PART I: Has Conservative Talk Radio Doomed the GOP?


(This is the first in a series of small “think” pieces designed to examine why the GOP is now a “loser”.
Watch for additional installments throughout the weekend.)

FiveThirtyEight has an interesting commentary today about the intriguing possibility that the very success of conservative talk radio has doomed the GOP.  I’ve been coming close to reaching the same conclusion.  I would like to see a break-down of talk show listeners and how they voted, or as I suspect, did not vote.

The problem with conservative talk radio is the ASSUME factor.  Remember ASS = U + ME.  FiveThirtyEight notes the following:

“…Conservatives listen to significantly more talk radio than other market segments; 28 percent of conservative Republicans listen to talk radio regularly, as opposed to 17 percent of the public as a whole. (Unsurprisingly, conservative hosts also dominate the the Arbitron ratings). It may have gone to their heads a little bit; they may have forgotten about radio’s idiosyncrasies as a means of communication. The failures of the Bush administration have woken the country up; conservatives now need to find a way to communicate with people who are actually paying attention….”

If this is indeed true then conservative talk radio is the voice of doom for the Republican Party.  In 2006, talk radio hosts such as Laura Ingraham suggested conservatives NOT vote for Republicans running for the House and the Senate.  Other conservative talk show hosts followed suit.  Online, conservative bloggers took up the clarion call of “teach them a lesson.”

They taught the GOP a lesson alright.

We all know conservatives voted 20% for Barack Obama and 14% for John McCain.  This number alone cost John McCain the election.  When it comes to the radio-head talk listeners, the following is damning.

“…By election time many culturally conservative Republicans still did  not see him as one of their own and stayed home, ….A downturn in the number and percentage of Republican voters going to the polls seemed to be the  primary explanation for the lower than predicted turnout. The percentage of eligible citizens voting  Republican declined to 28.7 percent down 1.3 percentage points from 2004. Democratic turnout  increased by 2.6 percentage points from 28.7 percent of eligibles to 31.3 percent. It was the seventh  straight increase in the Democratic share of the eligible vote since the party’s share dropped to 22.7 percent of eligibles in 1980…. ”

If the above numbers are true, conservative talk radio has a lot of ‘splaining to do.  After we factor in the media bias, the irrational hatred of GWB, and the Obama hype, we’re at the point where it is possible conservative talk radio has actually served to turn some marginal GOP voters against the Republican Party.  When we factor in those numbers and the number of conservatives who stayed at home, and the conservatives who voted for Obama – conservative talk radio is a huge loss for the GOP.  According to some experts, it is going to get even worse if Tom Daschel has his way with socialized medicine.


One thought on “PART I: Has Conservative Talk Radio Doomed the GOP?

  1. You wrote: “…conservative talk radio has a lot of ’splaining to do.”

    That’s exactly what Mort of the Beltway Boys said in his article.

    Good. I’ve been saying for 3 years that the talk show mafia was selling out Bush and the GOP party for ratings.

    Why on earth would busy voters keep GOPs in the WH and Congress when the media that was supposed to be on the GOP side was joining their Dem bias counterpart in blaming Bush and the GOP for everything?

    Prior to 2004, the public got to hear both sides…this is when Ingraham was telling everyone that Bush was the only person their could trust to send their children to war…months later she was telling people that Bush couldn’t be trusted to choose someone to sit on the Supreme Court.

    Mort isn’t the only one that is questioning the role the TSM has had in the lost of 2 of the 3 branches of power to the Dems…some pundits and politicians are looking at the lost of the largest minority group (Hispanics) and wondering about all that illegal immigration anger that the talk show mafia stirred up a year ago…and I’ve noticed that Hugh Hewitt is now pretending that he was “moderate” on the illegal immigration issue.

    It wouldn’t surprise me when others fall into this selective memory lost.

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