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‘Roseanne’ TV reboot reveals latest divides in Red/Blue America

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The huge success of the Roseanne reboot has captured a lot of attention in political circles in the past few weeks, particularly its enormous viewership in “Red America.” But how deep are the partisan divides in America’s entertainment TV viewing? That depends on how you look at the question.

Democrats are more likely to watch certain shows than Republicans and vice versa, but generally speaking, the most popular entertainment shows look remarkably similar, according to data from Simmons Research gathered in 2017.

Let’s start with the Democrats. When you look at the Simmons data, which is gathered through consumer surveys, some clear patterns emerge in the shows that “index” the highest for Democrats. Those are the shows Democrats are more likely than others to watch.

First, shows featuring African-American casts and delving into African-American issues stand out. Empire and Black-ish are two of the best-known examples of this point in the data, but there are also several shows from BET, Black Entertainment Television, that show up on the Democrat “over-index” list.

Another item on the Democrat’s list that might fall under this rubric: Saturday Night NBA Basketball. The NBA has long tended to have a larger share of African-American fans than other major sports.

What’s behind those viewership numbers? Politically, African-Americans overwhelmingly identify with the Democratic Party.

The Democratic list also features quite a few topical comedy shows. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver and Veep, both known for sharp political satire, index at sky-high rates for Democrats, while barely moving the needle for Republicans. And both shows air on HBO, which the data show tends to over-index for Democrats overall.

A different set of patterns is visible on the shows that Republicans are more likely than others to watch.

The power of the show Last Man Standing in the Republican data is remarkable – even though the show is no longer producing episodes. Last Man Standing was among the highest indexing Republican shows for the first-run episodes that aired on ABC until last spring, and for the reruns that aired on the Hallmark Channel.

In a sense, Last Man Standing was Roseanne before the latter show was rebooted a few weeks ago. It revolved around a male sporting goods store worker with strong conservative values challenging and being challenged by his family and the world around him. Since the big success of Roseanne, there is now discussion of bringing Last Man Standing back.

The Antiques Roadshow is indicative of another pattern in the Republican viewing data, a love of programs showing the value of older, vintage items. Also on the over-indexing list for Republicans: American Pickers, Pawn Stars, and This Old House.

And two sports broadcasts index highly for Republicans, NASCAR’s Xfinity Series on Fox Sports 1 and regular season college football on ESPN. The viewership of those broadcasts also under-indexes for Democrats.

There are some significant and deep splits on those lists and they largely follow what we know of the red-blue divide. The humor of Last Week Tonight is aimed at a different audience than the humor of Last Man Standing.

But when you simply look at the top entertainment shows among Democrats and Republicans – the programs that members of each party say they watch most frequently – the lists actually look quite similar.

Go back and forth between those two lists and you’ll see that seven of the top 10 shows are the same for Democrats and Republicans.

The orders may be different, but it turns out that The Big Bang Theory, Fix Upper and America’s Got Talent are purple in their overall partisan viewership. And people in both parties seem to like watching the police procedural that is NCIS and the real estate voyeurism of House Hunters.

To be clear, none of this papers over the differences in the U.S. electorate. The nation’s political ills can’t be solved by all of us plopping down together on the couch to binge watch the Property Brothers. The trend toward tribalism in American politics is real and deep and visible in a lot of ways as we have noted often in the Data Download.

Furthermore, this is just looking at cable and network television viewing habits. The world of streaming services has led to greater freedom for consumers, but at the same time, it has created further ways for audiences to segment themselves into niches and micro-niches.

But the picture is more complicated than that. The data here show that you can still find a few broad commonalities in the American experience – even in the age of President Trump and rebooted Roseanne.

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'Find a solution!' Lord Hague demands EU shelve 'petty bureaucracy' to restart fish trade

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THE European Union have been ordered to give up their “petty bureaucracy” that is preventing easy trade between the bloc and the UK.

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Boris Johnson given 'final warning' to reach new deal with EU to stop Belfast riots

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BORIS Johnson has been given a “final warning” to reach a deal with the EU by the former leader of the Conservative Party William Hague.

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As GOP sticks with Trump, grassroots energy on the right has gone missing

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WASHINGTON — Tax Day 2009 was the start of the Tea Party protests against Barack Obama’s agenda.

But as we approach April 15, 2021 — even with the tax-filing deadline extended to May 17 — it’s become noticeable just how quiet the conservative grassroots have been during President Biden’s first three months in office.

Part of it is due to the fact that Biden has never been the lightning rod for the right that Obama, Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi and even AOC are.

But another part is the 2020 defeated candidate who decided to stick around: Donald Trump.

In the 21st century, we’ve seen grassroots political movements — whether real, AstroTurf, or activated by cable news — replace defeated presidential candidates and unpopular presidents. (With the previous leadership either politically discredited by the results or voluntarily leaving day-to-day politics, new players rush to fill the vacuum and voters look for signals as to what they should be doing next and how their party can rebrand.)

The anti-war protests during George W. Bush’s presidency blossomed after John Kerry’s loss in 2004.

The Tea Party came alive after John McCain’s defeat in 2008, as well as Bush 43’s exit from the political stage.

And the Women’s March — the day after Trump’s inauguration — came after Hillary Clinton’s 2016 loss.

Sure, conservatives like Marjorie Taylor Greene are raising lots of money.

Also to be sure, there’s always been lots of grassroots energy behind Trump (though that has dissipated after Jan. 6).

But when we’re talking about grassroots movement and energy to bolster a political party and stop the opposition’s agenda, the energy on the right has been largely MIA.

And it’s all taking place in a political environment where Nikki Haley says she won’t run in 2024 if Trump does, as well as where Sen. Rick Scott, the chair of the GOP’s Senate campaign arm, is presenting Trump with a trophy bowl.

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Data Download: The numbers you need to know today

6: The number of women who developed rare blood clots after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, prompting federal health agencies to call for a pause on its use.

5: The number of Democratic pollsters who have signed on to a statement acknowledging “major errors” in 2020 polling.

31,401,163: The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States, per the most recent data from NBC News and health officials. (That’s 70,733 more than yesterday morning.)

566,645: The number of deaths in the United States from the virus so far, per the most recent data from NBC News. (That’s 548 more than yesterday morning.)

189,692,045: Number of vaccine doses administered in the U.S.

20.3 percent: The share of Americans who are fully vaccinated.

16: The number of days left for Biden to reach his 100-day vaccination goal.

Just asking

Another school shooting. Another police officer killing a Black man during a traffic stop.

Why aren’t guns and police reform higher on the political agenda?

Remembering when Ron DeSantis’ own mail-in ballot got rejected

Here’s another angle to the continuing story of GOP-led state legislatures trying to place more restrictions on access to the ballot: There’s no guarantee that GOP skepticism of mail-in voting will be a permanent feature of every election in the future. After all, it wasn’t before 2020.

Case in point: Florida, where Republicans once dominated in mail voting, particularly with older voters — and where both former President Trump and now-Gov. Ron DeSantis made frequent use of the method.

In fact, as Noah Pransky of NBCLX reminds us, then-Rep. DeSantis had his own ballot rejected in 2016 due to a mismatched signature. (Pransky himself reported on the ballot’s rejection back in 2018.)

Pransky writes:

“When then-Congressman Ron DeSantis cast his mail ballot for Florida’s primary election in 2016, election workers in his hometown flagged the signature as a mismatch.”

“When DeSantis provided the canvassing board a new signature as a backup to the signatures already on-file, they determined that handwriting also had “no similarities” to the signature on DeSantis’ ballot and rejected the vote, according to Flagler County elections officials.”

More: “DeSantis’s public voting history — obtained through public records requests from the St. Johns and Flagler supervisors of elections — shows he regularly took advantage of Florida’s no-excuse absentee option, casting votes by mail in six out of seven elections between March 2016 and August 2020. The only time he voted in-person during that period was at a well-choreographed photo opportunity, when he appeared atop the ballot during his 2018 gubernatorial run.”

“Now, DeSantis is leading the charge in Florida to change how voters obtain a mail ballot, as well as how easily they can drop it off at their local elections offices.”

Still More: “[He] is also advocating a change to voter signature-matching that would order elections officials to use only a voter’s most-recent signature to determine authenticity.”

McCrory expected to jump into N.C. Senate race

Former North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory on Wednesday is expected to announce a bid for the state’s vacated Senate seat next year, and he’ll be joining a potentially crowded GOP field of candidates, NBC’s Leigh Ann Caldwell writes.

The field already includes Rep. Mark Walker, R-N.C., who took a shot at McCrory on Twitter, and it could also include Trump daughter-in-law Lara Trump, as well as Rep. Ted Budd, R-N.C.

ICYMI: What else is happening in the world

Top private law firms are joining forces to form a “SWAT team”-style response to new voting restrictions, NBC’s Jane Timm writes.

The Biden administration is increasingly at odds with Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer over the coronavirus surge in her state.

The NCAA says it won’t hold championship events in states that restrict transgender athletes’ participation in sports.

Ohio Republican Senate candidate Bernie Moreno has cast himself as a big Trump fan. That wasn’t always the case, NBC’s Henry Gomez notes.

Speaking of Trump and GOP candidates, one Republican in Texas is taking an explicitly anti-Trump stance.

Progressive Democrat Charles Booker is mulling a race against Rand Paul.

How much difference would Biden’s proposed new actions on guns actually make?

The New York Times checks in on Andrew Cuomo’s continuing attempts to ride out his scandals.



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