The Political Leanings Of America's Anchors

Harris Poll asked TV viewers, both Democrat and Republican, to name their favorite and least liked news personalities. The results of the survey, crunched and displayed on our chart, are fascinating.

  • 1. Katie Couric, at the extreme left of our chart, is so heavily disliked by Republican viewers that the new CBS anchor might as well be a communist.
  • 2. By calculating the balance of Democratic and Republican opinion, we arrayed the anchors across the political spectrum: nearly two-thirds of the anchors slant left, at least in respondents minds; but the right-wing anchors of Fox News are the most polarizing.
  • 3. Viewers are surprisingly indifferent to Lou Dobbs: I would have thought the CNN anchor's anti-immigration stance would have won him more conservative fans.
  • 4. Disliked by all political tribes: CNN's diaper-wearing Larry King; oh-so-serious Wolf Blitzer; Fox's token liberal, Alan Colmes; CNN's graceless Nancy Grace and Scientologist Greta Van Susteren.
  • 5. All things to all people: ABC nightly news anchor Charlie Gibson; NBC's Brian Williams; and, surprisingly, CNN's silver fox, Anderson Cooper. (Better not let the social conservatives know that he likes Latin men!)

Click on the image to enlarge.

Methodology: Harris asked respondents for the three most liked and disliked TV personalities; we took the net totals for survey participants who also gave a political affiliation. For instance, 42% of Republicans liked Bill O'Reilly, and 10% disliked him, giving him a net approval rating among Republicans of 32%, indicated by the substantial red bar under his name. Only 11% of Democrats said they liked the controversial Fox News anchor, and 34% named him one of their least favorite news figures, giving him a net approval rating among Democrats of negative 23%, marked by the blue bar stretching below the x-axis.