We've always heard the television brought Americans together. Now a lot of what's on just makes us mad at each other. Sociologist Max Kilger says you can tell a person's politics by the television they watch. If you're a CSI junkie, you likely vote conservative: "It's got good structure. It's got good closure. There's often a lot of decisiveness about what action should be to be taken." If you like Weeds, you're probably a liberal: "Liberal comedies tend to either mock traditional things or produce unusual or unexpected kinds of situations."
Kilger works for the consumer research group Experian Simmons. The firm gathers data about our TV viewing habits, information they sell to advertisers. Experian Simmons recently put out a report about how the shows people watched correlated with their political sentiments.
â?? Quiz: What do your TV viewing habits say about your politics?
Studio 360's Eric Molinsky decided to do his own experiment. He submitted his test subjects – one liberal, one conservative – to a battery of television shows, from The Bachelor to Nurse Jackie.
Reality shows that rate high with liberals include Jersey Shore, but Debbie, our liberal subject, bridled at Ice Road Truckers, in which drivers haul large loads along dangerous highways. "It reminds me of the way many of the arcade games are set up," she says, "where they introduce characters that are going to fight and you're supposed to choose one of them."
Dave, the conservative viewer, finally called the experiment during Glee, the comedy in which social outcasts sing and dance their way through high school. "I definitely don't like shows that I feel are very snarky or mocking of people living ordinary lives," he explains.
There are still shows that audiences left, right, and center can agree on; Experian Simmons' study noted House for its wide appeal. Too bad it's in its final season.
See more findings from Experian Simmons' study
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