Limbaugh Holds onto his Niche -- Conservative Men

  • February 03, 2009

Since Rush Limbaugh launched his radio program in the late 1980s, the market for conservative-leaning talk shows, like the broader news and talk universe, has grown much more crowded. Today, Bill O'Reilly's cable show attracts more conservatives on a regular basis than does Limbaugh's radio show, while Sean Hannity's program draws about as many conservatives as Limbaugh's.

Yet by one standard, Limbaugh's conservative appeal continues to stand out. In the Pew Research Center's 2008 news media consumption survey, as in previous biennial news surveys, Limbaugh's audience was the most conservative. That is, conservatives made up a greater share of his regular audience than of the regular audiences for the "O'Reilly Factor," "Hannity & Colmes" (now called "Hannity"), or any of the 39 programs or networks tested.

Fully 80% of those who said they regularly listened to Limbaugh's show were self-identified conservatives, compared with 7% who were moderates and 10% who were liberals. The audiences for Hannity & Colmes and O'Reilly were solidly conservative, but not as conservative as Limbaugh's: 68% of regular Hannity & Colmes viewers were conservatives, as were 66% of regular O'Reilly viewers.

Read the full report Limbaugh Holds onto his Niche -- Conservative Men on the Pew Research Center's Web site.