Obama to Appear on MythBusters. What Audience Will He Reach?

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President Obama will appear on MythBusters in December, the Discovery Channel announced today, asking the show's red-headed physics dudes, Adam and Jamie, whether Archimedes really could have set fire to an invading Roman fleet using only mirrors and the sun.

It's a fitting question for Obama to pose, given the president's intellectual aura.

But what demographic audience will the president reach when the show airs in December? The answer: mostly younger men, with a median age of 32--a group that doesn't exactly reflect his nationwide voting coalition.

Here's some demographic/viewership data provided by the Discovery Channel:

RATINGS:
  • To date, over 85.8 million people have watched MythBusters in 2010.  In 2010, premiere episodes of MythBusters delivered an average of 1.66 million people (P2+). *  [*Source: Nielsen, LSD, Cume, NHI calendar, 6min qualifyer, 12/28/09-10/9/10, M-Su 9a-3a, P2+ Delivery]
  • MythBusters is one of Discovery's top-rated programs, in all key demos.
  • During 2Q10, Discovery had the #1 non-sports ad-supported cable program on Wednesday nights among Men 25-54, with premieres of MythBusters. [Source: Nielsen, LSD, NHI calendar, 2Q10, Wednesday 8-11p, M25-54 Delivery]

DEMOGRAPHICS:
  • Average Audience Median Age: 32 years old
  • Persons 25-54 Gender Skew: 66% male / 34% female
[Source: Nielsen, LSD, NHI calendar, June 2010, Wednesday 8-11p, P2+ delivery]

Obama did not sail to electoral victory in 2008 on the votes of 32-year-old men, but rather younger voters and women.

CNN's 2008 exit polling showed Obama losing to McCain 49 percent to 48 percent among men nationwide, while white men broke for McCain 57 percent to 41 percent. As president, he has performed worse among men, in terms of approval rating, at least among whites.

The median age of 32 falls just outside Obama's wheelhouse: In 2008, he crushed John McCain in the 18-29 age range, winning by progressively slimmer margins among voters and losing outright among voters 65 and older. In the 30-44 age group, Obama beat McCain 52 percent to 46 percent according to CNN exit polling.

So MythBusters will give Obama some face time with demographics outside the gender and age demographics that voted heavily in his favor in '08. But it's probably better than The Price Is Right.

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Chris Good is a political reporter for ABC News. He was previously an associate editor at The Atlantic and a reporter for The Hill.

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