Republican viewers are tuning out Stephen Colbert's "Late Show"

Jimmy Kimmel nearly doubles Colbert's Republican viewership in new poll

By Sophia Tesfaye

Senior Politics Editor

Published November 19, 2015 8:50PM (EST)

According to a new poll, Stephen Colbert's CBS viewers tend to more closely reflect his old Comedy Central viewers, as more Democrats, Atheists and men tune in to "Late Show," while Republicans have virtually tuned out the satirist in exodus.

The Hollywood Reporter is out with its new survey of the broadcast late-night landscape and it finds that Colbert's near daily comedic takedowns of the 2016 GOP presidential slate may have helped to turn off Republican viewers.

Only 17 percent of "Late Show" viewers identified themselves as Republican, the smallest margin of the big three. By contrast, ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" viewers are 33 percent Republican. That's a 16-point gap between the two comedians. In fact, among his own viewership, Colbert finds a 30-point gap between self-identified Republican viewers and self-identified Democrats. 47 percent of Colbert's viewers are Democrats, the highest margin of all three. In Kimmel’s case, the ideological split is virtually nonexistent -- 34 percent Democrats to 33 percent Republicans. In the case of NBC's "Tonight Show" host, Jimmy Fallon, the split is 36 Republicans to 31 Democrats.

"Colbert Nation is filled with wealthy, socially liberal men who overwhelmingly support legalizing marijuana and want Bernie Sanders to be president," pollster Jon Penn explained. Penn flatly described Kimmel viewers as "conservative-leaning" and Colbert viewers as "liberal-leaning," describing Fallon's fan base as "swing." Interestingly, Fallon also draws in the most female viewers, 55 percent, while a full 30 percent of Colbert viewers describe themselves as atheist, the top "religion category" choice for "Late Show" viewers.

In the poll overall, Fallon beats out both Colbert and Kimmel by a 2-to-1 margin when viewers were asked which of the hosts is a "unpredictable, cool dude you want to be friends with." But Colbert's liberal appeal may be limiting his wider audience growth. According to Mediaite, "over the first six weeks since launching, Colbert beat Kimmel by an impressive 40 percent in the demo," but by the first week of November, there was a dramatic 45 percent swing in Kimmel's favor.

Read the full results of The Great Late-Night Poll:

Jimmy Fallon Not Worried About Late Night Competition

By Sophia Tesfaye

Sophia Tesfaye is Salon's senior editor for news and politics, and resides in Washington, D.C. You can find her on Twitter at @SophiaTesfaye.

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