The Washington Post

Isaac hurricane: Weather buffs skew Republican!

That thing could split our screen! (Ricardo Arduengo/Associated Press)

To hear the media tell it, Mitt Romney fears a standard TV-presentation scheme, perhaps more so than pressure on tax-return disclosures or questions about dressage. We’re talking about the possibility that the goings-on at the Republican National Convention may have to do a time-share arrangement on TV with Hurricane Isaac. Here’s how Peter Baker of the New York Times puts the prospect:

With the wild-card distractions of the storm and intraparty tension, the convention has not exactly opened according to script. Mr. Romney’s team, worried about the split-screen images of the convention juxtaposed with the storm, has labored to keep ahead of events and refashion a four-day show into three days.

The Erik Wemple Blog is here to deliver succor to the Romney campaign: Don’t fret about the split screen — weather nuts skew Republican. Nothing could possibly please the audience more than weather and politics mixing it up together.

Full disclosure: This is an exaggeration. An exaggeration based on data, though. The Weather Channel, you see, has taken a hard look at its audience of “weather enthusiasts.” Its research surveys have gone so far as to delve into the question of party affiliation. Fascinating figures spill forth. Visitors to, for instance, break down as follows:

Democratic Party: 12,815,000

Republican Party: 14,954,000

And viewers of the Weather Channel have this partisan profile:

Democratic Party: 16,395,000

Republican Party: 16,704,000

Okay, that doesn’t look like much of an edge, but in the context of electoral politics, a winning margin is a winning margin.

Shirley Powell, a spokeswoman for the Weather Channel Companies, says, “We’re completely bipartisan here at the Weather Channel.” Any chance that the Weather Channel will look to leverage its edge with Republicans by doing a split-screen treatment featuring the storm and the convention? “If we have a split screen, it’ll be the different areas affected by Isaac. You’re not going to see us cover the convention.”

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.


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