three would you say are your favorite?"

Base: All adults

 

Jan

2008

Jan

2012

Party ID

Republican

Democrat

Independent

%

%

%

%

%

Diane Sawyer

N/A

23

17

28

25

Anderson Cooper

17

19

12

24

21

Brian Williams

16

19

13

24

20

Bill O'Reilly

23

15

29

4

15

Barbara Walters

12

15

10

22

13

George Stephanopoulos

11

14

10

18

14

Matt Lauer

N/A

13

11

14

14

Katie Couric

13

13

9

16

12

Rush Limbaugh

12

9

22

2

7

Sean Hannity

11

9

25

1

5

Rachel Maddow

N/A

7

1

16

5

Nancy Grace

6

7

6

7

8

Christiane Amanpour

N/A

7

3

9

9

Greta Van Susteren

4

7

13

2

6

Ann Curry

N/A

6

6

8

5

Neil Cavuto

N/A

6

12

1

7

Lester Holt

N/A

6

5

8

5

Wolf Blitzer

5

6

4

8

6

Bob Schieffer

6

5

2

8

7

Shepard Smith

5

5

10

1

7

Chris Matthews

6

5

4

8

5

Scott Pelley

N/A

4

3

5

4

Charlie Rose

N/A

4

1

5

5

Piers Morgan

N/A

3

2

3

3

Joe Scarborough

N/A

2

1

1

4

John King

N/A

1

*

2

1

None of these

23

20

18

16

20

Note: Totals may not add to 100% because of rounding; * indicates less than 0.5%; N/A indicates not asked in that year


TABLE 2
LEAST FAVORITE NEWS PERSONALITIES
"Of the news and current affairs personalities below, which three would you say are your least favorites?"

Base: All adults

 

Jan

2008

Jan

2012

Party ID

Republican

Democrat

Independent

%

%

%

%

%

Rush Limbaugh

42

46

24

66

49

Bill O'Reilly

23

31

17

45

31

Nancy Grace

17

23

25

21

25

Sean Hannity

10

14

6

23

13

Katie Couric

16

10

17

4

10

Piers Morgan

N/A

10

13

8

10

Barbara Walters

15

10

16

5

9

Chris Matthews

6

10

18

4

9

Rachel Maddow

N/A

7

13

2

9

Wolf Blitzer

9

7

7

7

8

George Stephanopoulos

8

6

13

4

7

Greta Van Susteren

8

6

4

9

6

Diane Sawyer

N/A

5

8

2

5

Matt Lauer

N/A

4

8

2

4

Anderson Cooper

3

4

5

3

4

Christiane Amanpour

N/A

4

8

1

3

Joe Scarborough

N/A

3

3

3

5

Charlie Rose

N/A

3

2

3

5

Brian Williams

2

3

6

2

3

Ann Cutty

N/A

3

1

4

3

Neil Cavuto

N/A

3

4

3

1

Shepard Smith

2

3

3

2

3

John King

N/A

2

2

1

3

Scott Pelley

N/A

1

1

2

2

Lester Holt

N/A

1

*

2

2

Bob Schieffer

1

1

2

*

1

None of these

25

22

21

18

20

Note: Totals may not add to 100% because of rounding; * indicates less than 0.5%; N/A indicates not asked in that year

Methodology

This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between January 16 and 23, 2012 among 2,016 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words "margin of error" as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of Harris Interactive.

J41215
Q765, 770

The Harris Poll® #23, February 27, 2012
By Regina A. Corso, SVP, Harris Poll, Youth, and Public Relations Research, Harris Interactive

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through our North American and European offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us – and our clients – stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.

Press Contact:
Corporate Communications
Harris Interactive
212-539-9600
press@harrisinteractive.com

 

SOURCE Harris Interactive

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